March 1st, 2009 09:40 EST
US Dream Over For Indians
BARACK OBAMA might just prove to be not that great for India and Indians. Especially, for NRIs, technology or science fiction types. The great crash of 2008, it seems, was bound to happen. If Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke are right, the world now has to look for a new technology to save itself from this crisis. There are two options available to it - " one short-term and the other long-term. And the legal systems present in the western world allow them to use both these options without any moral or legal pin pricks.
It was Clarke who predicted the mobile phone and satellite TV and they both came true, the world will one day be one gossiping community and it happened, then came Asimov and he formulated the three laws of robotics. He dreamt of a world where one day humans would be free to enjoy the resources of world at leisure and the work force would comprise only robots --- mechanical, intelligent, human looking but not greedy for resources. They would need no water, no sewage, no hospitals and no taxis. On the other hand they would run services, police the area, carry out hazardous tasks, in short do everything that does not involve creativity.
The most complicated surgeries would be performed by robots, robot chauffeurs would ferry humans around, nannies would take care of babies and butlers would attend to their masters needs. Everything that coloured people are asked to do today in a rich white man`s world or in Europe and America, be it the Indian techie or the Latina housemaid.
In short this is the first short-term option to keep an economy going if it is modelled on the western pattern of growth. Get Asian robots to work for you and live as an exclusive community. It does not work for long as the barriers both, social and economic begin to dissolve as new generations and young people with raging hormones do not necessarily respect the barriers created by their elders. But this unfortunately, is the short-term option available to the Obamas of this world. Create jobs, save the economy and bring in the robots from Asia. So Asia will boom in a time when their population is expanding and their economy needs the services to fund its growth on the western model.
Then comes the second long-term option, create a technology that does away with human labour so that you don`t have to deplete resources. In short, the Positronic brain as conceived by Asimov.
This brain would be a processor to run robots the way a processor runs a computer.
A technology becomes viable when another becomes too expensive to maintain. Why did the British leave India? The empire was too expensive to maintain. Why did the Yanks abolish slavery and phase out the steam driven machine of the factories of the south. Again, a matter of economics. Today, the mobile phone is cheaper than a land line again economics, just imagine putting up miles of cable for a land lines to connect remote villages in India especially in the North-East and Thar desert. Mobile technology is far cheaper. So the time is right for Asimov`s robots too. Which prompts a question. Is Obama a robot come to save America?
In a world where the human population is shrinking and pollution and generation of wealth go hand in hand, it is only a matter of time before the white world will be forced to take decisions that may end the services boom for Asians in Europe and America forever.