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Techtonic 2019

Blurring Reality
The fourth industrial revolution will be led by AI and robotics

N Mahalakshmi

If anyone asks us, what is the one thing that we couldn’t live without, most of us would answer — my smartphone — without batting an eyelid. Of course, we would then mumble “my kids” or a dear one’s name as a guilty afterthought. Truly, nothing has quite transformed our lives like the ubiquitous mobile phone. India is digitising faster than any emerging or developed economy, according to a report by McKinsey & Company, and for a country like ours, the change that the magical device is ushering in is profound in many ways. 

Powered by cheap data, it is clearing the last-mile hurdle and ensuring that a large part of the population has access to financial services, healthcare and education. Governance is making the best of this new reality. It has introduced Aadhaar, India’s biometrics-based identity programme into which 1.2 billion citizens have been enrolled, and GST, which brought about 10 million businesses onto a common digital platform. Individuals and businesses that were unbanked until now, can now avail data-driven loans. These are exciting times and we bring you such stories in this special edition, Techtonic 2019. 

Another breakthrough technology that has become a buzzword in recent years is blockchain, which if you scratch the surface is more than bitcoin. With blockchain, the Coffee Board intends to get planters better realisation for their produce and regulators can improve transparency in the otherwise opaque chit fund industry. Read the story to find out if this technology could just be as revolutionary as the internet.

A broken heart cannot be mended but maybe you can print another one? We don’t mean to make light of disappointments but 3D printing makes us annoyingly hopeful. With it, you can bioprint skin and cartilage with materials that come close to the human tissue. Needless to say, it can save lives. 

Last but not the least, we uncover the beginnings of a fourth industrial revolution. This one will be led by AI and robotics. Workers are being compelled to upskill and learn how to collaborate with the metallic recruits, or bid goodbye to their jobs. Find out how it is rebuilding India Inc.

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