Information is Power: The Biggest Power

Information is Power: The Biggest Power

Varun Kapoor, IPS

Additional Director General of Police, Narcotics and PRTS, Indore

 

Mankind has gone through many stages in its evolution over the millennia. These stages have included a number of ages when the process of evolution was speeded up due to the emergence of one important and over powering factor. Thus we see that the “Agricultural Revolution” led to a huge jump in human evolution. Humans started to live in small but settled agrarian communities and started farming and domesticating cattle. Thus village life came into being. The next quantum jump came with the “Industrial Revolution” which started in Great Britain with the coming of the steam engine in the 18th and 19th century. With this came urbanization and the settlement of humans in large cities and towns.

 

Today we are living in the time of the “Information Revolution”. This has come about since the seventies decade of the 20th century. It has been fuelled by the advent and the rapid spread of the internet. Today is the age of digitalization and miniaturization. Actually it is the ever improving technology of computer miniaturization that is leading to the huge expansion of the digital technology and space. And this rapidly burgeoning digitalization is responsible for making information such a premium commodity today.

 

In the seventies there was a great economist named Alvin Toffler. He had written a much acclaimed book called “The Future Shock” for which he also received a Nobel Prize for economics. In this he coined a phrase – “information is power”. During those early days of the information revolution, people didn’t understand or comprehend the gravity of his observation. They made fun of this concept and said how can information be power? Money has power, even muscle power exists – but information is power? It did not appeal to the populace as they could not foresee the times to come. But evidently Toffler could. Today his prophesy has come 100% correct. Today Information is the biggest power – money and muscle have been left somewhere far behind.

 

Today the person who has access to the maximum and best information and if he uses it wisely – that person can become the most powerful person on the globe. Depends of the quality and quantum of the information and its utilization. That is why I always say that if any person today has three things he/she can aspire to be the most powerful entity around. One is a DEVICE – because it is with this that he will access the huge world of digital information. Second is CONNECTIVITY – because it is with this he will connect to the internet. The third is a FINGER – because without at least a finger the person cannot operate the devise to retrieve information. Thus if any person has these three things then nothing can stand in his way in accessing the maximum amount of information and becoming a powerful individual.

 

Google is the world’s biggest internet search engine. There are 2 Trillion searches on Google every year. The second biggest search engine in the cyber world is You Tube – with 24 hours of video uploaded every minute. Today Google is an answer to all our questions. It has become all important – that even popular Hindi songs are using the word Google. That is because it is a huge treasure trove of information. Only a few years back – five or six years maybe – if we had to find a small bit of information, for example the name of Chinese restaurants in our city, what efforts we would have had to make. We would need to talk to people and if a suggestion of a restaurant comes along, store that information for an undefined period of time to be used as and when desired. We would even have to see banners, posters, advertisements etc – just to get the name of one measly restaurant in our neighborhood. But today we just have to punch in the requirement in Google and out will pop a huge list and that too in a fraction of a second!! That is how this information revolution has transformed our lives. The citizens on their part certainly have more choices and a saving in their time and energies. The entrepreneurs on their part get better business and as a result commercial enterprise flourishes.

 

So while we live through this information age fuelled by the digital revolution we must not only use the avenues of information for our benefit but must also pay heed to the security requirements. After all if we compromise on security in our quest for more and more information – we will be committing a huge blunder. All development without safety and security is a waste. Thus we must be beware of the dangers that this information overload can create for us and adopt ways and means to protect and insulate ourselves, over families and our societies from them at all times and at all costs!