The advent of desktop computing has revolutionized the way many societies function. In virtually every facet of society, computers have changed the way everyday activities are conducted. Their use in the classroom and at home have fundamentally transformed the academic process and the way in which families perform otherwise mundane tasks, and the way in which they interact. Computers in the broader world have contributed tremendously to the design and construction of safer automobiles, the development of better surgical procedures, the astronomically quicker performance of scientific and mathematical calculations, and the access to information available on the Internet. No country with ambitions of being economically competitive in the years ahead can afford to fall behind in the area of information technologies. China and India, with populations in excess of one billion each, will require every means available to manage and provide for the needs of the hundreds of millions in each country that are certain to lag behind in socioeconomic development. Both countries realize this, and produce computer scientists at high rates, although many Indian technicians choose to work in the United States, where a shortage of highly-skilled information technology specialists has proven costly in terms of economic competitiveness.
As countries evolve economically, their reliance on computer technologies grows exponentially. Manufacturing, the foundation of economic development, is increasingly driven by advances in technologies that minimize human involvement, a worrisome trend for countries like India and China with massive surpluses of labor that must develop technologically and economically if social stability is to be assured as population continues to grow. How these two countries handle these challenges will impact the entire world given the percentage of the world’s population concentrated in India and China. Again, the advent of computers presents both advantages and disadvantages in this regard.
The advantages of computers are many. More compelling, however, is the fact that incorporation of advanced information technologies into society is not a luxury, it is a requirement of economic development. India’s high-technology sector is large and growing. The Indian Space Research Organization and the Indian Institute of Science are prominent contributors in their respective fields on a global basis. As noted above, India is producing large quantities of computer technology specialists. The key for that country, though, will be in how it incorporates those advances for the betterment of its broader society.