Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How Science and Technology can be a double edged sword

Science is a double edged sword. Science and technology opens up a wonderful world of opportunities to humanity. However the knowledge should be used wisely. Not only we require good scientific brains, who can do research, find new things about nature and use the knowledge to build gadgets and devices. We also require leaders with compassionate and sensitive hearts as well. 

Science and Technology has been used to make our lives better. However there is one negative side to it as well. The same knowledge that makes machinery and other sources of energy can be used to create massively powerful destructive weapons. 

The pre historic man, who lived in the caves used to fight with other tribes with his bare hands or used stones. As he started developing weapons - bow and arrows, swords, spears etc came into existence, which were more lethal. Once civilization came into existence countries started maintaining armies. They would attack each other from time to time to expand their borders. 

Then the technology of guns and cannons came into existence which made wars more destructive. Far greater number of people started dying in wars than earlier. However human greed for power knew no borders, the technology to build more powerful weapons kept improving. Wright Brothers invented the plane for humans to travel in air, however the same planes were used in the first world war to throw bombs on different countries. 

The First world War(1914-1918) created great scale of destruction and devastation. However at the end of the first world war, the Treaty of Versailles sowed the seeds of the second world war. It is because of the First World War that dictators like Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy came to power. 

The twenty year gap between the two world wars was just used to to upgrade weapons technology and prepare for the next war. The Second World War(1938-1945) was even more destructive. Millions of people lost their lives. The scale of devastation that happened in the Second World War was never seen before by humanity. Directly and indirectly over 80 million people lost their lives in the Second World War. 

The Second World War ended with US dropping the most powerful weapon mankind had built till then. USA bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with two nuclear bombs named 'Little Boy' and 'Fatman' respectively. Never before in the history of mankind has such a powerful weapon been used. We thought the existence of such weapons were limited to the pages of mythology, but now we actually saw one being used. 

Little Boy Killed all 20,000 Japanese soldiers along with 50,000 other civilians. Around 70,000 more civilians were badly injured. At that time, the city of Hiroshima just had a population of only 330,000 people. Now consider this facts 'Little Boy' was a highly inefficient nuclear bomb. It carried 64 kg of Uranium but  around 1.7% of the Uranium contributed to the energy produced. 

The energy released was around 16 kilotons of TNT. This was 71 years ago, after that USA, Russia, China, France, UK, India and Pakistan have done nuclear tests of weapons that released far greater amounts of energy. The most powerful nuclear weapon was tested by Russia, 'The Tzar Bomba', the energy released by it was 50,000 kilotons of TNT  or in other words the bomb had the power of over 3125 atom bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima. 

While energy from fission and fusion promises to be great source of energy for humanity, if used in war nuclear energy will surely be the cause of end of humanity. We will be extinct, in the same way as dinosaurs became extinct from earth. 

Even after the second world war there was a race between capitalism and socialism, between democracy and communism. USA and USSR were competitors of each other. While USA was a democracy and a cradle of capitalism. USSR followed communism and socialism.

A situation of Cold War prevailed between the two countries. The two nations were developing their nuclear arsenals very fast. There were times when the two nations came close to being at war. The war itself would have devastated the world. 

Although the threat of Cold War veered off with the partition of USSR into Russia and other nations. The effects of animosity between the two superpowers of the world are felt even now.

When Russia invaded Afghanistan, USA supported Taliban. Taliban - Al Qaeda became a big terrorist organisation, that did terrorist attacks across the world including the 9/11 attacks on the New York, World Trade Center.

Taliban had actually seized power form the hands of the ruling government in Afghanistan and ruled Afghanistan for many years, they were a bunch of religious extremists who enforced strict medieval laws in the country. Women were forced to wear burkha, men had to keep a beard. Public killings were common in Afghanistan. 

After 9/11 USA attacked Afghanistan in search of Osama Bin Laden, they were able to liberate Afghanistan from Taliban's regime however even now terrorist attacks are very common in that country done by followers of Taliban. Afghanistan was once a very liberal Muslim nation, it is now one of the most backward and poor nation in the world. 

After the Korean War, Korea spilt into two parts - North Korea and South Korea. South Korea sided with democratic US. While North Korea went with communist Russia and China. In the 1950s, USSR trained North Korean nuclear scientists.

The result, North Korea, in spite of being the poorest nation in the world has managed to build nuclear weapons and has done around 4 nuclear tests since 2006. North Korea has been ruled by dictators. The North Korean public has no access to amenities that modern world enjoys. They don't have electricity, they don't have television, they don't have Internet. 

The are brainwashed into thinking that their leader is god and anything their leader says should be followed. The North Korean government has isolated its people from the rest of the world. If anyone does not do what their government orders, the person is killed. 

Not only this, North Korea has access the long range intercontinental ballistic missiles, which it has probably got from China. Nuclear weapons in the hands of such a crazy leader is a threat to entire humanity. 

One simply hopes that countries around the world work to neutralize the threat generated by these evil forces, so that humanity uses Science and Technology in a positive way. Knowledge should be used to make human lives better and happier not for war and destruction. 

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