New Delhi: American global thinker on energy and environment Michael Shellenberger believes there’s “too much” thrust on solar energy for rural villages.
“I think IndiaI needs to do everything at once. There’s too much focus on solar power for rural villages. Most people gain access to power around the world by moving to the city.
“Rural electrification tends to be the last stage of electrification because it’s one of the most expensive ways… India would do really well to focus its energy activities on factories and manufacturing,” Shellenberger said.
“Manufacturing can absorb a large number of subsistence farmers into the formal economy. Manufacturing liberates women and is also productively enhancing,” he added.
Co-author of “An Ecomodernist Manifesto” and recipient (with Ted Nordhaus) of the Green Book Award and Time magazine’s ‘Hero of the Environment’ award, Shellenberger spoke on What an Indian can learn from the history of environmental progress.
“You have limited amount of money you can spend on these things. Your Rs.1,000 crore or 10,000 crore spent on base-load coal for a factory is simply going to deliver more in terms of human development and economic growth in that same amount of money than a solar micro-grid in a countryside.
“Yes it can provide lighting etc., but it’s not adding productivity to the economy.”
Tossing out arguments, the environmental researcher felt if solar targets are achieved and that elevates the economic position of people in rural areas, they will tend to move out to cities.
“If it succeeds and it raises people out of poverty, then they are going to want to leave the countryside for the cities.”(IANS)(Image Courtesy: www.sbs.com.au)
Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.
Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.
The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.
The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.
Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.
They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.
P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”
WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.
“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.
Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.
According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.
“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.
“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.
The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.
WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.
“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.
WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.
In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.
“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.
Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.
Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)