Science and Technology hold the key to the progress and development of any nation. Technology plays a fundamental role in wealth creation, improvement of the quality of life, and real economic growth and transformation in any society. It is in recognition of the above that this section examines the concept of technology emphasizing the relationship between Science and technology, the key role of science and technology in societal Development as well as the role/importance of science and technology in National Development.
Technology simply put is a means of harnessing and exploiting our understanding of nature for our own benefit. It is an application of knowledge for practical purposes. It is used to improve human condition, natural environment or to carry out other socio-economic activities. It could also be defined or refers to all processes dealing with materials and their end products. One important attribute of technology is that it does not just happen; it is developed and learned whether in the form of manual skills or as an applied science.
It is the systematic application of collective human rationality to the solution of human problems through the assertion of control over nature; technology is the engine of growth.
Technology is the total and complete application of man's knowledge, skills, tools and materials. It is the use of scientific knowledge to develop and produce goods and services useful to man. It is practical problem-solving enterprise, which is propelled by scientific discovery or by societal needs. The components of technology that must be present for
Science and technology hold the key to the present and future development of any country for that matter. Technology plays a fundamental role in wealth creation, improvement of the quality of life and real economic growth and transformation in any society.
Technological advancement is unambiguously correlated with globalization. The information age has increased the rate of globalization like never before, as the rapid expansion of the Internet creates an irreversibly networked world. The adoption of technology by developing countries has had profound effects on their economies, such as reducing the national costs of production, establishing standards for quality, and allowing individuals to communication from a distance. Unfortunately, the current process remains one of adaptation, rather than innovation. In addition, the need for technologies appropriate to the capabilities of a developing country's poor has only recently been recognized. One major challenge to the diffusion of technology in low-income nations that persists is its uneven distribution and penetration within the country.
The rapid spread of technology fueled by the Internet has led to positive cultural changes in developing countries. Easier, faster communication has contributed to the rise of democracy, as well as the alleviation of poverty. Globalization can also increase cultural awareness and promote diversity. However, the diffusion of technology must be carefully controlled to prevent negative cultural consequences. Developing countries risk losing their cultural identities and assimilating themselves into an increasingly westernized world.
In order to participate in a high-tech marketplace, developing nations require individuals with technical expertise. Problems arise when nations attempt to make overly rapid advances in education, producing graduates without a satisfactory infrastructure to support the education system. Namely, families must be able to afford to send their children to school, educational institutions need resources such as current textbooks and electricity, and educated individuals require incentives to remain in their home nations.
Developed nations must moderate their influence and carefully orchestrate any interference in third-world development. Rapid changes in unstable environments and a lack of infrastructure will lead to destabilization and cause more problems than they solve.
Developing countries have experienced an unprecedented level of technological advancement in the past 15 years, propelled by increased foreign trade and investments in human capital. In fact, technological achievement in low- and middle-income nations has increased more rapidly than in high-income countries. Despite this impressive growth, a large gap still remains because the developing world is only in the stages of adopting pre-existing technologies, rather than actively pursuing new innovations (see figure below). In addition, although the diffusion of new technologies is quick between countries, they take much longer to disseminate within a nation. Overall, it will be especially important for governments to consider investing in modern technology to facilitate their country's inclusion in the global economy.
STRENGTHEN THE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION CAPACITY FOR LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Poverty seems to persist in areas even where the population has been identified as rational, efficient, entrepreneurial, technologically adaptive, creative, and value conscious. In an attempt to elucidate what otherwise appears to be a paradox, Ernst F. Schumacher has introduced the concept of inappropriate technologies.
This idea suggests that technology must be tailored to the unique situations present in the countries to which it is brought. How the technology is distributed and used strongly depends on the skills and consumption needs of the country's people, and especially the poor, since they constitute the majority of the population in low-income nations. Appropriate technologies account for the capabilities of the underprivileged in relation to the country's economic status and are thus highly responsive to their needs.
The following describes the status of some simple technologies that have been identified as appropriate for the country.
Efficient stoves for urban areas: national program ongoing
Solar water heating: technology available but slow market
Biofuel: currently no national program or policy
Agricultural technologies and transport
Rice threshing and winnowing: few machines available and locally produced
Maize milling: machines imported and locally made
Oil presses for sunflower, soya, essential oils: starting
Rice and coffee husks and peat for brick burning: some use
Hand brick press machines: locally made and imported
Africa presents an intriguing case of the redesign of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to serve the particular needs of the African poor. Despite its status as part of the developing world, Africa has been the fastest growing mobile market in the world between 2000 and 2005. In 2005, 52 million people, or approximately 7% of Africa's population, were subscribed to a mobile network. This figure is projected to increase at an astonishing rate of 35% per year over the next few years. The rapid integration of mobile devices into low-income communities has surprised many researchers and analysts, but even more remarkable is how mobile technology has been transformed to serve uniquely African development needs, in conjunction with its conventional function as a telecommunications device. In fact, it is estimated that almost 80% of rural African households regularly use mobile phones in many ways other than as an infrastructure service.
