Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Feb. 28: National development and national security are two sides of the same coin—development without security is vulnerable; security without development is meaningless. This was stated by Dr. Rajagopala Chidambaram, former principal scientific advisor to the government of India, and former chairman of the department of Atomic Energy.
Chidambaram was addressing the inaugural ceremony of National Science Day at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) on Thur. Feb. 28 in Dimapur. The chief guest was reiterating a statement from his tenth Nayudamma lecture addressed in 1999.
“We must remember that the greatest advantage of recognised strength is that you don’t have to use it and that the greatest disadvantage of perceived weakness is that your enemy may get adventurist,” Chidambaram said in his address.
Chidambaram called for establishing excellence in basic research applied research, technology development, research and development-led innovation, ‘backed by high-quality manufacturing skills and talented young people, the gifted and high quality faculty.’
Artificial Intelligence (Al)
“When we think of Al, we usually think of intelligence displayed by systems of a type we normally associate with human beings. These systems could be computers or computer-controlled robots or slave manipulators used in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) to handle radioactive materials, or expert systems designed for specific tasks,” Chidambaram explained.
Further, he told the students of Nagaland NIT that Al research follows two approaches: trying to replicate human intelligence by analysing cognition which leads to machine learning; and creating artificial neural networks to mimic the structure and functioning of the brain. In deep learning, these artificial neural networks are used to recognize patterns in various types of computer representations and interpretations of big data, the students were told.
Advocating that “technology is power,” Chidambaram paraphrased the futurologist Alvin Toffler’s statement ‘Yesterday’s violence was power; today wealth is power, and tomorrow knowledge will be power.”
“Today, more than at any time in history, ‘technology is power’ and this will continue to be so in the foreseeable future,” according to
Chidambaram. He said that the sources of power which Toffler mentioned have their foundations in technology.
‘Technology domination was sought through the mechanisms of Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Control Regimes. If we want India to be a global technology leader, India should be in the forefront in creating IPR’s and make it immune to technology control regimes. And India should have the ambition to be the first introducer of new advanced technologies,’ he said.
Making of a knowledge economy
According to Chidambaram, India need to have the ability to develop new knowledge and the ability to appropriate knowledge developed in other countries to become a knowledge-driven economy.
“We need an advanced technology superstructure, but it cannot be built without the foundation of higher education and basic research and we need leaders, scientific and political, who understand the ‘coherent synergy’ between technology development and basic research,” he said. This statement was adapted from his CV Raman Medal Lecture of the Indian National Science Academy in Lucknow in 2013, which he said was published in Current Science 2014.
Chief scientific officer of the department of Science and Technology Dr. Zavei Hiese addressed the event. In his address, the official emphasised on scientific and allied activities of the Nagaland Science & Technology Council including a detailed ground water survey of the entire state, and a Geographical Indication (GI) registration of indigenous vegetables and attires.
The council was established in 1999. It has facilities including a biotech lab, water quality testing lab, an engineering wing, a remote sensing and geo informatics lab and a patent information centre. Hiese expounded the need to popularise science in other districts of the state. He has called for formation of a state level science society.