Humanity's progress and its changing course

Techno Page By Harendra Alwis

We live in exciting times. Most of the things that happen around us – even though we may be unaware of their magnitude and consequences – are changing the face of humanity and the planet we inhabit. We were perhaps among the first generations in human history to grow up taking computers, the Internet, mass media and public air travel for granted. Aviation celebrated its centennial anniversary only a few years ago and space travel is barely even half a century old. Considering the long journey of human evolution; or even of civilization and science, even a century is no more than the blink of an eye. Yet the world has changed more during the last hundred years than during an entire millennium before it. What's even more remarkable is that the pace of change is increasing. We may see men and women setting foot on other planets during our lifetime; and witness perhaps the most revolutionary discoveries in the world of science.

With the living memory of no more than a hundred years or less and engulfed in our daily lives by war and political violence, it is somewhat easy for us to lose sight of the progress that humanity has made during the last few centuries. Despite thousands of years of civilization, philosophy and spiritual exploration, it was not until the US declaration of independence that humanity articulated for the first time – the belief that 'all men are created equal.' Yet, even as recently as a couple of generations ago, racial discrimination and social divisions based on class and creed were not only tolerated, but accepted.

The technological advancements of the past few decades however – especially with the Internet coming of age – has far surpassed the impact that revolutions, wars, economic transformations and political upheavals of antiquity, because it encapsulates the essence of all of the above in one single entity and one phenomenon that not only reaches out to common people but by empowering them to participate on an equal footing. As I touched on the subject last week, the importance for common men to preserve the liberty and freedom of expression, the connectedness and rich exchange of ideas between people that Information Communication Technology has brought about cannot be over-emphasised.

Our lives, more than any others in human history, are intertwined with technology. Technology, as a result, has a firm grip on most aspects of our behaviour, most crucially on how we communicate with others. Ours will be a generation of monumental change and revolution that will only be evident in retrospect. The future that we help create will no doubt be very exciting and quite literary – electrifying.
Yet it is too simplistic a view that hails technology for bringing people closer together by expanding the reach and ubiquity of communication tools at our disposal. The availability of faster and cheaper travel and ubiquitous communication has not done enough to stem the increasing distance between individuals as well as nations, the redundancy of human relationships and the scarcity of trust. We grew up in a world full of paradoxes where despite the spread of democracy and promises of equal opportunity made by free market economics, the poor become more and more isolated from the rich and generations drift further apart.

It is important that we realize that the world is changing at an ever rapid pace and try to understand the nature of those changes, so that not only will we be able to capitalise on them, use it for our betterment and make use of the opportunities they present, but also to make a positive contribution to those changes and add to its momentum for the sake of generations to come.

That was my mission as I penned Techno Page over the past seven and a half years in the foreground of all the changes that Information Communication Technology is bringing into our daily lives. I have had the privilege of having a voice to share with you these observations and discuss the impact of these changes as I perceived them. Techno Page was the brainchild of a long time friend and schoolmate of mine – Kesara Ratnatunga who penned the first few columns with Chathura Randeniya, when I was still a schoolboy who filed away the articles every week in reverence. I had not even dared to dream of a day that I would be the author of the words on these pages, but inherited it almost by chance when Kesara felt it was time to hand it on. I have run my course and now the time has come to hand it on to a fresh mind with a new vision for the page.

Devaka Randeniya will take over Techno Page from next week. He brings with him significant experience and knowledge of the IT industry both in Sri Lanka and abroad and has much to offer to you – the faithful readers. I offer you my sincerest thanks for all the messages, words of encouragement and appreciation you offered me over the years, the thoughts and dreams you shared and the trust you placed in me. I can only hope that I lived up to your highest expectations, which drove me to give my best to you every week.

I wish Devaka the best and hope he will enjoy his work on Techno Page as much as I did. Please continue to write into technopage@gmail.com, and let us know what you think

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
Other Mirror Articles
A new leaf
Humanity's progress and its changing course
Cyber Vision at St. Sebastian's College
Complete laugh riot
For quizzical minds
Vibrant performance
Model of the week
Mourners attend private Hudson family funeral
Emerging talent


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution