Can Muslims Use the Comdex Computer Conference to Upgrade their Systems?
Islam Online-Washington, DC
Las Vegas, Nevada-Comdex is hosting its most recent major computer conference to date from November 17th to the 21st. Thousands of people will be attending this conference either as representatives of their respective companies or as consumers. Being that computer technology has grown with the globalization of the world, conferences like this that display the most recent technology can no longer be considered only regional events. Attending conferences like the Comdex conference brings about awareness to people that affects the whole world. Therefore, attending Comdex in Las Vegas, Nevada shows the American people as well as those traveling from abroad to attend this conference exhibits and new technology that will soon be dispersed around the globe.
The conference opened up with a keynote lecture by Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates on Sunday although the actual conference didn't get underway until the 17th. The lecture itself apparently had a strong impact on the audience during a time that Microsoft and Gates are under close scrutiny. Throughout the week, other keynote lectures will feature Eckhard Pfeiffer, president and CEO of Compaq Computer Corp. on Tuesday; John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems on Wednesday; Dr. Eric Schmidt, Novell chairman and CEO on Thursday, with the conference closing on Friday.
Along with the keynote lectures, many different companies will be featuring their latest technology on the conference floor. Among those having exhibits are CompuServe, Kodak, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, Konica, Microsoft, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Vivitar, and Xerox. A complete list of attendees can be seen at:
The Muslim Perspective
One important question to ask is how this conference affects Muslims? In order to gauge this, Islam Online has conducted interviews with several different Muslim organizations that are related to the computer field. For the most part, the results of this interview were mixed. Of the organizations that were interviewed, most of them had no idea about this conference. However, they also came up with several positive thoughts on ways to improve conferences like this for Muslims.
All of the participants in the interview felt that attending a conference like this would be beneficial. However, a major problem was that of awareness and the availability of manpower to actually attend this conference on the part of the different organizations. ISL Software representative Firhana Shah said, "We didn't attend this particular conference because we didn't know about it and due to a lack of manpower." However, Sr. Firhana said that the people who design their software attend conferences like this, so it isn't as if no one from their organization really goes. Also, Nuttin' To It Computer Training representative Farooq Al-Farooq stated, "We're in the computer training business, so going there might not be as beneficial for us as it might be for people who are in the software or information technology related fields."
Br. Farooq believed that it was good for people to attend this conference and see the new technology that the various vendors are displaying. However, he felt that, "Most people that I've talked to that go to conferences like this don't actually buy the new technology until it has been on the market for about 6 months to a year. This is due to the bugs that the various programs and technologies have in them that need to be worked out."
As far as using this conference to enhance the Muslims skills and companies that are related to computers and/or technology, the best answer seems to be the utilization of conferences like this to get ideas and develop our own technology. Also, Br. Farooq mentioned that Muslims should use this conference, "As a means for all Muslim companies and organizations to come together to meet, network and see what ideas are out there." This idea seems as if it is one that would unify Muslim companies that are computer related and perhaps bring about mergers between them in order to strengthen the substance of the products that they put out for the public. There are so many Muslims that are extremely talented in this area that are either not tapping into their talents or working for someone else. It is time that we put together out strengths and work together to produce bigger and better products for the public that they could use for their computer needs on all levels.
One thing is certain, that Muslims need to be more balanced and active in their attendance of conferences like this one. Allah has given us talents, and coupled with the teachings of Islam, there is no reason that we shouldn't be more at the center of development and distribution of programs and technologies that are not only useful, but also healthy for all people to use.