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Reluctant Technophiles
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Reluctant Technophiles
India’s Complicated Relationship with Technology

  • Rakesh Kumar - Renowned technologist and Professor at the University of Illinois, USA


December 2021 | 324 pages | SAGE Select
The past was glorious. 

A future disrupted by technology is almost here. 

But India still awaits its technology-based prosperity.

With deep-rooted inequalities, disinformation and corruption running through the veins of the Indian society, it’s hypocritical to pretend that technological solutions can solve all our problems. We are also relatively unprepared for the genuine challenges technology presents. While the benefits of technology are numerous, the challenges have the potential to magnify existent biases, exacerbate social and economic inequality, and break the social fabric.

Reluctant Technophiles: India’s Complicated Relationship with Technology sheds light on what technology can solve and what it can’t. Drawing from the discussions of ancient religious text, quantum computing, Greek mythology and current events, the book tries to find the sweet spot at the intersection of technology, policy and society.
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgements
 
The Perfect Scapegoat
 
The Delusion of Grandeur
 
The Faith Paradox
 
The Misguided Utopianism
 
The Unequal Opportunity
 
The Legitimate Fear
 
The Motive to Succeed
 
The Cavalier Attitude
 
The Dubious Fundamentals
 
The Build–Buy Conundrum
 
The Path Forward
 
Bibliography

‘Laden with anecdotes, examples and data, Reluctant Technophiles paints successfully on a very wide canvas, analysing the past, dissecting the present and presenting a plausible vision for the future.’

N. R. Narayana Murthy
Founder, Infosys

‘Reluctant Technophiles brilliantly underscores the complicated and often contradictory relationship India has with technology, which must be acknowledged and navigated to chart a path to technology-based prosperity.’

Naresh Chandra Saxena
Former Secretary, Planning Commission of India

‘Reluctant Technophiles describes the evolution of various technologies over the years and their relationships that exist today with the Indian society. It is very lucidly written with examples and is useful for common people to understand the societal impact of advanced technologies and derive the benefits out of them, given the strengths, limitations and contradictions in our society. Congratulations to Professor Rakesh Kumar on his achievement.’

Sankar Pal
Padma Shri and National Science Chair

‘It is a much-needed work by a technologist to deconstruct the engagement of the Indian society with technology, taking into account underlying contradictions and complexities.’

Dinesh C. Sharma
Author, The Outsourcer; winner of the Computer History Museum Book Prize

‘Reluctant Technophiles cuts through vision documents and road maps, puts an ear to the ground and narrates technology–society stories from India’s heartlands. That is where technology or the lack thereof matters most.’

Subhra Priyadarshini
Chief Editor, Nature India

‘Kumar’s deep knowledge enables him to serve as an outstanding and entertaining guide to both India and technology, two complex subjects that are often misunderstood.’

Ross Bassett
Author, The Technological Indian

‘Technology is both demonized and epitomized in India, but seldom well understood. Rakesh’s book brings in an evidence-led perspective to understand technology in the Indian context and significantly raises the level of debate. He forcefully argues why India must aspire to be a technology superpower, a gap that needs urgent attention.’

Varun Aggarwal
Founder, India Science Festival; Co-founder, Aspiring Minds; Author, The Bird Farm

Rakesh Kumar

Rakesh Kumar is a Professor of computer engineering at the University of Illinois. His research in computer system design has pioneered technologies which are used widely today. Several of his papers have been recognized as the most influential papers in computer systems; many of them have won best paper awards. His research has received coverage and mentions in outlets such as BBC, Fortune and The New York Times. In addition to being an award-winning researcher and teacher, Rakesh thinks deeply about issues at the intersection of technology, policy and society, especially in the Indian context. His opinion articles have appeared in... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789354791772
₹595.00