Advancements of Technology & Human Wellbeing

WHEN: January 11, 2018, 4 - 7 pm
WHAT: The Nehru Chair Visiting Professors’ program of Maharaja Sayajirao University is instituted with the main purpose to enable senior scholars to engage in a conscious dialogue between students, technologist, industry experts and civil society. On 11th January 2018, Nipun Mehta the founder of ServiceSpace is invited to lead a panel discussion by thinkers from diverse disciplines and perspectives on the need to think about progress in terms of “human well-being” as a way to assess technology advances.

The 21st century offers a dizzying array of new technological developments that are reshaping our habits, practices, institutions, cultures and environments in increasingly rapid, complex and unpredictable ways. Robots smart enough to take white collar jobs, social media tools that manage our most important relationships, and biomedical techniques with the potential to transform and enhance human minds and bodies to an unprecedented degree.  

Such potential prompts us to cultivate a conscious discourse on technology and human well-being. In this context Dalai Lama invites us to explore “what are the ethics for a new millennium?” Embracing the good and guarding against unintended consequences of any advances requires evoking a shared sense of consciousness, which can be achieved incrementally as the implications are understood, which requires frequent open debates.

What to expect: This panel is intended to hold a conscious dialogue and hold questions like - Should we be concerned and act to set directions or allow it to take its own course? How will we decide norms of the next era, as we face unprecedented ethical dilemmas ranging from self-driving algorithms to Barbie dolls that archive conversations with your child to researchers who are performing gene modifications? Most people have an intrinsic desire to do good, yet all humans fail in perplexing ways to do good. While doctors take the Hippocratic oath, what is its equivalent for Silicon Valley engineers, entrepreneurs and Wall Street money managers? Is it possible to create systems that are tilted in the direction of greater generosity, inner transformation and compassion? 

Panelists Bios

Nipun Mehta: At the age of 25, Nipun Mehta quit his job to become a "full-time volunteer." He is the founder of ServiceSpace, an all volunteer-run organization using technology to inspire greater volunteerism. What started as an experiment with friends is now a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members who have delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Their projects include DailyGoodKarmaTubeKindSpring and KarmaKitchen -- and has garnered Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion award and more recently, President Obama's appointment on a council to address poverty and inequality. Around the globe, Nipun has inspired many with stories of giftivism and his walking pilgrimage in India, while sharing uncommon insights on generosity, multiple forms of capital, an intersection of technology and love, and making virtue viral. Ultimately, his mission statement reads: "My life is an attempt to bring smiles in the world and silence in my heart." 

Dr Usha Vasthare is the Co-founder of YogaKshema Rehabilitation & Wellness Center in 2007. She is a Neuroscientist, teacher, writer, and social worker. Her interest is in bringing the latest research in the field of Neuroscience & Evolutionary biology to the doorsteps of common people and to bring Science & Spirituality together for Holistic Living. Her Ph.D thesis was nominated for President’s award. She was a faculty at Temple University School of Medicine for 17 years. Pennsylvania Hospital honoured her with Service Excellence Award for her work in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder. Dr. Usha has contributed to 5 books which were used as part of CME (Continuing Medical Education) course. She has presented papers in many international conferences and has been interviewed on several TV channels in India and radio channels in India and USA. She is involved in extensive service projects both in India and USA for over 10 years and is associated with several organisations and institutes.At YogaKshema she has conducted several workshops on Mind Training, Mindful Living, Healthy Living, Overcoming Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs), Forgiveness, Improving interpersonal relationships, Depression, Stress Management and various other topics. 

K. Thyagrajan Iyer is one of the Founding Team Members of the International Centre of Entrepreneurship and Technology which is a Public-Private initiative with the Government of Gujarat. He is on the Board of Directors of iCreate and is actively engaged in shaping the Centre and participates intimately in the grooming and mentoring of aspiring next-generation entrepreneurs. He is currently mentoring start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs in diverse areas of technology. Mr. Thyagrajan has a professional career journey of over 35 years that has traversed across a variety of fields; hard-core engineering (involving design-manufacturing-project management), management consulting, mentoring and propagating next-generation entrepreneurship, and academic teaching in diverse areas of technology, business management and entrepreneurship, and advisory in policymaking. He is a Mechanical Engineer by education, with a PGD in Business and Industrial Management. He has been a prolific writer, poet, and dramatist in English, Hindi, and Gujarati.

Maulik C. Mehta, a Chartered Accountant & a Cost Accountant by qualification, is the Director and Chief Executive of Infinity Consultants Limited, an avid quizzer and a film producer.  He is also a director on the board of several other limited companies in his professional capacity. His areas of specialization include Strategy Formulation, and Mergers & Acquisitions, among others. Over the last decade, he has successfully worked with SMEs in various sectors and helped them achieve quantum growth in a limited time span. He has been a special invitee to the managing committee of the Baroda Management Association for several years, a founder member of the Exim Club, Baroda and a member of the IT Forum, Baroda. He has also served as the chairman of the Central Gujarat Zonal Council of Confederation of Indian Industry.      

Dr Nayan Swadia, MS, Gold Medalist, is a famous practising surgeon and runs Swadia Surgical Hospital in Vadodara.  He established Swadia Institute of Minimally Invasive Techniques (SIMIT) in November 2008. He was an Asst. Professor in Surgery at SSG Hospital during 1977- 83. He has worked with famous doctors in the US and has published 16 papers in various national and international medical journals. He is also actively involved in many medical, social, educational and environmental associations. He is well travelled, well read and has the fine sensitivity to serve in the most invisible ways. 


Dr Madhu Mehta
, a graduate of MSU (1963), got his masters and Ph. D from USA, worked with US industry, returned to India in 1973, and has been involved in pioneering efforts in computers and Telecom fields notably in software exports, and birth and growth of STD PCO. About a decade ago he turned from a player to coach to help build high tech entrepreneur ecosystem like NirmaLabs and more recently icreate. He is also known for his roles in setting up Doctor Engineers forum and Vadodara Innovation Council.

To join, please RSVP below with your email below and we'll send you the specific location details and other logistics as we get closer to the dates.  
WHERE:Dr. Mrunalini Devi Puar Auditorium, MS University
HOST:Jignasha Pandya

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