Threat From Robots Turning Out To Be More Real Than Ever
By K Raveendran
India’s IT boom was never an accident. It wasn’t planned either. It just happened; more importantly, despite the government. This does not mean our government in particular was anti-technology. In fact, that is the case with all countries where the IT revolution took hold. IT development was the product of an ecosystem in which governments had very little role to play. And it is good that they didn’t force one. For, whenever the governments intervened, it was aimed at controlling. Mercifully, the attempt to exercise control has come only after technology came into its own.
Rewind to the early stages of computerisation and the eighties saw concerted action by political parties, trade unions and service sector organisations against the introduction of computers on the perceived fear of labour displacement. This was the most retrograde approach on the part of organised classes of workers and employees and was destined to fail as the world outside was embracing big changes and profiting from them. Finally, before the turn of the new millennium, the much-hyped up Y2K issue and the uncertainty over the date change in computer programs, designed to accommodate only dates up to 2000, created a bonanza for Indians in job opportunities. Although the Y2K related work involved only low-level skills, Indian software engineers and the industry managed to create a new world of opportunities, which placed India as the top software power in a new emerging world order.