In March 2021, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the addition of 15 manufacturing facilities to the prestigious Global Lighthouse Network. Two Indian companies were on the list – the Tata Steel facility in Jamshedpur, and the ReNew Power facility in Hubli. This is twice the number of Indian companies on the list last year. Many more facilities will likely be added to the WEF list, as several prepare to graduate their manufacturing businesses to keep up with Industry 4.0.
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Individuals now generate copious amounts of personal data everyday – both online and offline. Devices and infrastructure extract data, which can be shared instantly across borders with diverse entities - without consent. It is imperative that countries come together to create regulations to protect individuals who are unable to control how their data is shared and processed. A model already exists in the Paris Climate Agreement.
With an increasing human and robotic footprint in the solar system, there is a need to develop robust regulatory mechanisms to prevent the “forward” and “backward” biochemical contamination of these unexplored celestial bodies.
Big Tech wields considerable influence over commerce, speech, media, and politics. Mergers and acquisitions have been key to their burgeoning growth. Now it is clear that their power is buttressed by anti-competitive and predatory practices. Governments across the world are moving to redress this through regulation, but the task is complex.
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
The depth and complexity of India’s digital citizenry and ecosystem puts it in a unique position to impact global rules on digital governance. An opportunity to assert its influence is coming up with India’s presidency of the G20 in 2022. Work on this agenda must begin now.
Facial recognition technology has emerged as an important identification tool. Big tech, social media companies and governments around the world use it and hold an unprecedented power over individuals and communities. Its use for surveillance purposes has brought it under public scrutiny. The technology has still not been perfected. Is it really ready for adoption?
The world is experiencing two simultaneous transformations: a decoupling from China and the building of an alternate supply chain, and the creation of new, cutting-edge industrial process called digital manufacturing. It is part of the larger wave of Industry 4.0, an integration of industrial processes with the Internet of Things. India already has some of the key elements in place, and some successes to build on.
After the strategic digital pushback against Chinese investments and apps, India should turn its attention to the biggest Chinese domination tool – 5G. This is the mother lode that enables the efficient gathering of data, which when mined, results in product enhancement and pricing benefits to products listed in China 2025 and helps China set global standards. There is an urgency for alternate suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.
With more than 130 and 119 million users respectively, Chinese apps such as UC Browser and TikTok are not merely internet products, but serious content aggregators in India. But the final control of data collected by these apps resides in China, and this creates a grave risk to national security.