Technology can help improve dialogue: Michael Sandel

Sandel says new technology can help solve society’s problems by overcoming challenges of distance and time
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First Published: Wed, Jan 23 2013. 03 07 PM IST
Sandel says projects like the National Knowledge Network are new ways of communication that can be used as an instrument of change. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Sandel says projects like the National Knowledge Network are new ways of communication that can be used as an instrument of change. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Updated: Wed, Jan 23 2013. 04 51 PM IST
New Delhi: Education, social movements and an active civil society are the primary elements through which modern-day societal ills can be resolved, with technology being the medium for a better dialogue, Harvard University professor Michael Sandel said.
He was delivering a lecture on “Democratizing information, justice, equality and the rule of law” in Delhi University on Wednesday organized by the National Innovation Council and the National Informatics Centre.
It was one of the first in the public lecture series through the National Knowledge Network (NKN), the ambitious project of the Indian government to virtually connect major colleges and universities through a high-speed optic fibre network.
“Around 900 nodes have been connected through the NKN currently,” Sam Pitroda, adviser to the Prime Minister, said at the event, in which several colleges outside Delhi also participated through a live webcast.
New technology can help solve the problems of society by overcoming the challenges of distance and time, Sandel said. “However, problems have to be solved through not just connectivity but by community, not just by networking but by deliberating together on problems.”
Sandel added that projects like the NKN are new ways of communication that can be used as an instrument of change and in bettering public discourse.
Referring to recent protests in the national capital following the gang rape of a woman who later died, Pitroda agreed to Sandel’s observations about how discussions through the NKN can be a better way of deliberating on issues facing the country and the society.
Pitroda added that such initiatives are better than being part of a “mob frenzy which can be frightening at times”.
Sandel, who is also the author of Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? and What Money Can’t Buy, brainstormed on various subjects such as equality of women through an exchange of ideas with students from various colleges connected virtually through the NKN during his one-hour lecture.
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First Published: Wed, Jan 23 2013. 03 07 PM IST
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