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technology and innovation

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Human beings, in contrast with other species, do not possess highly developed instinctive reactions but have the capacity to think systematically and creatively about techniques. Human beings can thus innovate and consciously modify their environment in a way no other species has achieved. An ape may on occasion use a stick to beat bananas from a tree. A human being can fashion the stick into a cutting tool and remove a whole bunch of bananas. By virtue of human being’s nature as a toolmaker, a human being is therefore a technologist from the beginning, and the history of technology encompasses the whole evolution of man. In being technologists, the human race has simultaneously developed. Thus technology and development pose to be intricately intertwined and inseparable to a larger extent. In this paper, the writer is going to discuss the assertion that, “technology and development are intricately intertwined and inseparable.”
The term technology is a combination of the Greek words techne and logos. The former refers to art or craft while the latter refers to word or speech. When the term first appeared in the English vocabulary in the 17th century, it referred only to a discussion of applied arts which gradually came to be the object of designation. By the 20th century, the term had embraced a growing range of means, processes and ideas in addition to tools and machines. According to Sen(1999), technology is, “the means or activity by which human beings seek to change or manipulate their environment.” Over a long period of time the history of technology inevitably highlights the moments of innovation that show this cumulative quality as some societies advance, stage by stage, from comparatively primitive to more sophisticated techniques. Technology refers both to the artefacts created by humans such as machines and the methods used to produce those artefacts. So democracy can be viewed as social technology.
According to Rodney(1973), development is a many sided process. It implies movement from one level to the other usually with some increase in size, number, or quality in one way or another. Development is about change for the better. According to the World Bank(2000), development is a positive shift from an earlier state to a better one. Development encompasses social, economic, political and many other dimensions of human life. Development is done by the people, for the people. So it is people centred. For example long back people used to walk for long distances and long hours just to cover a short distance. But in this era, people have managed through various technologies to come up with various modes of transport. Now instead of walking, one can cover a thousand kilometres driving a car. Already it is evident that technology and development are intricately intertwined and inseparable. The history of technology shows development while the history of development also comes through technology.
It is a fact beyond doubt that the history of technology is explicitly intertwined with development while the history of development does not exclude technological advancements at all. Technology in the ancient world has the beginnings of Stone Age technology around 3000BCE. A degree of specialization in tool making was achieved by the time of Neanderthal man 70000BCE. More advanced tools, requiring assemblage of head and haft, were produced by Cro-Magnon Homo sapiens around 35,000 BCE, while the application of mechanical principles was achieved by pottery-making Neolithic man 6000 BCE and by Metal Age human beings around 3000 BCE. Advancements in technology simultaneously brought development along(Woogler(1991).
According to Woolger(1991), the earliest community of human beings survived in the harsh climates with skills of hunting and gathering. It is assumed that the primitive human beings used materials such as wood, bone, fur leaves before they mastered the use of stone. A technological unity to these periods of history is the stone. Over the many millennia of prehistory, important developments in technique were made in the use of stone. Stones became tools after being shaped to suit specific purposes. Flint became a popular stone for use. These early tools were held in the hand. Gradually ways of protecting the hand from sharp edges on the stone, at first by wrapping one end in fur or grass or setting it in a wooden handle, were devised. Much later, the technique of fixing the stone head to a haft converted these hand tools into more versatile tools and weapons. Other substances were brought into the service of human beings such as clay for pottery and bricks. Increasing competence in handling textile raw materials led to the creation of the first woven fabrics to take the place of animal skin. Curiosity about the behaviour of metallic oxides in the presence of fire promoted one of the most significant technological innovations of all time and marked the succession from the Stone Age to the Metal Age. Today various types of knives are made of metal to serve the same purpose and the stone but in a very quick way. Technological advancements bring development, thus technology and development are intricately intertwined and inseparable.
The use of fire was a basic technique mastered in the Stone Age. It was created by persistent friction between two dry wooden surfaces. Fire was used for defence from wild animals and to dry meat. Tools and weapons such as the stone headed spear, the harpoon and the arrow came into widespread. Developments in food production brought further refinements in tools. Irrigation techniques for keeping the ground watered and fertile all became well established in the great subtropical river valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia in the millennia before 3000 BCE. Today through technological advancement, fire can be created by match sticks, gas lighters and other methods. Instead of the bow and arrow, guns for hunting were fashioned. In the agricultural sector, sophisticated irrigation systems and methods are in place. This shows change for the better through technology. Technology makes life operations easier and thus brings development. Technology and development are intricately intertwined and inseparable.
