Technology has been defined in many ways but the basic idea that still holds is that it is a new way of doing things while utilizing the least amount of energy when performing a task. This further explains why children in today’s generation will never understand why they should work hard to live decent lives when all is being provided for them. The basic survival instincts of human existence are at risk of fading way with the advancing of the much-adored technology.
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This paper seeks to establish the various limitations of different technologies, and how other developments have helped in curbing the effects of such limitations. It also further highlights how the limitations could be avoided.
Development that is spearheaded by technology is no doubt something to marvel about since it takes away all the ugly mechanics of doing something. For example, the introduction of the automated sawing machine in place of the manual one definitely was something to celebrate about in the fashion industry.
Socio-economic development is the advancement in a society both socially and economically. Any advances in technology in any society tend to affect the society economically. People will always desire to have the product and depending on whether they are well off financially or not, they will acquire the product by either one means or the other. A law that will stop this person from stealing to acquire the commodity is an example of a change in the social aspect in the society.
Information based technology on the other hand seeks to give facts and the underlying implications of having such technology. This information is meant to help manufacturers of products make informed decisions when coming up with these products. This is the reason a product will still be in existence 10 or even 20 years down the line and with no negative impact on the economy, the user or even the environment (Robinson, 1998).
Some of the problems that come with technology-led developments include pressure on the available resources, some developments are biased to certain economies with a certain power for example some security systems or even machinery. This means they are either too expensive for some organizations in developing countries to afford or they are too advanced for them to operate. The other problem is in the dynamic nature of technology-led development, some companies cannot keep up probably due to the financial demand it places on them. Most developments are also focused on solving world problems and thereby neglecting local problems that would benefit the respective economies more. All these problems and some examples have been expounded further below and the role that information technology has directly played in trying to solve them.
Technology–led development seeks to do away with the cumbersome routines of daily life like walking with the invention of cars, trains, planes, buses. All these are essential but what most governments should consider is the amount of pollution that comes with these means of transport. (Appleton,1995b).Information based development will take into account all these factors way before the consequences start being felt. In the above illustration, the counter action was the introduction of unleaded fuel, which burns for longer and has less hazardous implications on the atmosphere more specifically the ozone layer. This meant the manufacturing of renewable sources of energy to take care of that problem. The next problem will be congestion in the central business districts since everyone wants to get where they are going conveniently. What most developed countries like the United Kingdom have done is provide separate lanes for the express buses. This encourages people to use the public means, which save them more time in traffic. This could only be done by plenty of research.
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Sustainable development is more of the cure for the limitations of technology led developments. Sustainable development in the simplest of definitions is the ability of “humanity to meet the needs of the present without compromising on the ability of future generations” (Kates, et al., 2005 ,p. 9). It involves making sure in the process of making our lives comfortable we do not inconvenience or endanger the lives of the coming generations. This promotes engaging in gathering knowledge and information before embarking on certain projects however viable they seem (Policies to enhance sustainable development, 2001).
Current systems of economic development cannot be said to be sustainable. Most individuals and organizations are so focused on economic growth that comes with technological advances than on the consequences of their actions. The activities have led to fostering of global interactions but clearly, that is where most economies are stuck at (Archibungi & Pietrobelli, 2003). This has led to a tremendous pressure on the resources involved. The result is a strain on the resources and noticeable change in climatic conditions, depletion of water sources and a reduction in biodiversity (Public Affairs Division, Public Affairs and Communications Directorate, 2001, p. 2). This has happened because the public is not educated on the best ways to avoid this and those who are do not have enough motivation to go an extra mile and practice. All these issues pose a huge threat on the economic sustainability of most governments and even entities (Banks, et al.,1996).
According to research in the next eleven years, the world’s GDP will rise by about 75% and that the population will be more by 1 or 2 billion. With these appeasing statistics, surely the policy makers need to take the pilot seat in the campaign for sustainable development (Public Affairs Division, Public Affairs and Communications Directorate, 2001, p. 2). Information needs to be passed across in the most effective ways known to man to make the projections into the future a reality.
The generation of technological developments is mostly rooted in the industrialized and developed countries. What they do not put in mind is that most developing countries may not have the capacity to produce the same. There are differences in the kind of knowledge that is generated in developed countries and that in developing ones. This means that what needs to happen is for the universe to come up with a system that makes sure the developing countries can access this information so they can use it in addressing the technology that grows every day (SDNP, 1997). If the same enthusiasm in coming up with new inventions was put in making sure everyone enjoyed the inventions, the world would be a better place. Some of the other ways that have been suggested is the networking of such countries so that they get the expertise involved. Companies can do this by having branches in the various countries and allowing them to experiment and make new technologies that are tailored to the specific countries that have the same basic concept.
The other problem that has come with technology is the global mentality. Most companies or organizations are more focused on making products that are internationally viable but forget to make some that will work locally. The same problem is duplicated in the academic systems. They encourage students that come up with products that will benefit foreigners more than they appreciate those that solve their day-to-day problems (Yee-Cheong & Juma, 2005, p.150). This means technology is creating a divide among the locals of any country.
What most organizations or companies have done is come up with new technologies that cannot be used globally at the same efficiency; they have realized the need to embrace universal design.
What also happens is that with time there is so much technology that some starts getting outdated. The trends change so fast in that before people have adjusted to a certain trend another has emerged only immediately. It is difficult to catch up with them especially for small firms. The established firms can stretch and keep up to some extent. So the dynamic nature of information technology can frustrate a business person. Take the example for a person dealing in selling of phones. The mobile technology companies keep releasing new models every other day, what happens the person in business has to have every other model so they can be able to compete in the business. They may not be selling all the stock but they have to stock them just in case. This translates to dead stock sometimes, which can be very depressing.
