‘This is a small book about big disruptions,’ says the blurb of Nalin Mehta’s disarmingly slight book India’s Techade: Digital Revolution and Change in the World’s Largest Democracy, and it could not have been better described.
Today, Artificial Intelligence is the dominant topic of discussion with questions about its expected rate of growth and its impact on various aspects of human life. The outcry over ChatGPT is just one of the many examples in our midst. People want to understand how AI is going to affect their lives and Toby Walsh’s book is an outstanding read which deals with this topic comprehensively, in a very easy to understand manner.
At the meat of The Digital Ape: How to Live (in Peace) with Smart Machines lies the fundamental question that has been haunting us human beings for the last few decades—is Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the cusp of ‘waking up’ and consigning humans to the trash can? If you look at the rapid technological advancements that have taken place in the last 50 years or so, there is great evidence to suggest that the possibilities of AI are no longer restricted to the works of sci-fi, that there are actual reasons to base our fears on.
In September 2022, Apple launched the iPhone 14 and its different variants. The phone came armed with different chips, viz., A15 and A16. A15 was the lower spec version as it has 15 billion transistors while A16 carries 16 billion transistors.In 2019, the then-latest version of the iPhone (p. 11) carried the A13 chip.
In the 1970s, the possibility of India being a global information technology leader seemed like an impossible dream. In 1985, Texas Instruments was given a direct satellite link for round-the-clock communication with the US from Bangalore, enabling offshoring of software work. Still, the full potential of software services was not realized. So, when negotiating the Uruguay Round of trade agreements, in the 1990s, India was opposed to including trade in services which would have helped the software industry.
‘175 Zettabytes By 2025’ reads a Forbes headline from 2018, followed by ‘that’s how much data IDC estimates will be generated annually by 2025’. Evidently, Big Data is about to get a whole lot bigger, and the human race is already caught in a game of chase trying to identify patterns and correlations in the millions of data points collected daily.
What kind of built environment does democracy require? This question of critical importance is what Jennifer Forestal, political theorist, explores in her latest book.That digital technologies have transformed engagement of citizens in participatory democracy is a given in today’s world. While it is true that digital technologies have a pernicious effect on democracy,
In an era of unprecedented social, economic, and political change, what can we learn from established personalities, both past and present, about finding a purpose, making societal changes big and small, and creating environments in which we inspire others to do the same? Microsoft alumnus Akhtar Badshah seeks to give us an answer in his book Purpose Mindset: How Microsoft Inspires Employees & Alumni to Change the World, by looking closely at the spirit of giving back to the community within Microsoft’s internal network
The book Winning in the Digital Age captures the key nuances of how to make a turnaround in the direction of digital, highlighting the slightest pitfalls. Nitin Seth, having been in entrepreneurial roles in the digital landscape of large corporations as well as being a digital entrepreneur himself, tells the story of successes and the red flags from his own lens.
Richard and Daniel Susskind’s The Future of the Professions: How Technology will Transform the Work of Human Experts is an insightful analysis of the implications of emerging technologies on professionals and their work. The authors advocate for the ‘liberation of practical expertise’, the argument being that knowledge is concentrated in the hands of a few experts.
In Freedom to Think, Susie Alegre paints a dire picture of the state of intellectual freedom and free expression in the digital age. As a journalist and former editor at The Economist, Alegre brings a wealth of experience and insight to the topic, as well as a deep concern for the consequences of our increasingly digital lives.
You can’t write this book without pissing someone off, you know that, right?’ is how authors Rasmus Kleis Nielsen and Sarah Anne Ganter start their acknowledgement in The Power of Platforms. They speak to experts and analyse data to understand the ‘platform power’ that leading technology companies have come to exercise in public life.
Seldom do you find books that handhold you from demystifying a new concept to integrating it in your everyday life. The authors of Navigating the Metaverse have done a stellar job in simplifying metaverse terms, new economic opportunities and how we are evolving into the next generation of the web. The book provides a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of the rapidly expanding world of the metaverse, including its key components, the various technologies that are enabling its development, and the ways in which they are being used to create new forms of social interaction and commerce.
Simon Lindgren, the author of the book under review is Professor of Sociology at Umeå University in Sweden. The book is his research on the relationship between digital media and society with a particular focus on politics and power relations—a critical aspect of modern society which has also been under a lot of scrutiny globally in the last couple of years.
The Future is Faster than You Think opens with a suitably futuristic scenario the authors Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler say is playing out right now: the arrival of flying cars. ‘By 2027 or so, you’ll be able to order up an aerial rideshare as easily as you do an Uber today,’ they predict, ‘And by 2030, urban aviation could be a major mode of getting from A to B.’
A new report by the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), an association representing the mobile industry and its operators, on the state of mobile internet indicates an increasingly connected, if still woefully unequal, world.The report reveals that as of the end of 2021, 55% of the world’s population, or 4.3 billion people, were using mobile internet.
In the book The Modem World, Driscoll tells a coming-of-age story of the internet—he uses a crisp yet vivid narrative voice that has the potential to hook a techie and non-techie alike. The book fills an important gap in the cultural memory and theoretical literature of the internet by paying close attention to the Dial-Up Bulletin Board Systems (BBS).
As a child of the 80s the concept of how we consider and view privacy, I am increasingly realizing, is outdated and ‘so very last century’. As of this year I have lived more than half my life in this century and yet as technology consumes and propels most aspects of our lives I still think the right to privacy, intimate or otherwise, cannot and should not change.
For some time now, Silicon Valley has been obsessing over the next billion users. As mobile telephony becomes accessible along with cheap data—Jio, for instance, offers the cheapest data in the world—what kind of new markets will emerge in the global south, and how to parse the tech-consumption of the world’s poor to both enable them and profit off them.
Against All Odds: The IT Story of India is written by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan together with N Dayasindhu and Krishnan Narayanan who have also been associated with Infosys in the past. Dayasindhu and Narayanan also run Itihaasa which is a non-profit funded by Gopalakrishnan and others to record oral histories of the people associated with the IT industry.