Somehow infiltrating into the mysterious universe of the Internet and occupying my own personal space in it, I've naturally started writing this online column with some far-reaching reflections on the fantastic progress of modern science and technology and its increasingly tumultuous impact on the whole world in social terms. Perhaps it will strengthen my credentials if I mention here that there was a time when I had a fruitful professional relationship with the scientific community, and that I can count some eminent scientists among my best friends.
In the course of my varied experience as a senior civil servant in India, I had served as Financial Adviser to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi for several years, having very close and critical encounters with enterprising scientists and technologists engaged in nationally important development-oriented research.
One of those distinguished colleagues (and a lifelong friend) is Dr. Mallela Ramaiah, who had done some precious pioneering work as the Director of the Structural Engineering Research Centre in Chennai, where an immense suburban hillside station built by him for testing transmission line towers has acquired an international reputation as one of the best among such facilities in the world. He had also established the Indian Concrete Institute, and made a vital contribution to applied science and social welfare in several developing countries in Asia as a civil-engineering expert associated with important UN-Habitat projects.
By a pleasant coincidence, both Dr. Ramaiah and I happen to be visiting our children and grandchildren in Portland (Oregon) right now. Having this unexpected opportunity to discuss my inaugural theme with an old scientist-friend here in America -- exactly on the opposite side of the world from where we normally live and often meet for a rational exchange of views -- I do get a feeling that this is probably an ideal place and time for me to project an objective transglobal vision of technosocial trends!
(to be continued... )