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Digitization and Data Dependency across the Globe

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-3

Why in news?

  • In recent times gleaning insights from vast arrays of data will be a key business differentiator in the coming decades.
  • But there is a huge gap in reliability of such source when compared with cognitive decision making by mankind.

How is digitization working across the globe?

  • Due to digitisation most of the processes like social network platforms, adoption of hand-held digital devices, wearable devices has been rapidly increased.
  • According to IBM, the world’s population collectively generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
  • Anything and everything “smart,” from smart homes to smart grids, means greater data volumes at exponentially accelerating speeds.

How is data being used to run business?

  • There is a growing belief that gleaning insights from vast arrays of data will be a key business differentiator in the coming decades, and can lead to better decision-making.
  • Thus promoting growth and popularity of business analytics, and demand for data scientists.
  • Now, more than ever, managers are asked to know how to tease insight from data to understand where they come from, make sense of the numbers, and use those findings to inform their toughest decisions.
  • Undoubtedly, increased availability of data (so called ‘big data’ ultimately) can work as raw material for business intelligence.

What are the challenges that come with depending on Data?

  • Datafication is an information technology-driven sense-making process, while in organisational literature, sense-making refers to processes of organising using the technology of language.
  • This creates a gap because technology-driven sense-making in itself is not enough, although those engaged in data analytics seem to strongly believe it is.
  • The algorithms that clean data at the point of capture, find patterns, trends and relationships in its volume, velocity and variety are closed in their nature.
  • Fact of the matter is so much data come from so many sources that ambiguity, inconsistency and contradictions abound.
  • This evolution of the model illustrates it is a mistake to think of a model used mechanically to develop strategies as “free of human judgment”.

What is the reality of data dependency?

  • In reality, torrents of data, reams of analysis, and piles of documents can be more distracting than enlightening.
  • No analytical tool can do more than augment or complement what is a cognitive and sometimes social process.
  • Investments in analytics can be useless, even harmful, unless employees can incorporate that data into complex decision-making.
  • Also, numbers cannot nail every nuance of a decision, thus generating insight is an inherently human trait and strategy is a way of thinking, not a procedural exercise or a set of frameworks.
  • Therefore, leaders need to ensure that their processes and human capabilities keep pace with the computing fire-power and information they import.
  • To overcome the insight deficit, Big Data no matter how comprehensive or well analysed needs to be complemented by big judgment.

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Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict

 

Relevancy

  • GS Mains Paper-2, International Relations

What happened recently?

  • Resolution of the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict brings hope for stability and development in the region.
  • But there are credible political challenges in both the countries that need to be sorted out to further the peace initiative.

Why the conflict?

  • Eritrea was a region in Ethiopia that seceded from it in 1993 after a prolonged violent guerrilla war.
  • Both have since been independent countries that lie in close proximity to the Red Sea in the Horn of Africa.
  • They were engaged in a conflict for territorial control over the economically insignificant border town of Badme since the late 1990s.
  • A peace agreement signed by the two countries in December 2000 and a subsequent border commission awarded Badme to Eritrea.
  • But Ethiopia refused to honour the pact and continued to exercise control over Badme by treating it as part of its own territory.
  • This resulted in a prolonged standoff between the two countries for almost 2 decades and claimed more than 50,000 lives.

What is the political situation in Ethiopia?

  • The decision to honour the terms of the peace accord is credited to Ethiopia’s current popularly elected Prime Minister “Abiy Ahmed”.
  • The Eritrean outreach is one of the many democratic reforms that Mr. Ahmed has unleashed since assuming office a few months ago.
  • Significantly, he lifted the emergency, released many political prisoners, and delisted some opposition parties that were classified as terrorists.

What are the Challenges?

  • Nonetheless, rumblings in the ruling “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” is posing problems to the government.
  • Traditional tensions between the country’s ethnic Oromo majority and the politically dominant Tigrayan minority are playing out as always.
  • Notably, Mr. Ahmed (who is an Oromo) was strategically chosen to ease the churn and ensure a better political balance in the country.
  • Unless managed tactfully, these internal tensions within the governing coalition could impede the peace process.

What is the political situation in Eritrea?

  • Eritrea is ruled by an autocratic president Isaias Afwerki, who rose from the country’s secessionist guerrilla war with the Ethiopia.
  • He has been at the helm since independence by resisting elections and even failed to even honour the 1997 constitution.
  • Notably, Ethiopian aggression also provided strong grounds for Eritrean masses to fall in line with the dictates of its dictatorial ruler.
  • Isaias used the conflict as a pretext to expand his army and suppress dissent with force, thereby triggering a socio-political crisis.
  • This led to mass exodus of people from Eritrea, who has sought refuge in Europe and other countries.

What does the future look like?

  • The end of hostilities in Eritrea could mean a diminishing role for the military and a loosening of President Afwerki’s grip over the state apparatus.
  • This could open up a Pandora’s Box in Eritrea and the resulting power struggle needs to be managed well to avoid a violent conflict.

What is the way ahead?

  • Restoration of peace and democracy is an urgent priority in both countries, which are among the poorest in the world.
  • Peace will allow landlocked Ethiopia to access Eritrean ports, and tie the two countries into greater economic cooperation.
  • Greater political accountability at home is a prerequisite for stability across the borders, which demands both sides to display better political wisdom.
  • The international community must also step up to engage Ethiopia and Eritrea on fairer terms than it has during the course of the bitter conflict.
  • Notably, Ethiopia and Eritrea are strategically located, both as gateways for global trade and for counter-terrorism operations.

 

 

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