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World-Wide-Web: Rise of technology needs to be balanced with vigilance



By Gaurav Sharma

The world-wide-web (www), a revolutionary technology that defines our present-day-life, celebrates its silver jubilee today.

Whether we are at home or on the move, at work or on vacation, the Internet has become our new family friend. From easing communication, providing interactive education, speedy and efficient public administration, to increasing our visibility in social circles, the wings of Internet’s penetrating power span across every sphere of life.


Tim Berners Lee, an English computer scientist, invented the Internet as World Wide Web on 6th August 1991 while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) as an independent contractor.

Berners-Lee devised a project based on a hypertext wherein physicists could share information across the globe without using hardware or software. The first proposal having failed, Lee’s proposal for a Hypertext Project succeeded in grabbing the assent of the researchers.

After battling titles such ‘The Information mesh’ and the ‘Mine of Information’, the proposal was christened World Wide Web. In 1990, while working for NeXT Computers (the company where Steve Jobs worked after being thrown out of Apple), Berners-Lee developed the web browser software whose prototype would be run on the CERN server a year later.

Since the users were largely unaware and therefore inept at using the new technology, a user manual was issued to educate them on its proper use.

Tim-Berners Lee, the father of the Internet


The novel technology soon started taking giant strides towards growth. In 1992, Berners-Lee uploaded the first picture on the World Wide Web, an image of Les Horribles Cernettes (a French parodic rock group).

A year later, an epic announcement — that of making the Internet free for everyone to use and develop — was made. This emancipating feature has led to a sea change in the way we look at the world today.

In line with the free availability and accessibility of the World Wide Web, a number of free commercial browsers were also developed, the first one being Netscape Navigator. However, it was Mosaic which brought the non-scientist population on to the web through the launch of Internet Explorer (Compuserve also performed a similar job).

While the web initially consisted of a network of static HTML pages, it has now evolved into a dynamic system wherein media and pages can be streamed real-time.

Internet Explorer, previously one of the most popular web-browsers


The internet is a constantly evolving organism which is exceeding its expectations (if it had one) every day. IT technology is undergoing a sea change with information rapidly moving onto the cloud. The transforming digital environment implies that companies have to be abreast with newer technologies such as the cloud, mobile automation, and the Internet of Things.

Internet of things basically means connecting daily-use appliances and systems digitally. By enabling physical objects to transfer information from the real world to the digital plane, the Internet of things has brought Artificial Intelligence a step closer to reality.

Trains are able to tell their arrival and departure time to our smartphone, imaging has become more precise, and traffic data can be accessed by our smartphones at the click of a button or through vocal instructions. Semantic Web wherein metadata is read by machines rather than by humans will also become a reality.

Indeed, life has become comfortable and convenient because of the internet. Still, the developments do not give a complete picture of the stupendous power the Internet exercises over our lives.

Like a shadow of the bright side, we are becoming precariously dependent on the internet for simple activities. Music, movies, adventure, and travel, among a host of other outdoor activities have become an online entertaining online experience. People read on Kindle, date on Tinder, and marry on One’s rise to the corporate ladder is determined by how glossy his profile is on Linkedin.

Networking no longer involves personal physical contact but an exchange of photo-shopped copies of one’s scarred existence. Language itself has become an abbreviated caricature of slangs and acronyms. Interpersonal aesthetics have radically altered.

One wonders if human relationships will now become an online rendezvous whereby gentle gestures such as shaking hands and a warm hug will now take a back-seat to exchange of mechanical whatsup’s. And then there is the ‘extraordinary’ chance of a young child experiencing the entire cosmos in his iPad. By the time he turns 20, there is hardly anything exciting to look forward to. Boredom becomes his companion. Psychological problems are also bound to spiral-up when the number of likes on Facebook start determining our self-esteem.

Not ones to leave behind the dark-side of internet, criminals have also begun working in novel fashions. Social media scams are increasingly being utilized maliciously by cyber-criminals to use people’s inherent trust in the content that friends share on Facebook and other social networking sites.

According to the Symantec Intelligence Report, India is the second most targeted country in the world for social media scams and the highest in Asia-Pacific region. In ransomware, a criminal act wherein a victim’s photos, files, and digital content is hijacked without revealing the attacker’s intention, India records an overwhelming 7 attacks per hour.

