POST TIME: 8 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Dr. Yunus’ warning against advanced technology
Dr. Yunus' theory of social business which through creating social capital can prevent the dangerous use of technology and make people self-dependent without any employment is a utopian idea
Abdul Gaffar choudhury

Dr. Yunus’ warning against 
advanced technology

Our Noble Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus has given a timely warning to the world. Recently he was speaking in the famous IT centre, Infosys in Bangalore where 1200 delegates from 82 countries assembled to discuss social business, which is now a pet theory of our Noble Laureate. He said, 'Technology can do immense good to the mankind, but at the same time it can also destroy them. Now we have two roads to follow-one is self-preservation and the other is destruction. I warn you about the danger of artificial intelligence'. He further added that the use of artificial intelligence i.e. technology was started with an aim that it will remove man-power and take over their work and responsibility. Its services are more efficient and less costly. So those who want more profit and less cost of production, they are eager to use technology in the place of man power.

Dr. Yunus raised a question-if machine replaces man than where will man go? He points out that they will lose their jobs and that is now happening throughout the world. He said, ‘Now bank, television and even journalism will be run by machines. Machines are now being awarded prize in journalism and for writing stories which means they are replacing man and human intelligence. My question is this that after replaced by machine everywhere where will man go? They will be jobless and without any work in every sector of life. Those who are the patrons of technology say that the government will arrange a monthly basic income for them. I ask, is this a solution?  Will the advancement of technology make people beggars all over the world? Is it the fate of human civilization? Will begging be our last resort?'

Dr. Yunus told the audience, ‘You will have to assure me that this will not happen and I also want to know how you will prevent it. I do not want to see the gloomy future of the human race? Technology was discovered for the welfare of mankind. But that is now pushing people towards destruction. There is a fine line between wellbeing and danger. Now we have crossed that line and heading towards disaster. We must not allow it and prevent it'. He predicted that the power of technology is taking over human faculty and intelligence. There is a limit to human intelligence. But artificial intelligence has no limit. Very soon they will dominate human intelligence and dictate them what to do. He added that technology can now think. They now have thinking power. What is the use of keeping the human race alive in the world? Technology can even abolish us by creating feud among the world population.

The Noble Laureate raised the question whether this century will witness the abolition of the human race in the world. He warned, ‘Within 10 years our lives may be totally dictated by machine. The capitalist economy has taught us that we should be employed not be employers. It is a wrong teaching. Man was not created only to do jobs but to live independently with their intelligence. In the primitive age we did not do any job under anyone but we lived hunting and afterwards by farming lands. That is our history. Now technology wants us to become servants and to destroy human intelligence. Although poverty is receding now but the reason of poverty has not been removed'. Dr. Yunus said, 'So my advice to the capitalists is that you want to make profit, make it. But allow us to do social business. With zero poverty and zero unemployment we can save the world from the impending danger'.

I have quoted Dr. Yunus extensively so that I can discuss the real motive of this speech. He is now touring the world and canvassing for his social business theory. He put all the blame on technology and avoided the question of who are behind this misuse of technological power. He did not attack the patron and owners of this technology- the global capitalism and wants to  allow them to continue make more profit by the help of technology and reduce manpower dangerously, thus destroying  human intelligence gradually. Technology was invented to aid mankind, to have a more comfortable life and to reduce their torturous physical labour. But the Capitalists grabbed this technology to replace man by machine, to reduce their cost of production and to make unbelievable profit.

This hunger for profit is the main reason for the present dangerous situation in the world. Scientists discovered atomic power for the welfare and prosperity of the world. But now the power is used for destruction of the world by the capitalist powers. It was the primitive man who discovered fire to make their life easy and be protected from nature's enmity. They did not discover it to destroy other people's homes by using it. Now Capitalists are using this fire power for destructive purposes. For that we cannot blame fire. All these discoveries from fire to atomic energy and the advancement of technology is associated with the advancement of human civilization. But it is men who are hungry for immense profit that capture these devices and try to use them against human existence. It is not technology which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was done by America, the leader of global capitalism by using atomic bombs.

We have witnessed the same thing after the industrial revolution of the 17th and 18th century. That revolution liberated people from hunger and slavery. The slave trade of Africans was stopped because the industry did not need huge manpower anymore since machines were doing their job and those machines or industry were owned by the Capitalists. They took advantage to reduce the labour force to make their profit sky high. That's why Karl Marx said that he wanted to establish a socialist society not by destroying the means of production (machine) but by establishing ownership of workers on that means of production, which would mean the abolition of capitalism.

Capitalism cannot be abolished but its drastic reform is necessary. But some apologists for capitalism still want to save this system of exploitation by trying to blame the scientific advancements but not their present owners. The present information age depending on advanced technology has made human life and intelligence richer. We can't halt that advancement by blaming technology, but mankind should take its advantage and use it to create a peaceful and prosperous world. Man has invented this process and if they have complete control on this system then machines will not dictate human life no matter their strength, rather they would become the demon of fairy tale who obey their human master. For achieving that human beings would need to be the master of technology, not a handful of capitalists who are ruling the world in a very dangerous  way.

Dr. Yunus' theory of social business which through creating social capital can prevent the dangerous use of technology and make people self-dependent without any employment is a utopian idea. In the fight between Capitalism and Socialism this idea of creating a balance between the two by creating a social capital will only serve the purpose of capitalism and not remove the root cause of poverty. Did Dr. Yunus' Grameen Bank programme or microcredit theory prove to be any success?

London, Thursday 5 July, 2018