Monday, April 8, 2013

केन, कंप्‍यूटर और आनेवाली दुनिया..

“When I was born in 1950, no one had a home computer. The average computer then was about the size of your living room. This was one reason people didn’t buy them: they weren’t inclined to live outdoors to accommodate a largely useless device. A second reason was the cost. Computers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only government departments and some companies had computers. In 1950 the transistor was invented. In 1970, the silicon chip was developed. These innovations not only reduced the size of computers, they vastly increased their speed and power. The standard memory capacity has increased exponentially since then, from a few hundred kilobytes to several gigabytes.
If you have an iPhone, it probably has more computing power than was available on earth in 1940. Many children’s toys have more computing power than 1960s mainframes. In 1960, Jerome Bruner and George Miller founded the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies; the first institute dedicated to cognitive science. The Institute was well funded and purchased the first computer used in America for psychological experimentation: a PDP4 minicomputer. It cost $65,000 in 1962 and came with 2K of memory, upgradable to 64K.2 The average digital wristwatch has appreciably more power and memory than the 1969 Apollo Moonlander: the space vehicle from which Neil Armstrong took his small step for man and his giant leap for mankind.
It is now estimated that something in the order of 1017 microchips are being manufactured every year; a number, I’m told, that’s roughly equivalent to the world population of ants. I repeat it here in the confident knowledge that it can’t be checked or contradicted. This extraordinary rate of production mirrors the vast range of applications for which computers are now used. The pace of expansion in computer technology over the past 70 years has been breathtaking. Here’s a rough chronology:

• 1937–42 First electronic digital computer, created at Iowa State University.
• 1951 First commercially produced computer, The Ferranti Mark 1 sells nine between 1951 and 1957.
• 1965 First phone link set up between two computers.
• 1972 First email program created.
• 1974 The term ‘Internet’ first used.
• 1975 The Altair personal computer spawns home-computing culture.
• 1976 Steve Wozniak builds the Apple I with Steve Jobs.
• 1981 IBM enters the home-computing market and sells 136,000 in first 18 months.
• 1983 Microsoft Word launched. • 1984 1000 Internet hosts.
• 1989 100,000 Internet hosts.
• 1990 Microchips are invented in Japan that can store 520,000 characters on a sliver of silicon 15 mm by 5 mm. • 1992 Internet hosts exceed 1 million.
• 1997 Internet hosts rise from 16 million to 20 million by July. registered as a domain name.
• 2002 The first social networking site Friendster launches in USA.
• 2003 Skype VOIP telephony is launched in Sweden based on software designed by Estonian developers.
• 2004 The term Web 2.0 is devised to describe an increase in user-generated web content.
• 2006 Twitter is launched. • 2007 Google surpasses Microsoft as the most valuable and most visited online brand.
• 2010 Global number of Internet users nearly 2 billion. (World population approaching 7 billion.) Asia makes up 40 percent of users. The Middle East, Africa and South America are the fastest growing sectors.

The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive communication system ever devised. It grows daily, like a vast, multiplying organism; millions of connections are being added at an ever-faster rate in patterns that resemble dendritic groupings or ganglia in the brain. Just like the brain, the synapses that fire most often have the most robust response.Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil points out that the evolution of biological life and of technology have followed the same pattern. They both take a long time to get going but advances build on one another and progress erupts at an increasingly furious pace: “During the 19th century, the pace of technological progress was equal to that of the ten centuries that came before it. Advancement in the first two decades of the 20th century matched that of the entire nineteenth century. Today significant technological transformations take just a few years; … Computing technology is experiencing the same exponential growth.”
Gordon Moore was a co-founder of Intel in the mid-1960s. He estimated that the density of transistors on integrated circuit boards was doubling every twelve months and that computers were periodically doubling both in capacity and in speed per unit cost. In the mid-1970s Moore revised his estimate to about 24 months. It’s anticipated that Moore’s Law will have run its course around 2020. By then transistors may be just a few atoms in width. The power of computers will continue to grow exponentially, but in different forms. If the technology of motorcars had developed at the same rate, the average family car would be very different by now. It could travel at six times the speed of sound, be capable of about 1000 miles per gallon and would cost you about one dollar to buy. I imagine you’d get one. You’d just have to be careful with the accelerator.
The rate of technological innovation in the past 50 years has been breathtaking. But the indications are that the revolution may only just be getting underway. In the next 50 years we may see changes that are as unimaginable to us now as the iPad would have been to John Shakespeare. One of the portals into this radical future is nanotechnology.”

