Sunday, November 13, 2005
One more alarmist article about how the U.S. might be losing its "competitive edge" in "innovation" -- worries ranging from how science is not emphasized enough in grade school to how Singapore and China grant more PhDs in science and engineering than the US.
I just don't get it. Why is it bad for the U.S. if the rest of the world makes significant advances in science and technology? On the contrary, I believe it is good for everyone, especially the U.S. As newer and newer innovations take place, they often tend to become interdependent -- a giant example is how personal computing, wireless communications, and the Internet are coming together in ways we might not have seen a decade ago. When these interdependencies grow, there will be significant opportunities for the U.S. both in terms of business deals and in terms of scientific exchange.
A case in point: India. While I was growing up as a teenager in India, there was much concern within India about "brain drain" -- about how a large number of the top students from Indian institutions routinely left for higher studies in the U.S., and how it was going to undermine India's investment in science and technology education. This notion seems almost silly today. A good deal of India's "modern economy" is built around the computing services sector, thanks in large part to being tuned in to the advances in computer science elsewhere (primarily the U.S.).
I hope the alarmists will shed their paranoia and instead celebrate the fact that more and more of the world is joining the culture of innovation and advanced science and technology. It just might be good for all of us.