Posted in Technology

Climate Change and ICT: Interconnections and Solutions

“It is now clear to most observers that ICTs have a very important role to play here. Recognition of this at the international level will provide countries with a solid argument to roll out climate change strategies with a strong ICT element.”

Hamadoun Toure, ITU Secretary-General (2011)[1]

Numerous documents, policy papers, and research symposiums have called for the need for recognition of the value of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in monitoring deforestation, crop patterns, and other related matters that call for environmental concern. Answering with common prudence, with Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) having penetrated so deep into our day to day personal as well as professional lives, it is highly unlikely that it wouldn’t pose a solution to the climate change issue, alongside a number of possible threats.

If the whole climate change solution regime were to be divided into two broad segments for the convenience of intellectual discourses, the first one would be preventive measures, and the second segment would be measures towards mitigation and adaptation. ICTs play a significant role in both the segments, starting from creating awareness aimed towards preventing environmental degradation to mitigating and adapting using remote sensing and telecommunication systems.

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APPLICATION OF ICTs TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can in many ways be used to fight, prevent, and defend climate change as well as its effects. Following subheadings attempt at exploring some of the ways in which ICTs can be proved helpful in doing so.

Transformational innovation

Information Technology can help us a great deal in enabling transformational innovation. In a contextual note, the IoT (Internet of Things) will help us transform our lives, social and economic, in ways as dramatic as the Internet did over the past two decades. The development of the Internet of Things and related technologies mean almost limitless possibilities for incorporating smart and eco-friendlier technologies into human lives that could not have been imagined a few years ago.

Innovations like smart cities, smart households, and smart transportation, inter alia, will help the human beings to raise their standard of living in the social set up while minimizing their footprint on the planet Earth and its climatic setting. Smarter technologies and equipment will mean a proportionate increase in the effectiveness of resource consumption, meaning less and less resource will have to be consumed to sustain more and more number of lives.

Smarter urban planning using ICTs

Smarter urban planning using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) goes a long way in ensuring energy efficiencies in the planned urban societies. A few recent projects feature this as their primary focus and are working on reducing the impact of climate change by applying information technologies and measures for improving energy efficiency in urban planning.[2]

Adaptation using information dissemination technologies

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide users with a large range of options to collect, process, and disseminate information at any point of time. More importantly, they also provide us with the option to easily broadcast any sort of information to a selected audience irrespective of the nature and volume of the information. This feature of ICTs helps us a great deal in disseminating information to large audiences, for example via mobile phones. This can help governments and other relevant stakeholders address major adaptation risks such as food and water shortages through the making of provisions for early warning systems and related facilities.

Capacity Building

Capacity Building is basically a UN terminology that essentially means access to information and increasing knowledge among policymakers and the general population. In the context of telecommunication networks, capacity building has the contextual meaning of expansion of telecommunication networks to serve a greater number of populations.

Greater access to information by the general population essentially implies increasing potential for dissemination of weather-related information through mobile phone networks. Increased dissemination of weather-related information amongst the general masses will not only help the building of community awareness regarding the growing impacts of climate change but also will make sure a more effective warning and adaptation system.

Asset management for Water Distribution Networks

Monitoring, controlling, and managing water distribution networks form a large part of the climate change adaptation system. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can make this job easier by helping with buried asset identification and electronic tagging. It can also help with the instalment of smart pipes which will ensure the efficient use of water resource. It’ll also help a lot in just in time repairs and real-time risk assessment.

Smart transport systems

Transport represents 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. However, leave alone human development, even human existence cannot be imagined without transport. Information technology comes to rescue over here, by providing for smart transport. ICTs provide us with ways to easily implement alternative ways of powering vehicles, such as with electricity. Smart transport also makes efficient use of routes and traffic data that is available through satellites, to make transport a less burdensome activity.

Awareness and education

This century has been officially proclaimed as the information era, and the role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play in spreading awareness amongst the general public cannot be ignored. ICTs do an awesome job in spreading awareness and educating the mass. This feature of the ICTs can be very well utilised to spread awareness among the general population regarding the drastic effects of climate change, and also educate the masses regarding mitigation and adaptation strategies.

NEED FOR UPDATING THE LEGAL REGIME

While the ICTs without a single strand of doubt can perform wonders in monitoring, preventing, and fighting climate change and its effects, they have often proved to be birds without wings in the absence of an equally strong legal framework. An accompanying strong legal framework will not only help protect the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the relevant data and information but also help in the effective administration of such systems.

Confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the relevant data and information must be protected without any exceptions whatsoever so as to successfully prevent climate change and fight the consequences thereof. A strong legal framework can go a long way in ensuring the same.

CONCLUSION

Accompanied by a strong legal framework, and adequate policy support, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) hold immense potential in preventing, monitoring, and fighting climate change successfully. Recognising this at the national and international level will go a long way in framing technologically-efficient climate control strategies with a strong ICT element therein. Lobby and policy support at local levels to include ICTs in climate control strategies will also be immensely helpful.

