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The word Innovation can have many meanings, depending on how and where you use it. But many people tend to confuse Innovation with other words such as Invention. Now Invention is more of a thought that comes to your mind, something like an idea that might have not occurred to anyone before. Innovation, on the other hand, is the process that brings the idea in your head out into motion and creates the Invention. Innovation is the actual difference, the substantial change that you bring to the world by transforming simple thoughts into revolutionary break-through developments. I have myself been guilty of misusing the word Innovation in the past and that has brought about many problems for me. I have always been fond of being different and have always thought of numerous ideas to go about a particular business in my own way. I have held vision through out but I have never been able to bring the ideas in my head out on to the table. I never processed my ideas in a way that could transform them into something very distinct and ground-breaking. The reason for my failure was my failure to better understand Innovation. Now that I have done some kind of a research on Innovation, I have actually come to realize its actual magnitude. In fact, I have grown such fond of Innovation that I now read articles on the subject and try to find what sparked the change behind the ingenious advancements that now stand as landmarks of the modern era. As long as innovators, pioneers and revolutionaries keep on bringing positive changes through Innovation, the world will definitely be a better place to live in.
After watching the documentary about the Great Robot Race, I felt a very weird and wonderful feeling inside me. I’m not much into technology and therefore I was totally caught off guard after watching the movie. It had never occurred to me, that a technological advancement of such immense enormity could actually take place. I had often seen remote controlled robotic vehicles being raced but the concept of unmanned vehicles contesting in a race was something inconceivable. Technology has certainly advanced but that is not what made these vehicles so extraordinary. The fact that each one of the winning teams had used different tools and devices to guide their vehicles to victory was truly remarkable.
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If I was a policy maker what would I do? Well whatever I do would certainly require some great thinking to bring about an event of such high caliber. Pakistan is a country that has always greatly contributed to technology and has been producing engineers of all sorts. Our scientists and engineers have always played a pivotal role in the advancement of technology around the world. As for the advancement of technology in Pakistan is concerned, it is very limited and mostly takes place under the Armed Forces. Therefore, the major issues that I as a policy maker would face are the brain drain of Pakistani talent, limitations in technological research and financial constraints.
Now in my view, ten years is a big time and I have reasons to believe that this goal can be achieved much earlier. The brain drain of talent is an issue but it can be countered by bringing in engineering students from various Pakistani universities, just like the ones from Stanford and Carnegie Melon. I don’t know whether people are aware of it or not, but our engineers are no different from the ones from Carnegie Melon or MIT. My cousin completed his engineering degree in Mechtronics from NUST and he invited me to visit their project displays. At that moment in time I felt as if this was not Pakistan. Students had made amazing robots and the most astonishing one was a robotic arm that stood out from the crowd. The robotic arm was not something new to the world as it is already being manufactured, but the difference was that instead of using brain signals to make the arm move they attached a chip to the head of the handicapped person. The costs of the project were much lesser but the signs are very encouraging. If engineers from telecom, software, electrical, mechanical and other fields are made to work in a team, then we certainly have the skill to make Pakistan’s first unmanned vehicle.
Now I will address the issue of the limited advancements in technology. As I have earlier mentioned that most of our technological research is done by the Armed Forces, therefore as the policy-maker I will work hard to gain their support. I had recently read an article in which it was mentioned that the Pakistan Armed Forces are making their own, Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). These UAV’s are unpiloted aircrafts that can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously based on complex dynamic automation systems. Isn’t that just great, our military is already into making unmanned vehicles and this I another reason why I strongly believe that I can achieve my goal of carrying out the event in much less than ten years. I also strongly believe that the event held in USA would never have been the same without the support of DARPA. So I’m well on course to organizing Pakistan’s first Unmanned Vehicle Race but there is still one last issue that has to be addressed.
DARPA has an annual budget of $3.2 billion, which is substantially larger than the research budget for technology in Pakistan. But I have a way around this problem as well. I will lobby as much as my capacity allows me to make it compulsory for leading car manufacturers in Pakistan to actively participate and contribute to this event by bringing their own teams. I don’t think this will be much of an issue for the manufacturers as I see them competing in this event in the future just like they have competed each other for market share. Furthermore, I would also lobby to increase Pakistan’s research budget with not just the benefits of this event in mind but the benefit of the country as a whole. If institutions such as FAST and GIK can crop up with the help of generous funding in the name of technology, than I have strong belief that I can start up a fund for this event in particular. I will after all be a policy maker and I will use all the influence I have to approach people who are willing to generously donate to the cause of scientific research. I have faith in my fellow countrymen and I am quite certain that with the help of the above mentioned explanations, I will be able to hold an event of the same caliber and technology as the one in USA. Many people might not to agree with my ways of going about these changes but as I have already mentioned……. I like being different.