Predictions horribly go wrong

News Bharati    06-Jan-2020 13:57:54 PM   
Total Views |

wro_1  H x W: 0

There are many futurists - analysts, spokespersons, poll pundits and media houses, particularly in India - who attempt to predict how future events and developments will shape future prospects of individuals, communities, societies, nations and regions and their interplay on each other.

Futurists claim that around 85% of their predictions come true. Also, many among them opine that predictions reflect “explicit, reasoned, self-aware opinions” that “should lessen the chance of surprise and provide a sounder basis for long-range decision-making.” In contrast, some others believe that predictions may be taken with a pinch of salt.

Inevitably, majority of them go horribly wrong in India, particularly in politics. The reason is simple – “Even one week is too long a time in Indian politics” is the common euphemism invoked to highlight bizarre changes that take place.

Not only the “Aya Rams, Gaya Rams” phenomena is no longer an exception; but an accepted norm in today’s vicious politics. Political representatives change their loyalties to parties if they do not get coveted ministerial berths.

Even political parties abandon pre-poll alliances and forge post poll alliances like what has happened recently in Maharashtra sans convergence of ideologies.

For the sake of somehow grabbing and retaining power, political leaders and parties, without exception, can stoop to lowest levels of treachery and intrigue sans ethics, morals and values.

All one can predict in the emerging Indian environment with certainty is that political rivals will be at each other throats and indulge in condemning each other invoking ‘no-holds barred’ means and ways through lies, fake and fabricated news through the craze and maize of internet and social media networks.

In reality today, vicious politics are being played sans constructive and creative ideas and ideologies mostly on disruptive and destructive course based on chaotic policies of “Divide and Rule”.

Consequently, peace will become the victim. For sure, 2020 will be a year of waves of major manufactured protests even on minor issues. Protest and counter protests over CAA, NPR and NCR will continue.

Political instability will be its fallout. Also, political paralysis may be likely prospect. “Good Governance”, rather “Effective Governance”, so vital to promote and consolidate unity for national integration, growth and development will be adversely affected.

On possible elections outcomes, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Admi Party may retain power in the forthcoming elections for the State Assembly elections but certainly not win with the roller-coaster majority that they got in 1995 elections.

At the same time, it is too premature to predict on the outcome of Bihar elections scheduled in the later-half of the year.

On the external security threat fronts, there is unlikely to be any major escalation on the Sino-Indian border. Neither country can ill afford to escalate the situation into a full scale war. However, minor transgressions in disputed areas may take place, but the situation defused through flag meetings or Summits.

Strategic confrontation with Pakistan will continue as hither to fore what with trans-border terror strikes sponsored and perpetrated by state and non-state actors.

On the internal security threat concerns of the NE, early settlement of long pending Naga peace talks – a thorny issue – may remain a contentious issue. The Naga rebels headed by Muivah will not retract from their demand of merger of Tangkhul areas in Manipur.

Furthermore, the State of Assam may remain politically disturbed due to Bodo and the Bengali immigrant problems in the Southern districts.

And, there will be no let-up in the sporadic strikes by the left extremists under overt urban ideologues guidance.

Next, unless the Supreme Court passes the verdict in the Review Petitions on Ram Mandir issue, the foundation laying ceremony will be held as early as possible. Furthermore, the Sabarimala controversy over the entry of women will remain a contentious issue.

On the economic front, the GDP growth rate, despite all reforms, may remain below 6%. For it is not so easy to recover from the low of 4.5% despite financial reforms and mega infrastructure schemes in pipe line. And, it depends also on the vagaries of weather during 2020. For agricultural incomes of the rural sector boosts consumption that holds the key to consumption. Unemployment will remain a major problem.

On the Technology front, the ISRO has announced plans of “Gaganyaan” and “Chandrayaan-3”. That apart, hardly there is focus on the “Second Wave of IT – Artificial Intelligence”. Even the advanced technology infusion in agriculture remains a Piped dream as of now.

Finally, the armed forces modernization to include re-organization of structures based on “Theatre Command Concept” and abandonment of British inherited redundant logistics structures meant underdeveloped colony’s offers tremendous scope what with the CDS appointed to head the Department of Military Affairs. Its materialization depends on political will which is an opportunity for the current regime.

Be that as it may, the findings of RAND Corporation 1964 in the past are quite illuminating. It conducted a long-term forecasting report, putting questions to 82 experts in various fields and the earliest year they thought each could be achievable - to come up with a number of predictions for our times.

To provide a balanced perspective about predictions let me broadly recall the findings of the RAND Corporation that included: 1980 - Robots as household servants, and Manned landing on Mars; 1995 - Human lives artificially extended by 50 years and Automated voting; 1998 - Directly recording information to the brain; 1999 - A military force on the moon; 2000 - Two-way communication with extra-terrestrials; 2015 - Long-duration coma to allow a form of time travel; and by 2020 - Breeding of apes and other animals for menial work.

Elon University noted in 2006, futurists and technology experts predicted robots and artificial intelligence of various sorts will become an accepted part of daily life by the year 2020 and will almost completely take over physical work.

In reality, the robot revolution is delayed or yet to take off in India. As per MIT Technology Review, there are a lot of robots, and they suggest anything from a moderate displacement of jobs to total workforce automation, with varying degrees of alarm.

As per RAND Report, had they been right, space tourism would have become a reality today. So also, humans would be communicating with extra-terrestrials and time-traveling by now. Most, important, human lives would be extended by half a century. And, Robot’s would have been doing household work and jobs in industry should have been done by Robot’s thereby

In retrospect, history is littered with predictions and future projections. Many of these are given with supreme confidence, before they fade conveniently into insignificance what with the pace of rapid technological advancements. Be that as it may, some trends of the past decade were predicted with remarkable accuracy many years ago.

To sum up, with the ongoing political fracas making forecasts and predictions is a Himalayan challenge. India, today, is like a ship without rudder caught in the midst of a tempest on high seas. How it will emerge will depend on the people’s political sagacity to choose political stability. Otherwise, India will further sink into unfathomable abyss of chaos and anarchy.

Brig. G B Reddy (Retd)

G B Reddy, former Brigadier has seen frontline battles in India-China War in 1962, India-Pakistan War in 1965, and India-Pakistan War in 1971 (Liberation of Bangladesh). He has served in various insurgency areas to include Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and West Bengal at the height of Naxal problem; Punjab, J & K and IPKF in Sri Lanka.

Author of seven books and numerous articles covering national security strategy, international, national and local political and social developments, he participated in international and national seminars whilst serving as Consultant/Senior Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Rural Development, Hyderabad. He also served in Corporate Assignments of Vice-President, Kitply Industries and C.E.O, Hilton Tobacco Ltd.

He is a Graduate of National Defense College, New Delhi, Command and Staff College in Canada, Long and Senior Defense Management Programs at College of Defense Management in Hyderabad. He has served on the faculties of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, College of Combat, and Infantry School, Mhow.

He was awarded Ati Vishist Seva Medal for Distinguished Service of an Exceptional Order in Nagaland 1986. Menitoned-in-Despatches for gallantry in 1971 war. Chief of Army Staff Commendation Medal in 1977 for exceptional contribution for faculty development.

Seven books published: 1) Rising Dragon – China’s Holistic Security Strategic Perspective; 2) Nation in Crisis – Dimensions of National Security and Terrorism; 3) In Search of National Values - Withering Democracy, Secularism and Socialism; 4) India’s Nuclear Dilemmas; 5) Fight Against Corruption and Leadership Decay; 6) Democracy in Peril; and, 7) Cost Effective Rural Housing Technologies.