Wednesday, April 8, 2015

India in Cyberspace

A new article bears on next week's discussion of international media. Jayshree Pandya Ph.D*  has written "India in Cyberspace: The Contested Commons."  Here are opening grafs:
The revolution in information technologies, processes and connected computers is altering everything-- from how we communicate, make friends, to how we work, bank, shop and go to war. The emergence of this whole new world of cyberspace has given nations: its governments, industries, organizations, academia and individuals (NGIOA-I) great promise as well as great peril.

The evolution in cyberspace will offer India as many opportunities as it does challenges.

The world is undergoing a profound and lasting shift in the relative balance of power among nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA). The connected computers, information technology and digitalization capability of information that are revolutionizing every aspect of society have leveled the playing field and brought India an unprecedented possibility of progress. What needs to be seen is whether in the leveled playing field, India will be able to compete and lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity or decline.

In cyberspace, what is common to all is access to technology and information. But what is not common is how one uses that information—for what purpose and goals. While internet and connected computers have given nations the same starting point in access to technology and information, there are many other variables that determine whether a nation will be able to use the information to develop, progress, and succeed.

History says that there has never been a lasting empire or civilization. The world is full of the debris of past empires. Cyberspace has brought NGIOA to a juncture of revival and reformation or inexorable decline. It is a known fact that nations’ generally fall from within, and this fall is arguably due to being unable to take advantage of their society's huge potential for growth. What's more tragic is that this kind of failure is largely by design. Nations that are ruled by governments that destroy incentives, discourage innovation, and sap the talent of their citizens by creating a tilted playing field and robbing them of opportunities, will eventually die from within. Similarly, nations that have been built on exploitation will inevitably fail in cyberspace, taking an entire corrupt system down (which can often lead to immense suffering). So the question is, what can India do independently and collectively to improve its competitive and innovative position in the world, thereby tipping the scale of cyberspace in its favor? Let us begin this evaluation by understanding the global cyber trends.
(*Yes, Shree and Shivani are her daughters.)

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