Microfinance has recently emerged as a means of supplying basic financial services to the poor, who often do not have established financial assets and thus, are not able to access basic resources such as bank accounts. Although microfinance institutions (MFIs) existed before the Internet, this online medium allows one central group to partner with multiple MFIs to bring their services all over the world. The Internet has forged new connections between members of different countries that would otherwise never have existed. This is quite analogous to mobile telephones having the capacity to create partnerships across the barrier of distance.
Empirical evidence shows that, among the poor, those participating in microfinance programs who had access to financial services were able to improve their well-being — both at the individual and household level — much more than those who did not have access to financial services.
Education is a fundamental issue that developing nations must address in order to take any sort of leading role in the high-tech world economy. If a nation has the financial resources to provide access to technology, this access is of little use without the appropriate training. Even within the United States, the demand for skilled individuals in certain occupations, such as computer programmer, dramatically exceeds supply. However, achieving the requisite technical training in developing nations is easier said than done.
According to McKinsey, 84% of executives say that their future success is dependent on innovation. Although innovation may sound like a buzzword for some, there are many reasons why companies put a lot of emphasis on it. In addition to the fact that innovation allows organizations to stay relevant in the competitive market, it also plays an important role in economic growth. The ability to resolve critical problems depends on new innovations and especially developing countries need it more than ever.
Innovation, by definition, is the introduction of something new. Without innovation, there isn’t anything new, and without anything new, there will be no progress. If an organization isn’t making any progress, it simply cannot stay relevant in the competitive market. Because organizations are often working with other individual organizations, it can sometimes be challenging to understand the impacts of innovation on our society at large. There is, however, a lot more to innovation than just firms looking to achieve competitive advantage. Innovation really is the core reason for modern existence. Although innovation can have some undesirable consequences, change is inevitable and, in most cases, innovation creates positive change.
Technological advancement and increased productivity mean major changes for careers today as well. The world economy could more than double in size by 2050 due to continued technology-driven product improvements. According to the new World Economic Forum report, nearly 133 million new jobs may be created by 2022 while 75 million jobs are displaced by AI, automation and robotics.
In general, innovation and economic growth increases well-being because living standards rise. According to the Brookings Institution, average life satisfaction is higher in countries with greater GDP per capita. Another research also shows that there’s a link between innovation and subjective wellbeing. However, not all of the benefits of innovation and growth are evenly distributed. Often, a rise in real GDP means greater income and wealth inequality. Although there isn’t a threshold level for how much inequality is too much, greater socioeconomic gaps are most likely having some negative consequences. In theory, income inequality isn't a problem itself except when the concrete purchasing power decreases. In practice, however, it does have a number of impacts on our society and collective well-being.
As already mentioned, developing countries depend on innovation as new digital technologies and innovative solutions create huge opportunities to fight sickness, poverty and hunger in the poorest regions of the world. Developed countries also rely on innovation to be able to solve their own problems related to these themes. What comes to reducing hunger, for example, agricultural productivity is critical in the developing countries where the next population boom is most likely to take place. Smallholder farms in developing counties play an important role as up to 80% of the food is produced in these communities.
Developing and sharing agricultural innovations such as connecting farmers to information about the weather, has proven to be an efficient way to help farmers stay in business. Although this is just an example of how innovation can help people continue producing food, innovation provides endless other opportunities that can eventually help reduce poverty and hunger around the world. We’ve already seen a huge technological revolution during the past decades and continue to do so in the future.
According to the World Bank Annual Report 2016, even among the poorest 20 percent of the population, 7 out of 10 households have a mobile phone. This means that more people now have mobile phones than sanitation or clean water. Also, the mobile worker population is expected to grow from around 96 million to more than 105 million by 2020. Innovations in mobile technology such as voice control and augmented reality are enabling workers in completely new ways. Technology innovation can also help rural areas thrive and become more sustainable. Although there are some barriers to technology adoption, such as low income or user capability, more people can access information an improve their knowledge despite their socio-economic position or demographic area.
Generally speaking, the main purpose of innovation is to improve people’s lives. When it comes to managing a business, innovation is the key for making any kind of progress. Although your innovation activities aren’t necessarily powerful enough to save the world, you should focus on improving the things you can affect. Small improvements eventually lead to bigger and better ideas that may one day become revolutionary. In the meantime, however, you’re responsible for finding ways to make improvements in your own sphere of influence. Often, getting started is the hardest part as there are many ways to approach innovation. Our suggestion is to simultaneously work on developing your personal skills and business-related aspects. You should, however, start small and pick your focus as it's impossible to achieve everything at once.