The Onward and Enduring March of Technology
Predictions are especially difficult in science and technology as they change rapidly. What was 10 years ago has become almost obsolete in today’s scenario. Whether it's Siri, Snapchat, Tesla, Space X, Alexa, they were almost non-existent. They have so well integrated into our lives now. People with wisdom may develop expectations for the future, but only the foolish tread longer to make predictions. But despite the dangers of the VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), the 3Ds are fully predictable- the 3Ds being: Digitalisation, Decentralisation and Decarbonisation.
Digitalisation: It is driving the creation of the new digital world and will be the transformative story of the 2020s. India is digitising faster than many mature economies. It is already home to one of the world’s largest and fastest growing bases of digital consumers. As of today, Facebook has more users in India than the rest of the world put together. The launch of cheap mobile data plans by an Indian MNC helped India pole-vault from the 155th position to the number one position in mobile data consumption. In fact, India is growing at ten times the speed than the rest of the world. India operates the most advanced digital payments system in the world. As per an RBI report, per capita digital transactions rose from 2.4 per annum in 2014 to 22 in 2019, a nine-fold rise in five years, expected to grow to 220 by 2021, another ten-fold increase in three years. That 1.3 billion Indians will be connected through digitisation offers a huge opportunity for a radical yet sustainable transformation in diverse fields be they education, health, agriculture, security dynamics, energy or industry, to be precise, industry 4.0.
Decentralisation: Call it decentralisation or indeed democratisation, it is a result of rapid advances in technology, digital being the most important. Computer aided design (CAD) files and 3D printing achieved by additive processes will create distributed manufacturing doing away with assembly-line dominated factories. Leave aside the idea of work from home, this means that the home or even a garage can become a factory, thus, democratising manufacturing. Decentralisation of education is already underway through massive online open courses, mesh networks, private blockchain and rooftop solar with power storage by Tesla Powerwall-like systems are going to drive decentralisation in the coming decade.
Decarbonization: Decarbonization has been given the highest priority by India and in some cases with a 10X model. For instance, the UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable Lighting for All) scheme cut the prices of LED bulbs from INR 310 in 2014 to INR 38 apiece by 2016, a fall to one-eight the price. India is now producing the world’s cheapest solar power, with the cost of setting up solar PV projects dropping several folds in the last decade. India will see more solar lighting systems in the coming decade, meaning more decentralisation and decarbonisation.
Some emerging biological technologies will also impact the three 3Ds. For instance, synthetic biology will help decarbonisation by impacting carbon sequestration via virus-resistant plants and algae. Likewise, it will help in decentralisation. For instance, the cost of chemicals is very scale sensitive. But now, with synthetic biology, localized production with tailored bacteria will become possible.
These examples just underscore that 3Ds will be drivers of the decade. In actuality, there are a dozen technologies that will dominate the landscape: AI, 5G, Blockchain, Big Data Analytics, Robotic Process Automation, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Augmented Reality, Advanced Genomics, 3D printing, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Gene Editing, Nanotech etc. These are exponential technologies and since the performance rises rapidly and the costs go down rapidly, these will be an advantage especially to emerging economies like India. The changes that took years to happen have accelerated now and as CEO Microsoft once remarked ‘Two years worth of digital transformation took place in a span of two months’: these 3Ds underpinned by emerging tech are here to stay.
AGNIi, Invest India is poised with capabilities and capacities to deliver transformation objectives for its partners capturing the value of the rapidly growing base of Indian Science, Technology and Innovation. Whether it is to reengineer and adapt delivery and execution mechanism, help upgrade the processes via leveraging emerging technology, AGNIi Mission with its unconventional approach, speed, and effectiveness is positioned to enhancing the value proposition of technology for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat.’