[1] In a symposium, organized by the UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and hosted by Ghana’s ministry of Communications in Accra in July 2011.

[2] Energy and Buildings, Volume 115, 1 March 2016, Pages 102-111


Note: This post first appeared here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ANSHUMAN SAHOO

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‘Passionate!’ That’s the only word he uses to describe himself. Questioning assumptions. Challenging hypocrisies. Making the planet a better place to live in. Can be found at www.anshumansahoo.com.

Posted in IP Law, Technology

Use of Blockchain in Branding

While we talk about using blockchain in the context of the protection of transactions, the term itself has acquired the distinctive status of being associated with cryptocurrencies, especially with Bitcoin. However, it is important to shift the focus from an area where the law of the land does not allow the use of blockchain to an area where the technology can be utilised effectively.

What is Blockchain?

The blockchain technology was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (an anonymous person) for use as a public transaction ledger for Bitcoin, allowing users to make and receive payments without the involvement of a central bank or other financial institution.[1] Blockchain can be defined as “a shared database or digital ledger that automatically updates information across an entire network, without the need for a central intermediary”.[2] However, the definition is not completely self-explanatory.

The blockchain technology comprises a cluster of blocks which are used for recording entries. When a person enters a transaction in the system, the computers spread across the globe, known as “nodes”, perform the task of verifying the transaction, and once the transaction is verified, it is entered into a block and the same is linked with the blocks before and after this particular transaction. The blocks form a publicly (depending on the members to be using the ledger) accessible ledger which will get synchronised via the Internet every 10 minutes (on a standard basis).

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Use of Blockchain in Protecting Brands

The blockchain technology started off and has since been associated with the concept of Bitcoin. However, as time has passed, it has found its uses not only in the workings of the large companies, but also in the general election that took place in Sierra Leone last year. With such diverse uses, it is not a surprise that the technology will find its place in the protection of IP as well.

So, how is protection of IP through blockchain going to be effective? As we have already discussed, the blockchain technology is a synchronised ledger of transactions, which can record transaction entries from any field of the world. Moreover, each transaction entry is separately verified by nodes at different parts of the world. This feature ensures that the block entries are not only transparent, but also immutable, and almost unhackable. And this is the very characteristic of blockchain technology that every IP owner is looking to exploit.

Thus, there are two fields in which blockchain can provide protection for IP owners and users, i.e. supply chain and the monitoring of the intellectual property. And this makes the lives of brand owners a little easier.

1. Supply Chain

A supply chain refers to the chain of persons (natural and juridical) that a product passes through to reach the ultimate consumer. This chain is very important from the perspective that the genuine product that leaves the premises of the manufacturer also reaches the final consumer. Not only is this requirement important for the consumers who want to receive genuine products, but it is also important for the brand owners who do not want their brand to get diluted due to loss of reputation.

It is, thus, very important to bring about transparency in the supply chain, and blockchain can bring about more transparency to supply chains by providing information about the origin of the goods and by empowering governments to effectively request reliable data related to even the most distant supplier.[3] What makes the technology even better is that the data cannot be altered or destroyed once it is entered, and therefore, the genuineness of the supply chain will not be called into question.

The technology can also simplify the process of labeling, and one may soon be able to verify if the label on one’s new jacket, stating it was made in a particular country, is accurate,[4] merely by verifying the chain of transactions through which the jacket has passed.

2. Monitoring of Brands

Blockchain has the potential to enhance IP protection for the brand owners, since the branded goods can be easily tracked through the blockchain technology. Thus, their authenticity will be easily verifiable by the brand owners, the retailers and the consumers, reducing counterfeiting of branded products and fraud on consumers. Further, the brand owners, the sellers and the users of the products will be able to keep track of them even when the products are sold in a second-hand market or through discount-sellers.

Conclusion

Although blockchain is yet to be tested and verified in the field of IP, the use of this technology can revolutionise the measures of protection and enforcement in IP law by making it easier to monitor the genuineness of the branded products in any part of the world.

[1] Jeffrey H. Greene and Anne Marie Longobucco, What Can Blockchain Technology Do For The Fashion Industry?, Mondaq (July 11, 2018, 11 P.M.), http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/694170/Trademark/What+Can+Blockchain+Technology+Do+for+the+Fashion+Industry

[2] Id.

[3]  Losing to Win, The Economist (July 11, 2018, 11:30 P.M.), http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2014/06/bitcoin.

