N.R.Narayana Murthy:Let technology point the way

08:56, April 19, 2010      

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Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, better known as N. R. Narayana Murthy, is an Indian industrialist, software engineer and the founder of Infosys Technologies, a global consulting and IT services company based in India. He is currently Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys. He was the CEO of the company for 21 years, from 1981 to 2002. After stepping down as CEO in 2002, he has broadened his scope of activities to social services as well as promoting India globally.

I am pleased and honored to extend my best wishes to the organizers of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 and to the citizens of Shanghai. You are the latest representatives of an event with deep historical significance. I firmly believe that the World Expo remains as relevant today as it was in 1851, when the first one was held in London, England. The Shanghai World Expo 2010 represents a wonderful opportunity for ordinary people from around the world to come together, interact, and exchange ideas relating to the theme“Better City, Better Life.”These ideas will help us to devise innovative solutions to the challenges facing the entire planet today, which is why I feel the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is an invaluable event. I have every confidence that you, the citizens of Shanghai, will be excellent hosts of a truly international, world-class event.

One of the primary ways I believe we can work to create a better city, a better life, and a better world for all of us is by using the power of technology. Technology has already revolutionized our lives by shrinking the world, and by changing the way we do business and communicate with each other. The last ten years have seen remarkable advancements in what technology can do. Now the time has come to use technological innovation to help create a greener, sustainable world, a world of increased globalization, where people and ideas can move freely across borders to create a better future for everyone.

Within our cities, there are many areas in which technology can be used to enhance the quality of life for residents while having a positive environmental impact. Some examples include: transportation, architecture, urban planning, water and sanitation, and recreation. If we start by using technology to make our cities greener around the world, the combined impact will be to create a greener world for us all.

As the number of car users has grown dramatically over the past decade, particularly in India and China, air pollution and smog have also increased. This not only increases the problems of climate change, but also has serious effects on people’s health, causing allergies and respiratory issues. Technology can help reduce this problem in a number of ways. First, if cities invest in creating safe, effective public transportation networks that run on green technology, more people may avoid driving. More eco-friendly cars must also be created, which have lower emissions, higher fuel efficiency, and use solar power, rechargeable batteries or biodiesel to run. This will result in better air quality for residents, a decline in health problems, fewer climate change problems, and a reduction in traffic jams as well.

As cities around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia continue to grow, steps must be taken to ensure that these building projects have a minimal environmental impact. New projects should be designed with sustainability in mind. Skyscrapers should come with rooftop gardens to help cut emissions and provide green spaces within the city. Buildings should take advantage of structural modifications to reduce the need for air conditioning and heating. Buildings can have facilities for rainwater harvesting, and should be built from sustainable, eco-friendly materials. These steps are especially important in the case of cities trying to position themselves to be centers of business and commerce–hotels, conference facilities, airports and more can all be built in a green manner. Technology can also help track the progress of building projects, creating accountability to the public and transparency on government projects, preventing corruption.

Cities must also find new ways to meet the growing demands on their infrastructure. Technology can be used to help with smart urban planning, determining where new roads and highways are needed, redesigning traffic flows, and allowing for citizen input on public development works. Technological innovation can also lead to the creation of cost-effective, durable housing, solving the problems of homelessness and eliminating the unsanitary and poor living conditions of slums across the world.“Green”parks can also be developed, which would bring not only crucial greenery to urban areas to help reduce carbon emissions, but could also provide water harvesting on a community-wide basis. Such parks can also host community gardens, allowing urban dwellers access to fresh fruits and vegetables while giving much needed space for citizens of all ages to play, gather, and enjoy themselves.

As the Earth’s population grows, the stress on our limited supply of fresh water is also growing. Left unaddressed, water scarcity has the potential to create conflicts, limit development, and cause suffering for millions around the world. We must use technology to create effective sanitation methods that adequately remove pollutants and infectious agents from our drinking water (according to the World Health Organization, water borne diseases currently account for some 1.8 million deaths around the world each year). Better and more widespread water harvesting technology must also be developed and utilized throughout cities in order to combat drought and water shortages.

New developments in technology can also help to make us smarter by helping to prevent crime and track criminals in a smarter, more efficient and effective manner. In our airports, train stations, ports, and public spaces, technology can play an important role in protecting us from the worldwide threat of terrorism. However, we must be careful to not allow ourselves to become afraid, to close our borders to those who wish only to have access to the best opportunities the world has to offer. Stronger border protection need not mean restrictive access to a country, and technology can help strike a balance between protection and the easy movement of people (and ideas) across borders. Such openness is crucial in a globalized world, particularly for countries wishing to position themselves as international business destinations of choice.

To generate the ideas and innovations that will bring about the use of technology to solve these problems, people from around the world must be able to meet, communicate, and their share ideas and experiences with each other to arrive at the best possible solutions. I have every hope that the Shanghai World Expo 2010 will allow such interactions to occur, to promote the concepts that will shape tomorrow’s world and help us address the problems that affect everyone. By working together to create better cities, we can create better lives and a better world for us all.

Source: Expo2010


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