Sunday, February 25, 2007

e-arth !!

As I had written about one and half years back, the Web is increasingly becoming an irreplaceable and irrepressible part of our lives. This post takes the argument a bit further and dares to imagine what might lie in store in the e-ons ahead.
I have noticed that over the last few years, my handwriting has progressively deteriorated. While trying to decipher the reason for this, I realized that I am now writing much lesser than what I used to earlier. I type almost everything I need to write, in the form of e-mails, documents, presentations etc. Perhaps the only time in the day when I need to pick up the pen is when I need to sign anything. As a result of all this, I am slowly LOOSING the habit of writing!!

Now let us take this line of thought forward. Children of today are being exposed to computers at increasingly younger ages. They are typing more than we ever did during our childhoods. Soon, assignments in school will be submitted in softcopies (like it happens in higher education). And then, perhaps one day, even exams will be held over a LAN, where school students log into shared machines and type their answers. In the years to come, people will carry laptops/palmtops/PDAs with them all the time, and will key in all the information they need. There would be no hand written signatures either. Every signature will be digital, in the form of fingerprint or retina recognition, or something even smarter.

Hence, the need to WRITE anything with a pen will be completely eliminated!! As a result, humans would completely forget the art of writing, and future generations might only learn to “READ and TYPE”, and not “READ and WRITE”!!
How would thought leaders of the future work? How would they spread their ideas and vision to trillions across the world? As expected, it would be simpler than ever before.

I can imagine a 21st Century Swami Vivekananda, meditating on a lone rock, off the coast of Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India. He would have a laptop with a wireless data card on his lap, which he would use to publish his ideas about humanity on this blog. Billions and billions of people would have subscribed to his blog around the world through RSS and Atom feeds. As soon as the Swami would make a blog post, his billions of followers would swarm their PCs. Each blog post would get millions of comments, not only from devotees appreciating the Swami’s thoughts, but from other thought leaders of the world, debating them. He would no longer have to travel half way across the world, to deliver a speech in the Parliament of Religions. All he would do is record his speech on his web cam, and share it with the world on Youtube!!

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