IT TO THE MASSES
the CSI 2000 convention, Professor H.N. Mahabala and Dr.
S.V.Raghavan from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Chennai, spoke about the need to take IT to the masses.
Professor Mahabala started off with interesting anecdotes about, what
IT really means.
We already know of cars that talk to us, give us directions if we
are lost and remind us of our anniversaries. But what follows really
beats everything. In Japan, each time a person uses the toilet, the
toilet sends a report to his doctor and if required makes an appointment
for him (this facility is available to those who can afford it). So
now we are talking about Intelligent toilets here.
Professor Mahabala and Dr. Raghavan touched upon issues that affect
the masses.Questions were thrown up in the forum. Who are the masses?
What information do they need? There are about 800,000 villages in
India. Is it possible to reach all the 800,000 villages?
Clearly the masses are not the people who attended the convention.
They are not the thousands of students who throng the IT training
institutions with dollar dreams. The masses live in the villages of
India with bare minimum facilities.
The information they need is requirement-specific, which include:
Indian language adoption has to happen in a big way, so that a farmer
sitting somewhere in rural Bihar or Tamilnadu is able to have access
to information relevant to him.
- Market data
- Weather forecast
- Agricultural advice
- Job opportunities
- Educational/Training advice
- Health practices
- Up-to-date medical advice
- Data Communication
A few experiments have been conducted in this regard:
Professor Mahabala also spoke about other enabling technologies apart
from Internet, which are technologies of the future
- Ekalavya. Health monitoring for rural children, in concurrence
with St John's Colleges and Rotary club.
- Expert system for pesticide recommendation.
- Rural reach programme and the Tata Consultancy Service literary
"Who will pay for this?" was the next question to be thrown
up. Dr. S.V.Raghavan had a ready answer for this.
- Mutimedia PC
- Wireless communication
- Mobile computing
- Voice Input/Output
- Touch screen
There should be no compromise made on requirements, due to cost considerations.
Technological advancement is hampered if you bring down your requirements
to suit the budget. Requirements should remain, affordability should
be tackled with technology. Find the cost suitable to you and work
around it with technology.
Author : Anuradha Sriraman
Photographs :V Ganesan