Digital Kerala: Hope for Future ( Source: Madhyamam )

Curtain fell on the #Future digital summit in Kochi with success in ushering Kerala’s youth on to the path of their dreams and in giving colour to their hopes.

Different sessions held over two days witnessed the sharing of big dreams about the future of Kerala. Diverse corridors of new ideas were opened at the summit that would pave way for the creation of new ‘Keralas’ – starting with garbage-free Kerala, a Kerala which regains freshwater resources, where electric vehicles have prominence and a Kerala rich in smart villages that realises a digital world, all with the help of information technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Given that Kerala bears the bad reputation of a state with negative thoughts in abundance, the fact that a summit could share dreams so boldly will have surely given immense energy to our youth for the new march ahead. Antony Satyadas, the CEO of Innovation Incubator Holding, had remarked that if Kerala turns into a technology hub and retains the healthy atmosphere provided by nature, a time might come when people from different parts of the world seek the ‘Kerala green card’. What Kerala awaits to realize this prediction is effective steps towards the development of competent and skilled youth.

Hard work is essential for the realization of dreams. Kerala indisputably is a state with the required amount of human resource. The marks of Keralites in the West Asian cities and projects which of late created wonders in the world, is a testimony to that. Gulf countries and the US underline the fact that Keralites who possess the zeal to work hard and are productive have a good market value outside Kerala. If they are not benefiting Kerala, the immediate step is to study about the shortfalls and resolve them. The never-ending efforts of a government leadership with foresight, will power and pragmatism will be able to overcome the stagnancy of Kerala. The Chief Minister’s announcement that the higher education sector will be modernized in order to turn Kerala into a society based on knowledge and to survive the competition at the global level, is the right step towards that. The solidarity expressed by the opposition leader that they would work in unison for the digital revolution in Kerala irrespective of politics and parties, is greatly inspiring for the speedy transformation of Kerala to a digital world.

Technology is a domain that constantly calls for creativity and innovativeness. Therefore, if our educational institutions fail to impart to our new generation the mental competence and the intellectual skills to compete against novel ideas and technological advances, all declarations will become empty rhetoric. For that reason, the question how many of our teachers can equip our students for the digital world, becomes meaningful. The main challenge faced by Keralite students is the lack of confidence to mesh with the global community. In Kerala, where even primary students efficiently use tabs and smart phones, only through acquisition of knowledge and more effective use of technology can their morale be raised. The emphasis should be not on the familiarity for using technology, but on the kind of education for using them to improve amenities of life and expedite the growth of the economy. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella indicated, the main challenge before India is how effectively technical skills can be put to use, and he also cautioned that the primary role of technology should be for the improvement of people.

Kerala has to urgently evolve schemes to employ AI in a positive manner. The development of AI has kicked off comprehensive reforms not only in technological, industrial and service industries, but also in a whole host of sectors affecting the basic lives of people including agriculture, health and transport. The exhortation by former governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan that we should not be victims of change but face them in the right manner and attain leadership position in them, should be the new mantra of the state. The summit has put forward excellent proposals for future change. If there is success in their time-bound implementation, the second edition of #Future summit can become a mirror held to display the skills of Kerala’s youth to the world.

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