The accumulated agricultural skill of the New Stone Age made possible to a growth in population. The larger population in turn created a need for the products of specialized craftsmen in a wide range of commodities. These craftsmen included a number of metalworkers, first those treating metals that could be easily obtained in metallic form and particularly the soft metals, such as gold and copper, which could be fashioned by beating. And today we have industries that deal with these metals at a sophisticated level. Technological advancements create employment. Thus people’s lives are sustained and poverty is eradicated because people use technological skills to bring bread on the table. In this way, technology brings political, social and economic development.
The technological history of the middle Ages was one of slow but substantial development. In the succeeding period it was associated with profound social, political, religious, and intellectual upheavals in Western Europe. The Renaissance had more obviously technological content than the Reformation period. Technology performed a service for science in this revolution by providing it with instruments that greatly enhanced its powers. The use of the telescope by Galileo to observe the moons of Jupiter was an example of this service. The telescope was only one of many tools and instruments that proved valuable in navigation, mapmaking, and laboratory experiments. More significant were the services of the new sciences to technology, and the most important of these was the theoretical preparation for the invention of the steam engine. Today, through technology, there are so many satellites in space which show us what is taking place there. Through Galileo it is now known that it is the earth that goes round the sun and not vice-versa. Instead of steam engine for the train, there are petrol and diesel engines. Some trains even use electricity. Life for human beings becomes easier and easier through technology, and this is development.
Technology is done by the people and for the people. This is the same with development which is also done by the people for the people. For example the social technology of democracy brings the development of good governments. With the social technology of democracy, the probability that there will be economic stability is high and hence there will be development as the livelihoods of people are improved. In communication, the information and communication technology has brought development. People can communicate through phones, online skype, watsapp, email and many more. Technology brings development. In mining instead of digging with picks, there are excavators which can do the job at a faster and reliable rate. In transport one does not need to walk but rather drive, board a taxi or go by air and save time. All these are developments that come through technology. Technology is involved in all areas of development. In health, new medicines are coming through research. All these technological achievements simultaneously bring development.
However, not always does technology bring development. For example nuclear technology is a very useful source of power. But it can be a very destructive weapon as seen when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in 1945. Moreover, technology has caused ecological problems whereby the products and wastes of technical processes have polluted the environment and disturbed the balance of natural forces of regeneration. Global warming is a problem of this era that the entire world is trying to deal with. Technology can be catastrophic to some extent. Even in the field of information and technology, it is valid to some extent to note that the western media has done more harm to the development of the developing countries because of media imperialism.
In summation, the relationship between technology and development is to a greater extent intricately intertwined and inseparable. Where there is technology, normally there is development. Where there is development, normally there is technology. Though to a lesser extent there are instances whereby technological advancement does not necessarily bring development but rather destroys people’s lives. In this world, development is largely supported and brought about by technology.

REFERENCES
Sen, A., (1999)., Development as freedom, Oxford: Oxford university press
World bank (1999)., World development indicators 1999., Washington, D.C: World Bank
Woolger, S. (1991)., The turn to technology in social studies of science. Science, technology and human values
Rodney W., (1973)., How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzanian publishing house
Adeboye T., (1999), Inovation without science policy, In annals of the New York Academy of sciences, Vol 798, Luna(1994)

References: Sen, A., (1999)., Development as freedom, Oxford: Oxford university press World bank (1999)., World development indicators 1999., Washington, D.C: World Bank Woolger, S. (1991)., The turn to technology in social studies of science. Science, technology and human values Rodney W., (1973)., How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzanian publishing house Adeboye T., (1999), Inovation without science policy, In annals of the New York Academy of sciences, Vol 798, Luna(1994)

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