Is digital technology making our lives better? When we, the students of Techno India Group, received an open call for participation in a debate a few days before the event, as young people living in a world of rapid digitalisation, the motion resonated with us all.
The debate was being organised by the Techno India Group and Techno India University, West Bengal, to celebrate National Youth Day, involving students across multiple educational institutions under the group. The event aimed at providing a platform to the voices of youths and a safe space for expression. As the person chosen to moderate the debate, I had the opportunity of watching the participants as they prepared for the occasion and listening to them as they presented their views.
After a round of selection, the students met their peers from other institutions for a brief practice session, mentored and groomed by teachers Rupa Mukherjee and Debarati Chakraborty.
The participants were asked to form two teams of four. After a day of rigorous preparation, it was finally the time for the event.
The team speaking for the motion featured Abhinandan Majhi from Techno India Group Public School Ariadaha, Kushal Guha and Abhiroop Basak from Techno Main Salt Lake and Sreshtha Basu Roy Chowdhury from Techno India University, West Bengal. The team speaking against the motion had Pranay Mukherjee from Techno India Group Public School Garia, Sayoni Ghosh and Hanshika Tibrewal from Techno India University, West Bengal and Surosree Paul from Techno Main Salt Lake.
The event was inaugurated by Prof. Rina Paladhi, director of Techno India University, West Bengal, who warmly greeted the participants with words of encouragement.
Abhinandan, the first speaker for the motion, started by claiming that if one's business was out of the internet, it was akin to being out of business. He touched upon how digital technology has benefited students and entrepreneurs among others.The next speaker, Pranay, speaking against the motion pointed out how technology is robbing us of our privacy. Kushal shared a personal experience. He narrated how he once lost his wallet while travelling. It was digital technology that allowed him to pay his cab fare online and reach a police station to lodge an FIR, only to realise that he could have submitted the same online. Suroshee criticised digitalisation for its contribution to income inequality.
The debate continued to highlight the pros and cons of digital technology. Participants, who were arguing against the motion, pointed out how addiction to social media has increased the chances of depression among the youth while the other team clarified how digitalisation has created a platform for discussion of such issues. The participants arguing for the motion pointed out how digitalisation has revolutionised communication, how people with disabilities interact with the world, and how it has made healthcare-related information more accessible than ever.
The other team pointed out how digitalisation has presented a plethora of problems including anxiety, eyestrain and a reduction in the brain's capacity to retain. The impact digitalisation has had in revolutionising art for the better as well as how it has resulted in people mindlessly scrolling through a sea of nothing were also discussed.After all, the participants had spoken and gone through a rebuttal round, their views made it very clear that digital technology has been changing the world. It has been changing our lifestyle and the way we interact with the world and let the world interact with us. However, if it was for the better or worse, was yet to be decided. The spirited debate with talented speakers on both the teams made the judgment a very difficult one. But finally, it was passed in favour of the team speaking for the motion.
Abhishikta Chakraborty First year, BA, LLB