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Come, Witness the Paradigm Shift - TEDxMNNIT

 23rd Mar 2017    13:36    Team 


The only way that we can live is, if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. Thus, it is obvious why the history of the world is a history of change. But, not all changes in the history are the same. Sometimes, an earth-shattering change occurs pursued closely by a leap into a future of immenseness. These changes that become landmarks in history are called Paradigm Shifts.

Into the Paradigm
A Paradigm can be defined as, “a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community, which forms a particular vision of reality and a collective mood that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself.”

To put simply, paradigm means an intellectual perception or view, accepted by an individual or a society as a clear model, or pattern or how things work in the world. It constitutes a bent of mind, where all thinking and innovation occurs in a mould created by the present philosophies and ideas. When confined to a paradigm, technological developments would be basically an improvement over the previous iterations. This is because the fundamental principles governing the developments remain unaltered and similar assumptions are made in all applications.

In Kuhn's view, the American science theorist and historian who coined the term ‘paradigm shift’, paradigm is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications which come with it. 


Paradigm Shift
According to Kuhn, every paradigm has anomalies or exceptions, which are generally ignored as acceptable levels of error. When many significant anomalies have accumulated against a paradigm, a paradigm shift sets in motion.

Going for the example from The Field Paradigm, if paradigm were a pair of glasses, “sometimes we discover that our glasses are the wrong ones, and we get a new pair of glasses. This is called a paradigm shift.”

The term is defined as, “a change from one way of thinking to another with a profound and irreversible change to a different model of behavior or perception.” It was first coined by American scientific philosopher and physicist Thomas Kuhn, in his book Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1970. His view of paradigm shift mainly concerned with scientific fields and the phrase used to signify a scientific revolution.

In the words of a common man, paradigm shift is, giving up the pre-existing practices and jumping over to the new, self-created ways of doing the same. Paradigm Shift is a change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. The agents of change can be either environmental or economic and sometimes catastrophic factors.

The most profound paradigm shift in the computing industry can be aptly demonstrated by quoting The US-Magazine Popular Mechanics, 1949:“ The Computer of the future will maybe still weigh 1.5 tons.“ After almost six decades we all know, what the reality looks like.

Is Paradigm Shift limited to Technology?
Paradigm Shift can occur in any field which has basic laws governing the developments in the field. For instance, management theory has seen some paradigm shifts over the last century, since its inception. Starting with Taylorism, the theories have transitioned to Human Relations and Employee relations, as the focus of the approach shifts to leadership from conventional management. More recent paradigms of management include Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), where corporations involve in societal and community development as a gesture of gratitude to the society.

So, Paradigm Shift is a rare thing?
Not so rare, not at least today. Futurist Kurzweil argues that paradigm shifts are occurring at a faster rate than before and the rate will keep on increasing as technological progress advances. According to his law of accelerating returns, which is based on Moore’s law, as technology continues to pervade all walks of life, the paradigm shifts in technology affects the entire system at large, and perpetrate large-scale changes. He asserts that paradigm shifts would become increasingly frequent and common as time progresses.

Paradigm Shifts mark those turning points in history that determine the survival of humans as a species. Historical paradigm shifts which culminated as agricultural revolution, and industrial revolution had profound effects on the planet as a whole. As we step into the future, these shifts are occurring ever more rapidly. This makes keeping track of these increasingly difficult and all the more important.

Keep an eye out for the next Paradigm Shift. Who knows, how fortunate one could get!?
Come, Witness the 'Paradigm Shift' at TEDxMNNIT 2017.