I also find, especially in the Western world, that people are disconnected. Communication technology is supposed to connect people: it is beginning to connect people to machines, but not people to people. A young kid in U.S. knows how to deal with computer networks but does not know how to play with his next-door neighbour, so technology does bring in some level of problems. Some use technology, some abuse technology. The main idea behind technology has been to increase comforts, helps us in doing things outside of our body, but unfortunately for many developing countries technology is seen as something exotic fancy, foreign, alien and not necessarily problem solving. Technology is problem solving and there is technology in everything we do. Many of my friends in social science always criticize me saying” You are attacking” “Of course I am. That’s all I know”. “You look at things only form the view point of management and technology”. ”Well, that is the only pair of glasses I wear” But the same people use telephones computers, watch TV, and travel on aeroplanes without accepting the fact that they are indeed enjoying the fruits of technology in their day to day life.
I see the following important trends in technology based on what I have seen in the 20th century:
Ø Everything is being miniaturised, from micro-motors to micro-electronics.
Ø Ever technology is pushing for productivity, and efficiency in all sectors, and is used to increase these.
Ø Technology is being used to reduce cost. Only by reducing cost you can bring technology to the doorstep of many more people
Ø Technologies are becoming environment friendly. People are now becoming conscious of environment friendly technologies in everything they do. For example take the ‘Yellow Pages’. In the city of Chicago, there are about six million telephones and the telephone directories (three volumes) if stacked together, will be 1.5 feet in height. Just to print and distribute 8 million of these directories to each, imagine the number of trees that are cut every year! Do we really need it? Who uses those Yellow Pages? Now, all of sudden we are conscious of all these things when it is too late in many cases.
Ø Standardisation : Only through standardisation you can increase markets, reduce cost thereby giving accessibility to large number of people
Ø In technology, people are now beginning to recognize the importance of time. Time has become a very very important resource and people are learning to link time and technology. In time inventory, there is a classical example. You are trying to optimise time and time is becoming a great weapon for competitiveness
Ø Technology is increasing comforts as a result, a whole new ‘leisure industry’ is being developed. And there are products for the ‘leisure industry’
Ø There is an increase in automation to increase productivity, reduce cost and eliminate labour (thereby creating unemployment)
Ø Technology is going to be so pervasive that we will, over a period of time, not even recognise that all these complex technologies are around us, in our pockets. People are talking about ‘electronic cash’. They ask, ”do we really need to print all these money? If we don’t need to print directories, why do we need to print all this money?”. Later on I will talk about a patent that I have just filed.
These are the trends that I see. And based on these trends, I see ten challenges for technology at global level.
1. To convert the entire defence and destruction based industry to sustainable development: This is going to be very very difficult task. In Russia I find that all those huge plants are sitting idle nothing to do: no orders. Their mind is all set only for defence industry and they just don’t have ideas on how to transform this industry building Tanks into, for example, Telecom. This is happening not just in Russia but it is equally true for America. While...
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