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Tech culture is in

Friday, 5 January 2007 - 12:46am IST

Fast-paced technology is bringing in cultural changes. Since technology is changing one cannot stop the process of globalisation.

Fast-paced technology is bringing in cultural changes which can be terrifying. Since technology is changing one cannot stop the process of globalisation.

“The devastating part is that such fast moving technology is taking away jobs,” said Senator Bob Kerrey in an address at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) here on Thursday.

In the city to meet leaders in finance, policy and education, Kerrey met officials from the Securities and Exchange Board and the National Stock Exchange.

Delivering his talk on ‘Role of Social Science Education in Urbanisation and Globalisation’ the Senator pointed out that Mumbai can only succeed when there’s a strong person saying that it has to succeed.

Elaborating on the “terrific” changes wrought by fast-paced technology Kerrey said, “One of the things that has amazed me is the way people are using technology and forming organisations outside the government. They are not waiting for the government to tell them what to do. There are shocking changes and people can get access to anything using technology.”

According to him it is really difficult to ascertain where all this communication technology is headed. “I do not understand it. It will be very difficult to bridge the cultural differences arising out of technological advances,” said Kerrey.

The 63-year old is also the president of the New School — a university devoted to thinking outside academic boxes. The New school began as a progressive era experiment in alternative education along with an uncommon blend of pragmatic insight, social responsibility, humanistic purpose and artistic adventurousness.

The New School established the India China Institute in 2004 with outposts in New York, Beijing and Mumbai. His trip — the first of its kind by any New School president — comes at a time when university officials are strengthening ties with Asia through the India China Institute.

TISS will set up a branch of The New School on its sprawling campus in the city. The Housing Development and Finance Corporation and the RBI will be partners in the school, said TISS officials.

Touching on the ties between India and China, Kerrey stated that since both countries are major players in this era of globalisation they faced similar challenges, including migration of millions of people between rural and urban areas. Both countries also experienced the negative effects of pollution on growing economies and the rapidly expanding gap between affluence and poverty.

“The United States has become increasingly connected to both countries as well. Issues such as energy use in China and outsourcing in India affect US citizens every day,” highlighted Kerrey.

While the three countries are linked there have been few opportunities for India and China to discuss shared issues and the India China Institute will help fill that gap, he said.

Speaking on the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Senator stated that there will be considerable reluctance on the part of the US people to allow its forces to intervene and solve the problems of others. “This is the result of the involvement in Iraq. It was an unhappy experience. There’s a mood amongst the people that enough is enough, let someone else solve the problem,” said Kerrey.

According to Benjamin Lee - Provost of the India China School - urban designing has become a global problem. He felt that urban planning and design should be open for discussion because it presents an opportunity to rethink.

Kerrey will tour the Pune University and deliver a talk on the Indo-US relations from the perspective of the American Congress.  Later, in Delhi he will explore the Centre for Policy
Research and hear presentations by the members of the National Security Council.

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