- I love to be in Kanpur, not merely because it is my city. I love it because this city is a true confluence of tradition and modernity. It is in this context that I feel proud to be here for the inauguration of the International Conference on Recent Advancement in Computer Science, Communication and Information Technology, which is being organized at PSIT, Kanpur. It is my privilege to address some of the brightest young minds in the country.
- Technology is very much woven in the genes of this great city. Down the ages, Kanpur always has had a unique relation with advancement of technology. One or another kind of technology took this city to great heights in the twentieth century. Its excellence in the textile industry earned it the name as “Manchester of the East” when its mills competed with the best in the world. The textile boom led to the setting up of a number of industries here, making the city an industrial hub. It also graduated to becoming a major trading centre and came to be called the “commercial capital” of Uttar Pradesh. After the textile boom, it has been the leather technology that is remaking this city. It is now called the “Leather City of the World”.
- Given this connection with technology and industry, it is no wonder that the city has been home to some of the best names in engineering education. What is particularly unique about the city is that its pursuit for material wealth is always accompanied by a determined effort to keep pace with the advanced education. Who in the world does not know the eminence of the IIT, Kanpur? Along with this great institute exists an equally important centre of learning, Harcourt Butler Technical Institute (HBTI), which has now become a full-fledged university. There are a host of other institutes which have produced excellent engineers and scientists.
- PSIT too enriches this heritage of the city. I congratulate the institute for organising this conference. I am sure it will prove to be an excellent platform for researchers and professionals from India and abroad to discuss latest developments in various domains.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- I find the world of technology fascinating, because technology has been a prime mover of social change. India’s journey from a poor nation at the time of independence to one of the fastest and biggest economies in the world has come about in part thanks to technology. As we aim to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25, we again look forward to technology playing its role. Apart from giving us the economic might, new forms of knowledge have bettered the lives of people on the margins of society. Moreover, advances in information and communication technology have been a great equaliser in all walks of life.
- Technology, however, is just an instrument. Be it fire or electricity, it is a great servant but a bad master. This city has been witness to the powers of technology to make as well as break. When you deliberate on the latest technological advancements, I would urge you to keep foremost in mind the implications for the humanity. Kanpur has an excellent example of using technology for humanity. Over the decades, Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) has helped countless persons with disabilities by manufacturing rehabilitation aids, with focus on continuous technology upgradation.
- We are told that we are entering the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Futurologists envision a fundamental change in our day-to-day living as the digital and infotech revolution gives way to a convergence of cyber, physical and biological domains. Internet of Things and 3D Printing are already delivering what was till yesterday in the pages of science fiction. We can harbour great hopes that this will lead to all-round improvement in the human life. However, there are also fears of technology. For decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology was a matter of academics, but now it has become real. Instead of all the long-cherished fruits of AI, the initial impact is in terms of job losses as machines take over human roles.
- All technological revolutions so far have given us great tools for improvement, but at a great price. Air pollution in Kanpur is a visible proof. But I am an optimist. I take heart in the fact that the great visionaries working at the cutting edge of technology have always been sensitive to the human concerns.
- I am sure you all are eagerly looking forward to exciting and fruitful brainstorming over the two days. Students too will have a great opportunity to learn from veterans. I once again congratulate the organisers of the conference and wish you all success.