(केन रॉबिनसन की 2001 की एक किताब है, उसी से उद्धृत, यह एक उनका टेड लेक्‍चर का लिंक है..)

Friday, April 5, 2013

पपीते के पेड़ पर कौवा..

(कौवा, मेरी नहीं, मार्था वर्थी की, कलमकारी है) 
वर्माजी के नये बन रहे मकान की भव्‍य चिरकुट छत्रछाया. लंच की छुट्टी में मजदूर रोटी टूंग रहे थे. अल्‍लम-बल्‍लम के ढेर से लगे साइकिल के नजदीक दायें-बायें होता श्रीप्रकाश विचारलीन था कि बनवारी के ठेले पर जाकर वह भी दो समोसे दाब ले, या आज फिर लंच को लंगी लगाये. तिन्‍नी तभी दिखी. साठ के दशक की ढेरों हिन्‍दी कहानियों में जैसे नायिकाएं दिखती रही होंगी. गुलज़ार की पहली फ़ि‍ल्‍म ‘मेरे अपने’ में जैसे साइकिल के रॉड पर पैर तिरछे अड़ाये, बीच सड़क रौब पेलने की कोशिश कर रहे विनोद खन्‍ना को औचक करती रिक्‍शे से गुज़रती योगिता बाली दिखती है.
रिक्‍शे से उतरकर, परम्‍पराबद्ध अन्‍य नायिकाओं की तरह, तिन्‍नी मंदिर की सीढ़ि‍यां चढ़ सकती थी. मंदिर की जगह, मन की सीढ़ि‍यों को पैरों से चांपती, श्रीप्रकाश की ओर खिंची आई. घबराकर श्रीप्रकाश ने साइकिल की हैंडिल से हटाकर हाथों को पैंट की जेब में छिपा लिया. सूखते कंठ में जीभ घुमाकर तेजी से खुद को सुस्थिर करने की कोशिश की. मगर अब पिंडलियां कांप रही थीं. छाती पर मानो किसी ने एकदम से बर्फ़ की सिल्‍ली रख दी हो. भागकर तिन्‍नी को छाती में भर लेने की इच्‍छा हुई. लगा एकदम से ऐसा नहीं किया तो उसके भीतर कोई बम फूट जाएगा और उसके चिथड़े उड़कर हवा में लहराते फिरेंगे. मगर श्रीप्रकाश ने ऐसा कुछ नहीं किया, जो करना था वह तिन्‍नी ही कर रही थी, श्रीप्रकाश पालतू कुत्‍ते की तरह बिना कूं-कूं किये और बिना दुम हिलाये अपनी जगह चुपचाप, गेंदे के मुरझाये पौधे-सा, खड़ा रहा.
तिन्‍नी पूरे तीन वर्षों बाद दिखी थी. और कैसी भरी-पूरी अमीर दिख रही थी? ज़रा-सा हाथ बढ़ाकर श्रीप्रकाश उसकी साड़ी छू सकता था, उसके गाल.. मगर श्रीप्रकाश के हाथ फिलहाल उसके साथ नहीं, उसके जेबों में बंद थे, और उनमें 440 वॉल्‍ट की बिजलियां दौड़ रही थीं.
- तुम यहां?
तिन्‍नी ने पूछा था.
हां, मैं यहां. वर्माजी के नये बन रहे मकान की सुपरवाइजरी के चिरकुट मड़ैये के नीचे छिपा. खींच-खांचके बी. कॉम पास करके और एक इलैक्‍ट्रि‍कल के बेमतलब के डिप्‍लोमा के साथ और कहां होता?
मगर यह सब कुछ कहने की जगह श्रीप्रकाश के मुंह से निकला, मंदिरा, तुम खुश हो?
- एक बेटी हुई है.
बेटी हुई है यानी? स्‍त्री स्‍थानांतरित इस नये प्रेम में स्‍वयं की व्‍याख्‍या करती है? प्रेम के पहचाने संसार से पार की यह कोई नई जगह है? श्रीप्रकाश अपने प्रेम की किस संदर्भ में व्‍याख्‍या करे?
पपीते के पेड़ पर आकर बैठे एक कौवे की कांव-कांव से प्रेमीयुग्‍म की तंद्रा टूटी. कांव-कांव की ककर्शता ने थोड़ी देर के लिए श्रीप्रकाश की बदहाली, सारी व्‍याख्‍याकांक्षाओं को बेमानी कर दिया.