[4] Anna Radke and Olivera Medenica, Blockchain and the Fashion Industry, Fashion Industry Law Blog (July 11, 2018, 10 P.M.) http://www.fashionindustrylawblog.com/blog/2016/12/15/blockchains-and-the-fashion-industry


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shreetama Ghosh

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Shreetama Ghosh is a fourth-year law student at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab. A typical Bengali at heart, she is a creative mind-hiker in the land of knowledge, and enjoys living in the world of alphabets and punctuations. She has been a part of several editorial boards since school, and being a Grammar Nazi has helped in the selection process. Other than writing, movies, travelling and cuisines fascinate her as much as the ever-changing fashion does. It is, thus, her passion to blog, whether about a breaking news, a movie she hopes everyone gets to watch, the quietest place on earth, or even the homely taste of authentic Bengali cuisine.

Posted in Technology

From Manpower to Artificial Intelligence

The artificial intelligence is in the mouth of every corporate sector and becoming an integral part of our society. Many of them find artificial intelligence quite alarming and recent topic to be taken into consideration. Philosophers have noted that the evolution of artificial intelligence has suppressed the man labour and leads towards the extension of human power at the hands of robots. Many companies feel that there are various things which a man cannot perform, but robots can. Therefore, they have more potential to work more hard in terms of a human. So, many companies and technical departments have recently adapted this formula of replacing manpower from that of robots. They think that it will increase their production capacity of the company which in turn increased the turnover of the same.

In simple terms, artificial intelligence can be understood as the technology which requires technological process of behaving, reacting and performing the similar characteristics as of human beings. As per John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1956 defines Artificial intelligence as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” [1]. Bellman defines it as “the automation of activities that we associate with human thinking, activities such as decision-making, problem-solving, learning. [2]But emerging of artificial intelligence (robots) will reduce the value of man power which in turn creates unemployment in the society. 

Artificial intelligence and law

Artificial intelligence and law, both walk on the same road, parallel towards each other. They both are complementary to each other. A deep thought needs to be given to analyze this process. Firstly, the law evolved and followed a tradition of its rising method. Secondly, there are various data that needs to be stored in one place so that it could be easily accessible to the one who is in need. Thirdly, the quick accessibility will save the time of both, the court and the parties. Nowadays, in this digitalized society, lawyers are also in need of technology to preserve their legal documents. As artificial intelligence put up its set to the legal domain, the research of various case laws and troublesome cases are found easily. It removes the burden of the court master to keep all the checks of paper within the courtroom.

But artificial intelligence has its pros and cons both. Indi is getting digitalized, so the legal system is. But purely dependent upon the technology will never suffice the strength of manpower. A robot can do various works in the capacity of a human being but there is a huge difference between a robot and a human being. The just have the energy to work but not the emotions to be understood. We live in a society and have to adapt things which are pro-society and not anti-society. Therefore, replacing of humans from computers and robots is yet to be adopted in teal life for our legal system.

In India, there is no specific law or regulation that mention about the artificial intelligence. As India is developing with other countries, is adopting the new technique of artificial intelligence in the technical department.  Scientists are discovering to use this technology in a fuller amount.  Artificial Intelligence Association of India (AIAI) found in the year 2009. It is a nonprofit scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of mechanisms underlying the thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines.  [3]

Another robotic centre is situated by the name of, “centre for artificial intelligence and robotics (CAIR). CAIR is a laboratory of Defense Research & Development Organization, situated in Bangalore and Karnataka. CAIR was established in the year 1986 for the development of artificial intelligence in our country. The main focus was one the areas of artificial intelligence and developing the same.

CAIR has also developed the Network Traffic Analysis Software (NETRA) having the capability to analyze the internet traffic through the source of specified filters. Nowadays, this software has been used by various agencies at state level, RAW, IB, etc and is piloted by Ministry of Home Affairs The Centre for Internet and Society. India is not lagging behind in terms of adopting new technologies of artificial intelligence. Therefore, the scientists must focus on the need of the country and the society in which we live in, and implanted the same, accordingly.

Conclusion

From Google search engine to Siri, everything thing is turning towards the path of artificially intelligent, Artificial integrity is the machine made intelligence which will react or behave, according to our need. This kind of intelligence is taking place whole over the world, suppressing the man power and his ability to work. Manpower is drained by the robots and computer-based system in various technical and non-technical departments. For India, it is taking place and eventually in sometimes, it will.  By adapting this kind of technologies, statistics must be aware of boon and bane, before utilizing it.

[1] https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/artificial_intelligence.htm

[2] Bellman, R. E., An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence: Can Computers Think?, Boyd and Fraser Publishing Company, San Francisco, USA, 1978, quoted by Stuart J Russell and Peter Norvig, in Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, p.5

[3] aiai.org.in



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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SAKSHI JAIN

Sakshi Jain is currently pursuing her BLS LLB from Government Law College, Mumbai. Although she’s keen to gain knowledge and explore things going around her, her priority always stays focused on law only. Although she yearns for a career in the corporate sector, she’s quite confident regarding her capability to endure in other fields also. A passionate law student and a natural reader, she wants to complete her master degree from Harvard, Oxford, or London University.