Among climate change, poverty, terrorism and technology, which one holds the gravest threat to humanity? Thinkers the world over are concerned about these issues threatening the very survival of life on earth. Terrorism has captured the attention of the world because it affects humanity as does climate change without sovereign boundaries.
What is terrorism? The benumbed world is trying to define it. The latest incidents of terror attack in Bangladesh and France have shaken the civilized world once again. They don’t know what exactly to say. Words of condemnation are not going to stop it. Use all the words available in all the dictionaries in all the world languages and yet terrorism will not stop. It can stop only if jehad is declared unlawful. Has any government done so? Has the UNO done so?
In medieval times, jehads succeeded because of massacres, arson, burning of standing crops, rapes, brutal killings of children and elderly. It created panic in society and frightened the innocent public. The policy was contained in these crucial words: dahashat, wadahwasi and khauf (terror, panic and fear). This was exactly what the ISIS is practicing now. It delivered them victory in the past. But it has failed then now. How and why?
The answer lies in a force greater than barbarianism of the past in the barbarianism of the modern age. It is Technology. Technology has delivered superior power to man to deter the medieval barbarism relied upon by forces of evil like the ISIS. Had technology not empowered the Baghdadis of our times, there would have neither been an ISIS nor the mayhem it has created. There would have been local armed conflicts involving small territories and people with small number of casualties. But technology has replaced swords with sophisticated weapons and terrorism has come to pose the grave threat the world has not witnessed. It is not as if the terrorist attacks have yielded the highest number of casualties. Only their cause is medieval and the modern world does not approve of it. Otherwise, the devastation caused by technology in the last few centuries has surpassed the sum total of all forms of destruction including loss of human lives in the last 5000 years !
It was empowerment brought about by technology that led to two world wars causing deaths of millions. It is again due to technology that the world is confronted with the duress of climate change. It is technology that poses the greatest threat to humanity today. Atomic energy was an exceptional achievement of modern technology, but threatens to wipe out the human race altogether. AI or artificial intelligence is likely to make man redundant. Robots will fight terrorists and eliminate them. Human beings will be tailor made. In a nutshell, the frame of man will be changed completely by technology. The institutional architecture has already undergone drastic change. Everything from the institution of marriage to nation has been reformed to adhere to the technological architecture. Even the individual is parts and no more the whole. Technology has taken us over. We are technology regulated. The final frontier holds out the promise (threat indeed) to finish us forever. Man in space, colonization of space, colonies of the technologically empowered will change the way we live. The greatest threat thus, is technology and nothing else. Man will be the cause of his own destruction.