Uploaded on 28 January 2020
THOUGHT TREND ANALYSIS-IV
The Post-human age?
Science, technology and future of civilisations. DR. MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM
More drastic measures are being planned to bring back species that died out centuries or millennia ago. Such feat would be accomplished through cloning, a technology that was for the first time successfully used to produce “Dolly,” the cloned sheep.
Recently, a frog was produced, which is both a living animal and a machine, with elements of both, to be used at a nano scale to cleanse choked human arteries and such other medical purposes, to begin with.
The above is a brief glimpse of some of the realities of the “post-human world” that looms. This is one glimpse that is out of thousands of others in the emerging landscape dominated by artificial intelligence, nano technology and an entirely new economic order that is likely to aggravate the inequality of income, material resources and opportunity, besides unequal protection of law.
In any case, economic development reduces poverty, but in the global capitalist system it also increases inequality. There are many ways in which this inequality is built and sustained with the help of the complicit state, business corporations and a dishonest international financial system. Inequality economist Thomas Picketty (popularly known as Karl Marx of our time) emphasises that it is primarily an inequality of capital.
Suketu Mehta in his remarkable work, This Land is our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto has the following to say on the corrupt international financial system (backed by big powers):
Trillions of dollars a year in net resource transfers make their way from the poor to the rich countries, according to a landmark 2016 report from Global Financial Integrity, an American think-tank, and the Centre for Applied Research at the Norwegian School of Economics. Unlike previous studies, this report includes outflows of illicit or unrecorded money.
In one of the earlier parts of this series I had quoted Claus Schwab and other sources that say in the new Al-driven economic age that is to dawn soon fears of mass unemployment may not come out to be true. However, new analyses show a different picture.
Daniel Susskind in his A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond, asks, “Will there be enough work to do for everyone in the 21st century?” To that he replies, “No.” He adds, “…the threat of technological unemployment is real.”
In this concluding part of the series, I want to think about how the Muslim Ummah as a whole (on all continents where people live) will be situated in the new age of uncertainty. The first thing that bothers me is the inadequacy of most Muslims in the context of education and training required to fit in the work, business and socio-political environment of the new age. We have to address this aspect of our lives on a priority. When we try to think about education, we have to think of life-long education, which is the new requisite for survival.
As Muslims we have been ordained to create a just and equitable order. This can be done only if we survive. Education is a pre-condition for survival. It is also a pre-condition for creation of an equitable and just order. To address these issues we have been holding seminars and symposia and producing books and learned articles for years. The next conference on the issue is due on February 1-2, 2020 at New Delhi on the theme “Contemporary Islamic Thought and Societal Reforms through Education”.
Finally, I would like to emphasise that education is the key to future survival and prosperity.