As India, a society with radically different economic and cultural background from North America, encounters the computer age, we explore the ways its responses are similar or different. We focus on four specific areas. First, we examine how India’s intellectual property laws on copyright protection and software patents respond to the computer age. Second, we look at outsourcing of IT business from the West as an economic opportunity for India as a developing country. Outsourcing builds on India’s strong educational system and English language ability, and brings wealth to the country. Third, we explore the effect of gender and class in India’s use of computer technology. In particular, the extensive poverty poses a much sharper ethical issue of technology access than in western nations. For example, the Simputer is a newly developed low-cost computing device designed to meet the needs of India’s poor. Fourth and finally, we conclude with a look at how computing and the internet link India and the Indian diaspora in Silicon Valley. This includes the links of communication, like email and culture-specific online communities. It also includes the links of migration between the two areas, as Indians come to Silicon Valley for economic opportunity, and return to India as the computer industry grows there. We also survey the Indian cultural and philosophical tradition which forms the background to these issues.

Jim DeLaHunt      William Lu     Marina Sirota

CS201 Final Project

Here is a link to our presentation in PDF Format

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