Seminar Series

Society, Technology, and Geopolitics

Speaker: Dr Samir Saran 

Date: 31/08/2023 

Venue: New Seminar Hall, GIPE

Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics organised a special seminar as a part of its Seminar Series on August 31st, 2023. The speaker Dr Samir Saran, President of the Observer Research Foundation was the special guest for the session. The event was chaired by Dr Ajit Ranade, Vice Chancellor of Gokhale Institute.

Dr Ajit Ranade, in his opening remarks, briefly addressed the concept of the Chinese firewall and its significant impact on Western tech companies. He also touched upon the potential emergence of a “Cold War 2.0” between Sinospheric and Non-Sinospheric nations, driven by fundamental differences in technology, trade, defence, and security policies.

Dr Samir Saran, in his introductory address, spoke on the concept of nation states and whether they will survive in a growing digital era. He emphasised the importance of a nation, by characterising it as a “single-most important unit” of a rules-based world order. Along with it he said that nations are formed by the people who reside in them. Dr Saran also raised the question of whether this world order could face disruption in the near future. He said that Big Tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, and Apple exercise a monopoly over the lives of people all across the globe. The said firms interfere in the choices and agencies of people who employ them. In the context of India, he highlighted concerns about the extrajudicial functioning of these tech giants, who often remain unaccountable to Indian institutions established by the law of the land.

Adding to his point, he said that tech companies are not limited by borders. Rather they transcend national borders and deliver information at lightning speeds to people who live on opposite sides of the globe. He called this phenomenon “Despecialization of Time” or the death of time which is the consequential characteristic of technological advancement.