Dominance of Internet is inevitable either for capitalistic or humanistic purposes. If we want to survive in a densely populated country, we do not have any other way than setting up a well-built cyber society.
Cyber society was mere imagination of a few sci-fi writers in the middle of the last century. Cynics, even some scientists, said the concept of hi-tech based society is possible only in the theoretical papers. The reality on Earth is contrary to hi-tech application and applied science cannot follow the imagination of sci-fi writers. Even after the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) of the US Department of Defence planted the seed of Internet in 1969 for connecting computers at some universities, nobody thought the network would end up here. The networking mission called ARPANET was set up for creating a large computer network with multiple paths. Computer scientists of the military and secret services wove their networking formula to save data and information from nuclear attacks and other disasters. It had a safeguard mechanism so that if one side of the network were to be destroyed by attack or damaged by something, the information would be saved and then passed on to the undamaged part of the network.
However, internet broke the military surrounding and gradually it is regarded as one of the basic infrastructures of a city and even a country. So Dhaka city must have more cyber network along with other facilities like electricity, water, gas, road etc. Besides religious teaching of Romzan month here we learned too how to be very patience with traffic jam. Every day Dhaka city was almost paralysed, shoppers and office goers didnâ€™t reach at home for Iftar after staying at road for three hours. City dwellers every year have to undergo the hassle and risk of boarding transport at exorbitant cost and often undesirable troubles. One of the duties of urban planners, road and highway engineers is to concentrate on the problem of traffic jam. Minimal cosy transportation for middle and low income commuters could be ensured, if transport authorities take all of the advantages provided by utilisation of hi-tech.
Internet connection throughout the City can be the finest substitute for not having to go outside of the home almost every day. To some extent, it is becoming needless to attend government offices and business places when you are connected by your home computer with the World Wide Web. If people are to come from suburb areas to Kamlapur Railway Station just for booking a ticket, they run into traffic jam as well as waste valuable time. Booking a ticket at a website is an easy task. Now your mobile phone is enough to book a train ticket.
Manufacturing cost of computers started reducing and the concept of a super computer had been changed; therefore, the present super-computer will soon take place of your personal computer. Data storing capacity of a computer is rising day by day, once the information space of a huge computer of the big research labs was only 5 to 10 GB (gigabyte). But for you now in Dhaka City, it will be hard to collect a new hard disc that is less than 40 GB!
Now computer is no more expensive item. Most of companies and hi-tech manufacturing industries in the competitive market depend on making computers affordable for everybody.
Several instances of computerisation in backward societies will be seen during even a cursory reading of IT journals. Many remote areas of the developing countries have been connected to the Web; even a few aboriginal people are provided computers for clicking on icons of online. A latest phenomenon in the field is to use the computer as a tool for poverty alleviation. Scientific discovery is the result of individual imagination and it cannot be universal until appreciation comes from the public. Its development is dependent on wide spread application. Therefore, dropping of the price of hi-tech commodities is a matter of time.
One of the obstacles faced by developing countries to manufacture hardware is lack of investment facility in the field and that they cannot copy their improved products on a mass scale. Already hi-tech giants like IBM, Apple, Dell etcetera have occupied the market. Although making components of computer is possible in the developing countries if hardware makers manage huge investment.
There is no specific survey on how many people every day come to bus/railway/launch stations for booking tickets and paying for phone-electric-water-gas bills, drawing money from banks and getting information from government and private offices. What will be happening, if they do not need to come to such busy places? If we can bring the cityâ€™s works into computerisation, certainly our traffic jam will be reduced and citizens can save valuable time.
Some of the government officials (depending on the nature of the work), research persons, teachers, editors of newspapers etcetera do not need to attend offices every day if they have computer with Internet at home. One can even operate oneâ€™s office computer by using oneâ€™s home computer; especially if it is paper-based works that require presence neither in the office, nor at home, but only a computer with Internet. A teacher can deliver a class lecture from the home computer. Online exam papers can be examined online. Moreover, a computer can give marks to exam papers that have objective type answers of questions.
The editorial page of a newspaper can be made up in the server. Online blank paper will be available. Editorial writers will host their "editorials" from home computer; "letter to the editor" can come from the letter editor. Main articles of the page can be hosted by the editor who is in-charge of editing the write-ups. Finally, page designer will give aesthetical finishing touch on the page.
E-governance or computerisation can be a blessing in solving traffic jam. A cyber society can be maintained in a huge-spaced server where all of professionals will have password to enter. Professionals will carry out their assigned responsibilities from their own PCs. The administration or management need to understand that attending office every day for some especial kind of employment duties is not profitable because such presence is not needed to get the work done.
We need to develop some especial kind of software, according to the nature of the official duties carried out by city dwellers. Initiating the best utilisation of computer science from home and cyber cafÃ© will not only save the city from virtually unmanageable traffic jam, it will contribute to the progress of local software engineers, programmers, IT educationists, computer firms and cyber cafÃ©s. We should bring the country under the omnipotence of e-governance. Our legislators need to negate traditional thinking that is against sci-tech advancement.
* Shahidul K K Shuvra
Editor of IT and Science pages