Attackers have surely changed the stealthy way of deceiving and duping netizens. As the Internet gets more sophisticated, newer possibilities will open-up, bringing forth both positive and negative consequences. Vigilance is the price we will have to pay for becoming more tech-savvy.

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This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

China giving a hand to India for leap in Artificial Intelligence

Robot along with human
Artificial Intelligence. Pixabay

Tech honchos in Silicon Valley are deeply worried at China’s rapid progress in harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that has shown encouraging results in changing the way we work and live.

According to Eric Schmidt, former chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, China will overtake the US in AI by 2025.

Measured by start-up financing deals and dollars from venture capitalists, the United States’ AI start-up ecosystem currently dominates — followed by China, says a recent Accenture analysis titled “Rewire for Growth”.

When it comes to India, the number of AI start-ups has increased since 2011 at a compounded annual growth rate of 86 per cent.

Artificial Intelligence Robot. Pixabay

But the size of funding till date is substantially smaller in India than in the US and China, reflecting the limited success of India’s AI start-ups in achieving scale so far, the report noted.

“According to our analysis, AI has the potential to add $957 billion, or 15 per cent of current gross value added, to India’s economy in 2035,” said Accenture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi now wants that AI technology should be “Made in India” and “Made to Work for India” but despite promising starts, the country’s policy initiatives are not comprehensive yet and lag other G20 countries.

China, on the other hand, today harbours one of the biggest clusters of AI scientists.

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence May Aid Solving ‘Global Hunger’

According to The Economist, China’s State Council has issued an ambitious policy blueprint, calling for the country to become “the world’s primary AI innovation centre” by 2030.

“China’s AI programme is highly structured and driven ‘top down’ whereas India’s approach is more ‘organic’ — at least till this point — driven largely by the private sector and driven by their unique needs for AI,” said Dr Prashant Pradhan, Chief Technology Officer, IBM India/South Asia.

These represent very different approaches to “getting ready” for AI.

“China’s approach carefully manages investment, infrastructure, focus verticals and training. This has benefits in speed of execution and outcomes — especially when there is clarity on the priority areas of application,” Pradhan told IANS.

Advances in AI largely happen in an open, peer-reviewed community with free exchange of ideas. “Over time, there may be more coordinated government investment — especially in resource-constrained environments,” Pradhan noted.

When it comes to funding, Machine Learning (ML), recommendation engines and computer vision are the most popular segments of AI, accounting for almost 80 per cent of total funding globally.

“Big industry players that have the financial strength and business experience to invest in AI research and development (R&D) typically lead the strategic charge on global competitiveness for their country,” the Accenture analysis stressed.

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are spearheading AI innovations in the US, and Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are funding the AI research in China.

In line with the global trends, the digital platform companies are becoming the driving force of AI innovations in India too.

According to Rajesh Janey, Managing Director and President, India Enterprise, Dell EMC, the country is entering an era of monumental technological change, rich with opportunity.

India's PM with China's President
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping

“Globally, businesses plan to triple their investments in advanced AI within five years. India too will see the same enthusiasm, with investments in AI jumping from 31 per cent to 89 per cent in the same time-frame,” Janey told IANS.

AI will improve our interaction with technology, understand the abundance of data and rely on the predictions to automate excessively complex or mundane tasks, said Shaakun Khanna, Senior Director, HCM Strategy and Transformation, Asia Pacific at Oracle.

In February, Modi inaugurated the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus — reported to be the first AI research lab in the country.

Also Read: India Urges China to Open Markets For Trade

US-based philanthropist brothers Romesh Wadhwani and Sunil Wadhwani have established the institute and want it to become like San Francisco-based non-profit “OpenAI” that has SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk as one of its co-founders.

In order to become a true AI powerhouse, it is high time that New Delhi makes Beijing a bigger partner in fuelling AI research at home.

According to Accenture, AI research has been motivated by societal needs in India so far and the first step now is to create a comprehensive, long-term vision and road-map for AI.

“The national AI plan with clear milestones should be set as a priority. Here, India can follow the lead of China which has laid out clear targets for AI development in phases, initially by 2020 and going forward by 2030,” it added.

The first critical thing is to understand the role AI is likely to play across multiple professions. “Targeted augmentation in every field will be the key to success for the country to have an AI-ready workforce,” Pradhan stressed.  IANS