High Technology and Human Development
- by siteadmin
Technology has been a topic of controversy in the past. Though some believed that it could do more harm than good, there are others who strongly believe that technology would bring us to a better future, especially when it comes to developing countries [Developing Countries is a term used mainly in International Organizations meaning economically less-developed countries]. Let’s take a look at three major areas where technology has made an impact: Water and Sanitation, Education and Workforce Productivity, Communication, and Transportation.
In some parts of the world, the issue of clean drinking water is still prevalent. While this might be due to geographical reasons (i.e., lack of rainfall), other regions struggle with sanitation problems because they lack the proper waste disposal treatment facilities or even proper waste management. This affects not only the community’s health but also its safety (e.g., groundwater contamination).
With recent breakthroughs in technology, for example, there are now water filtration systems that can improve the quality of drinking water in these communities and thereby eliminating health risks associated with drinking impure water. We already know how much power — literally! — clean energy sources like solar has; can even be used to pump up groundwater, which eventually gets stored in various reservoirs. This prevents wastage through seepage during storage in the reservoir itself or when it is being transported to homes using pipelines.
What about sanitation? It’s probably one of the most difficult problems solved because this involves efforts from different sectors, from the government to private organizations. In countries where there is a lack of proper waste disposal facilities, communities have been encouraged to take part in campaigns that would improve their own sanitation.
In developed countries, recycling has been a way of life for a long time. Not only does recycling help reduce costs and protect the environment by reducing wastage and greenhouse gas emissions, it also provides livelihood opportunities for underprivileged communities. Some developing countries are using this as an approach to solving workforce productivity problems — many people who do not have work go around looking for recyclable items so they could sell them for cash or exchange them as goods/services with other people.
Also, technology nowadays can be used to produce cheap but high-quality products made from recycled materials. For example, recyclable plastic is now being used to make fabric for clothing, shoes, and other accessories. This way, people can help sustain the environment while earning a living at the same time.
The field of education has also made remarkable progress because of technology that it’s no longer surprising that many developing countries are trying to adopt educational models from developed ones. Aside from learning through textbooks, students are now learning through ICTs — meaning they use computers or smartphones to research information about their course/topic rather than spend hours flipping pages in their textbook or going over lecture notes.
This is especially helpful for students with special needs (e.g., visual impairment) because it provides an additional channel where they can get information. Aside from that, ICTs can help teachers improve their teaching skills by using educational software that offers self-paced lessons and exercises. For disadvantaged communities, there are also free online learning platforms where they can learn vocational courses for free (e.g., Khan Academy).
Another area is workforce productivity. Technology has made it possible to do more work in less time (time actually spent on getting tasks done) or does things without leaving the comfort of your home (e.g., internet shopping). Just this year, an article was published saying how technology could improve workforce productivity in developing countries through three factors: “automation; skill utilization; and working capital”. When it comes to automation, some jobs might be replaced by machines, but this doesn’t necessarily mean job losses because these are not limited to high-skilled or high-pay ones. What’s important is that workers are trained to use technologies that are introduced into the workplace so they can get more efficient in their tasks/jobs.
Another factor is skill utilization where employees take on new roles by acquiring skills needed for the job — which includes continuous learning programs and career coaching. And lastly, working capital is also a significant contributor to workforce productivity because this refers to financing strategies or services that help businesses obtain loans while offering financial management support. With the extra cash, companies could invest in operations expansion while employees would be able to buy insurance plans for protection against unforeseen events that might lead to loss of income or earning potential.
Technology has indeed made a huge impact on how we live and help improve our quality of living and productivity — especially in developing countries where this is often associated with greater challenges (e.g., lack of access to basic services). There are still some sectors that have been neglected by technology though, such as human rights advocacy. However, that is slowly changing because the internet has been used as a tool for social good that’s why there are now online portals or platforms where information about different types of discrimination is being shared so people could become more aware of them and help abolish them from society.
Technology has been a topic of controversy in the past. Though some believed that it could do more harm than good, there are others who strongly believe that technology would bring us to a better future, especially when it comes to developing countries [Developing Countries is a term used mainly in International Organizations meaning economically…