Rise of Techno-Nationalism – UPSC GS3

Techno-nationalism Vs Techno-globalisation:
  • Techno-globalisation seeks the free flow of technologies and sharing of innovations in order to bring countries and individuals on a shared platform to solve social problems.
  • Techno-nationalism sees nation states using their superiority in specific technologies rise up the global hierarchy and dominate other nations.
  • However, neither of these two term accurately describe the current state of global affairs.
Current state of global affairs
  • US Vs China tech-race:  
    • Goal is dominance over new technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, Internet of Things.
    • Most analysts today put China on a par with the US, in areas like artificial intelligence and big data analytics, genomic manipulation and even quantum computing.
  • Anti-China sentiment: Action by developed countries against Chinese ambition and its government’s use of private companies to gather data surreptitiously from friends and rivals alike.
  • Status of developing and under-developed countries: 
    • They are users, not original innovators.
    • Many of them turning towards China for new technologies.
    • At the cusp of Fourth Industrial Revolution, the world is getting divided into the techno colonialists, or the original innovators, and the techno colonies, or the users.
India’s place in the global play: India has targeted self-sufficiency and techno-nationalism, due to rising tensions with China.
  • Steps taken:
    • Banned many Chinese apps and talked about developing indigenous 5G telecom technology.
    • Government has outlined its vision for artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
Factors that prevented India’s technological advancement in the past
  • Lack of coherent long-term vision and a clearly-articulated action plan: with timelines and targets.
    • The erstwhile Soviet model of development, although helped in achieving competency in some areas (food security), hindered technology adoption due to closed nature of economy
  • After 1991 reforms: Focus was more on economic problems rather than on technological development.
  • Lack of intent by private sector: which preferred to buy technology off the shelf instead of trying to develop it.
  • Lacked ambition to compete with other countries: India develop cutting edge technology only when they are denied the access.
    • E.g. development of cryogenic engines, nuclear technology and super computers.
Conclusion:  India should be more ambitious in develop cutting edge technologies to escape remaining a techno-colony.
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