On the other hand, the dynamism of information technology can serve as a good thing. The research that is involved in the making of cures for terminal diseases increases the life expectancy of most people. For example, the invention of the antiretroviral drugs was a much-needed break for everyone. Before then a positive status was a direct warrant for death and there was no alternative. The progress in R & D has proved that one does not have to die immediately, which is a good thing.
Information and communication development has brought about an altogether different perspective of the advances in technology and has hence encouraged learning in all ways. For example the introduction of the portable computers has made a gateway for use of the worldwide web with more ease. This means that every day people get smarter depending on the content they choose to feed on from the internet.
Information led development can have a great impact in changing the quality of life of most people. This happens when there are clear channels of communication especially in the leadership of the organization or governments (Yee-Cheong & Juma, 2005, p.122). For starters, taking the example of a developing country where television does not make much sense to a person that has lived most of his or her life without it. This means that the tool of information without the use of technology is the only way to convince this man or woman that eating a balanced diet is a more healthy way to keep off diseases and ailments than waiting to get ill and use witchcraft. When people have knowledge, they are empowered to make better decisions concerning the critical situations in their lives.
Another example is the use of renewable sources of energy, in an article the writer was emphasizing on the importance of knowing that women are at the forefront if the campaign for the use of renewable sources of energy should succeed (Toward a Sustainable Energy Future,2001). This is because according to him the woman is the first hand consumer of fuels when cooking in the home, when heating water and when heating the houses. He encouraged the campaigners to concentrate their efforts in convincing the women (Cecelski, 1998, p. 22).
Use of information technology also helps deal with the problem of stagnation in small businesses. This helps them get better ways of making their means work for them for example the invention of a refrigerator helps keep products especially dairy ones fresher for longer this means the person will stay in business for longer at least long enough to make a sale. The problem that comes with this invention is that the cost of keeping the dairy products fresh might be more frustrating to the business person. What has helped is the pasteurization of certain products like milk, which ensures they stay for longer without causing the supplier extra expenses (World Commission on Environment and Development, n.d.).
Technology comes with a price that most people cannot afford. This is true for many economies and organizations. This leads to borrowing from all sources for those who can from the banks, from World Bank and even from individuals. What happens is that organizations fall into pools of debt. The ways in which this can be tackled is for example how china did it. They formed groups of companies that collaborate in R & D. what happens is that they produce merchandise in bulk and launch products together. This makes it easy on most companies that would not do it by themselves (Yee-Cheong & Juma, 2005, p. 152).
The international aspect involves a company in one country pairing up with another company in another country with a different but related technology. so what happens they learn from each other symbiotically. This has happened with a Korean company-Genematrix, dealing in biotechnology (Acharya, et al.,2003) and an American –based one Variagenics that deals with pharmacogenetics got into an agreement to work together. What happens is that the Korean company gains expertise in pharmacogenetics while the U.S company uses their Asian data (Yee-Cheong & Juma, 2005, p. 162) (Grandi, 2001).
Technology can also be inconvenient. It is unpredictable. Take for example an automatic automobile. They are bound to fail in their functionality any time and it can be embarrassing and frustrating in the same high levels. If the ignition system fails, one cannot navigate. Technology makes humans to some point stop being useful and efficient because they have to wait on technology. If on the other hand one were driving a manual, some problems would be avoided, or even better yet, not encountered if one were walking.
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Generally, in using information technology to deal with issues in an organization or government they have to make sure the developments meet the following needs for it to be effective in socio-economic development. The first is the challenge of awareness (Guengant et al.,2000). The technology should be known by all the potential users and should be easily accessible by the same. They should be comfortable using them. If a certain number of people or a group is not conversant the management should endeavor to conduct workshops and seminars for the purpose of enlightenment (Population Reference Bureau, 2000).
The second challenge is that of politics. The management should make sure their advances are in line with the political opinions of the neighborhood. They have to be keen in monitoring the political climate of the place so that cases like the tele centres that were rejected in Mexico by the elders do not repeat (Hunt, 2001). The elders felt threatened since they enjoyed the monopoly of knowledge they had on certain things (Essentials, 2001, p.7).
The third is the accessibility. They should be accessible. Some of the barriers are social (the mindset of the people that the technology is meant for a certain age group), educational ( the illiterate will feel segregated cause they cannot understand the mechanisms involved), the gender issues and the economic aspects involved. some of the facilities are too expensive to install and even to maintain and may pass as a burden to communities that may have to dig deep into their pockets to pay for something they have not had all their lives and were doing just fine without(Chen & Feng, 2000).
To overcome the problem of ambiguity the invention has to be relevant to the audience it is being presented to. That is essential; they have to see the importance in the acquisition of the technology or information. Giving information is not the issue; the emphasis is on information or technology that will better the people’s lives (Kerby, 2001).
The next is making sure the started project or invention can go on and on as planned: sustainability. In ensuring this, it is important o have timeframes within which to do the projects this ensures accountability and efficiency.
The last but not least is the coordination challenge. Partnership in the projects helps avoid duplication of effort in other similar project (Misnikov, 2001). This is because what happens in most projects there is no coordination, which means everyone is competing with the other. In the end due to misappropriation of funds, the project has to be redone.
In conclusion, technology has its difficulties and it is the same technology that takes care of its downs. Its inefficiency at times is taken care by its ability to be manipulated to suit certain tastes (Clark, 1995). Its undependability is counteracted by the fact that it saves money sometimes like when one needs to communicate, currently, mobile phones and the internet make it in such a way one does not have to travel all the way. As much as information technology has limitations, it has even more advantages that if put to use will outshine the negatives that most people seek to point out.
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