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15th convocation at National Institute of Technology-Tiruchi

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says benefits of technology and its negative effects must be critically assessed

Stating that the Fourth Industrial Revolution would open up an array of opportunities, Subra Suresh, president, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, said that India could leapfrog technologies so as to take forward the development agenda to a new level.

Delivering the 15th convocation address at National Institute of Technology-Tiruchi on Saturday, he said the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) had made possible many applications. India, with its large population, rich talents and young folk could play a significant part in the new revolution. It could leapfrog technologies for individuals and collective benefit of the citizens.

It could happen only if talented and well-trained graduates sharpened their skills so as to apply their knowledge to ensure that the benefits of technology and new opportunities afforded by Industry 4.0 were carefully balanced with implications for the human condition in the diverse geopolitical and cultural landscape for India.

Professor Suresh said that success could be achieved if the benefits of technology and its negative effects on humanity were critically assessed.

Before developing a particular product, policy, tool, process or software, issues of fairness, ethics, equality, climate change and sustainability should be critically assessed.

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He said the unique convergence of the digital, physical and biological worlds had created technological advances that were expected to transform the daily lives of ordinary citizens around the globe at an unprecedented and every accelerating pace in the new industrial revolution.

He said technological innovation in previous industrial revolutions had resulted in many intended benefits. But it had also yielded many unintended consequences arising from intentional or unintentional use, misuse or abuse of technology.

Faster pace

The pace of technological progress in the Industry 4.0 had exceeded the pace at which citizens, societies and governments were able to quickly and fully comprehend the full scope of the intended and unintended consequences of technologies. As a result, Industry 4.0 was posing a particularly difficult challenge for current and future generations. This challenge had simply boiled down to the issue of how to maximise the benefits of technological innovation while minimising its detrimental effects.

Mini Shaji Thomas, Director, NIT-T, said the institute had recently signed memorandums of understanding with industries such as Tata Steel, Siemens, Tata Motors, BHEL, Tech Mahindra, Indian Space Research Organisation and Airports Authority of India to strengthen research and industrial relations.

he NIT-T would start M.Sc. (Mathematics) from the current academic year and also M.A. (English Language and Literature) soon, she said.

As many as 1,721 students received degrees at the convocation.

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