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So, what’s new?

A lot actually. More than we care to know sometimes. There are so many new things around us that we sometimes fail to grasp the change. World is changing. Inside out. Literally, because every 4 minutes synaptic networks of our cerebral cortex renews – like refreshing your PC – and every couple of months you have literally a new brain, cell for cell. This inward change is just one reflection of all changes around us, from microscopic to Cosmic scale. We are destined to change and new things must outgrow the old; that’s the Order of Nature.

We confront these changes with our puny sensory perceptions. So it’s no surprise that we can only have a glimpse of so little around us. Moreover, most important changes work over a scale of time much larger than our brief biological interaction with Nature. Most often we come to realize about something uniquely new when it has actually become old. Foreseeing new things involve, to an extent, some philosophical thinking.

So what’s new? This is my take on it.

1. Organic design : For ages our designers, mostly in the field of technology and engineering, remained mechanistic. We remained trapped with ‘mechanical’ limitations of motions and our designs had been too simple and too crude in a Natural setting teeming with wonderfully complex systems. Funnily, these wonderfully complex and highly efficient machines (us included) had been the products of a blind evolutionary process that works on so absurdly simple principles that its almost impossible to relate the ‘feat’ of a gecko moving with equal ease on both horizontal and vertical surfaces with any mechanistic models of our design. For the very first time our engineers and technologists are learning from organisms and getting inspired to follow or even reverse engineer their capabilities to produce robots and semi-intelligent machines that will work and move into territories hitherto inaccessible to us. Think of nanobots that will one day flow through your blood and relieve you from arterial blockages, cancer and even neurotic seizures. Our futuristic designers are changing over from simplistic to complex, from macro to micro and from one to many machines which are quite unlike we studied in our undergraduate projects. That’s a great change because who ever believed that machines would one day self-repair or change functions by their own? This is one new thing that will change our lives almost entirely in foreseeable future.

2. Participatory and Collaborative Enterprise: This is another huge paradign shift in human thinking where ‘compete and win’ is being replaced with ‘collaborate and grow’. While the old Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest remains true, the new question is: whose survival? Is it the question of survival of one or many? The answer comes from Nature again. It is ultimately absurd if there is only one survivor in the end. So we need to compromise (even at some risk of our survival) and form symbiotic relationships with others where many can survive, even grow and thrive through collaboration and joint participation. This is a new social paradigm and applicable overwhelmingly to almost any spere of human enterprise – trade and commerce, science, medicine, art and culture and most surprisingly even religion. This new change is bound to affect our lives too deeply. As I foresee it, in 50 to 100 years, the whole geopolitical boundaries will be almost meaningless and humanity will thrive as a single community perfectly ‘in-phase’ at every point of it much like lasers.

3. Environment Awareness: Though the present world events on Environment issues do not look so bright, I will put my wager on ultimate environment awareness and responsibility on a true global scale in 100 years to come. What is debate now will be a reality in near future and the current millennium will usher philosophies that will make environment sensitivity the most basic human quest. I am somehow sensing this new change to be coherent with the new changes I mentioned already. There are other social pointers to this as well – like empowerment of women, abolition of racism etc. Slowly our societies are getting homogenized (thanks to communication boom) which is a messenger of a quantum leap in the refinement of humanity and better suited for Nature.

Feels like I can see one change everyday.

I am hopelessly optimistic.

Post Written by
Pabitra is an Honors graduate in Civil Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has specialized in the field of River Hydraulics working for more than two decades training rivers, protecting banks and beaches and fighting erosion of the river banks/beds. He has worked with Bio-Engineering models involving mangroves using them as tools for cost effective and natural means of anti-erosion technology.His work is mostly concerning the extremely morpho-dynamic Hugly estuary with Bay of Bengal In course of his work, he got exposed to indigenous people of the Sunderban wetlands, who are fighting a losing battle against aggressive Industrialization. Pabitra loves to read and write and he is full of crazy ideas. He is a Youth Leader and Adviser to Climate Himalaya. He is also a contributor member of THINK ABOUT IT platform of European Journalism Center and a winner of the recently concluded competitive blogging on Water. Pabitra believes that he has a tryst with the strange river-country south of Bengal.

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