KUALA LUMPUR: There must be a radical change in values and cultures if the people are to see a new world order enhanced by the advances of the digital age or a digital age benefiting from a new world order, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said the world still believed in killing people to solve problems and scientists were busy developing newer and more efficient ways of killing people.
He said currently the world was facing a financial and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions partly as a result of the abuse of the knowledge of the digital age and unless governments restored their power to rule, the digital age would bring frequent disasters to the world.
“Actually, the present-day human civilisations are quite unable to cope even with the technological advances which we have already achieved.
“In envisioning the new world order, I wish I can be optimistic. Unfortunately I cannot. We are really still a primitive people. Certainly our superior knowledge of science and technology today has not created for us a world order worthy of the human race, a world order of peace and prosperity,” he said at an international forum in South Korea.
Dr Mahathir was speaking on “Envisioning a new world order and its implications on the digital age” at the Seoul Digital Forum on Thursday. His speech was made available here yesterday.
In outlining the implication of the digital age on the new world order itself, Dr Mahathir said that the rich and the powerful would be able to make greater use of the knowledge of the digital age because money would be needed to do research in the applications of the digital age knowledge.
“Digitisation has enabled greater precision to be achieved in every product or application. Thus it is possible for satellites to be located in a pre-designated location in outer space and for a shuttle to dock with it even as the earth from where the shuttle-bearing rocket is fired moves in space.” Dr Mahathir said that cameras were now carried by satellites and with the ability to take clear pictures from satellites, there would be no privacy for anyone.
“The data collected on any person can be incriminating. The government or the agency which collects these data will be in a position to blackmail,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the digital age would mature, whatever the shapes of the new world order because this new age had been able to resist pressures from the politically or militarily powerful. However, the digital age was going to see an even more lopsided development and greater disparity between rich and poor.
The former premier said that like it or not, the ethnic Europeans must accept that if there was to be a new world order, the emergence of the new powers in Asia must be given due consideration. Ideally the world would like to see a smooth devolution into a new world order without need for confrontation and violence.
“From what I think is the present situation and the trends, we can envision a world that is slightly less Eurocentric but with European influence moderated somewhat by the emergence of powerful economies, and therefore military clout in Asia,” he said. — Bernama