The NDTV & TCS Nobel Solutions Summit held in New Delhi had Nobel Laureates from across the globe to debate, discuss and deliberate on the major challenges facing India and the world today.
The interactive panel discussions held at the Summit attempted to find answers from some of the greatest minds alive on topics such as- Whether the internet is both democratic and dangerous; The importance of scientific and medical research’ and With increasing global polarization are we heading towards more internal violence and a major global conflict?
The list of panelists included Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize, 2011, is a Liberian peace activist, social worker, and women's rights advocate. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her pivotal role in ending the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003;Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a structural biologist, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2009 with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath for their studies of the structure and function of the ribosome; Kailash Satyarthi received the Nobel Peace Prize, 2014, jointly with Malala Yousafzai, for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education; Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize in Economics, 1998, an Indian economist and philosopher who received the Nobel for his contributions to welfare economics; Arthur McDonald, Nobel Prize in Physics, 2015, Professor Emeritus at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and David Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 jointly with John Hume for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.
Key highlights from the session:
On Internet, need to shut down the noise', Trimble said,“ If anyone could workout where Internet would be in next few years, they will make a fortune.”
On the issue, Ramakrishnan said, “People need to figure out a trusted mean for information, shut down the noise.”
Mc Donald further added, “Technical aspects are going to be enormous. The data revolution is the next thing that internet is going to bring to us.”
Sen said, "If the problems become clearer than they are, we have to pay attention. Nothing happens automatically.”
• 'Science is central to development'
• "You have lost 90 per cent of the potential particularly women scientists. Ultimately science which is central to development and requires more than just institutions," Sen said.
• . "What science really needs is an attitude of mind, courage, confidence. At the same time science is a part of education. Foundations are laid at the school level. It is important that you don't get tripped off on the way like in Mahabharat where one by one they keep falling off. If you fall off, you won't be able to do science," he added.
• Health is a right and not just the privilege of the rich'
o “Public health is state's responsibility. Health is a right and not just the privilege of the rich. If you work better you will generate more wealth," said Ramakrishnan.
o "Two-tier pricing shouldn't be put in the basket. It should be in front.
Its a great idea especially for poor people," said Gbowee.
Western companies follow sale prospects
"If drug companies of the West don't see high sale prospects somewhere, they don't go there," said Gbowee.
"It's high time African Union thinks of how to start research here, instead of waiting for Western, Asian markets," she added.
'Internet also helps trolls, terrorists'
"The Internet helps all kinds of crackpots like trolls, terrorists come together, propagating dangerous and anti-social behaviour and then governments have had to clamp down on the flow of internet and censorship and privacy," said Ramakrishnan.
On Free Basics and Net Neutrality
"I think that it is important that there is access to internet. The primary reason to do this is economic. The service provider comes later," said Trimble.
Danger of totalitarianism'
"If governments are clamping on Internet, danger of government becoming more totalitarian. Totalitarian state can clamp down on information. There is a danger that democracy will also want to exercise more control," said Ramakrishnan.
"Mobs existed before internet but now mob rule can express much more quickly because of social media," he added.
'Indian Science Congress too large and unwieldy'
"Indian Science Congress is I believe a private association but it gets a lot of money from government. It is a well intentioned organization but very large and unwieldy. It is not easy to interact, it is too diffused, too large. That's what I meant it's a circus," said Ramakrishnan.