Technology is the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment. Other definitions of technology are
1. the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.
2. the application of this knowledge for practical ends.
3. the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
4. a scientific or industrial process, invention, method, or the like
5. the sum of how social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.
According to Wikipedia, Technology is the sum of many techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings. Systems (e.g. machines) applying technology by taking an input, changing it according to the system’s use, and then producing an outcome are referred to as technology systems or technological systems.
The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric invention of shaped stone tools followed by the discovery of how to control fire increased sources of food. The later Neolithic Revolution extended this and quadrupled the sustenance available from a territory. The invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment.
Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.
Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today’s global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth’s environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions about the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity and the challenges of bioethics.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.
The distinction between science, engineering, and technology is not always clear. Science is systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation. Technologies are not usually exclusively products of science, because they have to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability, and safety.
With all the definitions given above, we can say that “technology is the interaction of science and society.” It is an entity that can be simply procured and used once enough funds are available. Often policies on technology fail because of inadequate knowledge about the many contributing elements and their relation to national development or because of insufficient attention to links between different policies, the focus of this study. In Nigeria, the links between different domains of policy, rather than being forged by imaginative action, do not exist; instead, there is a gap in the system through which issues simply disappear. The links deserve particular attention because in countries such as Nigeria underdevelopment of technology is coupled with underutilization of the existing technologic capacity. Nigeria because of its size, population, and potential could benefit more than most countries by developing links complemented by appropriate action.
The federal government, which has changed several times since independence, has bowed to pressures from international agencies to create policies that are replicas of those used successfully elsewhere. But some of the policies developed under different circumstances and sometimes for different purposes did not succeed in Nigeria. Policies on technology were no exception, and the failures of policies on acquisition, growth, and development of technology are the central themes of this study.
Technological penetration is the rate at which a specific technical innovation becomes adopted into the everyday life of individuals within a social group. One of the indices by which a nation’s growth and advancement can be measured is by technological endowment and penetration, not by the level of her endowment in natural and human resources. Simply put, a nation’s economic efficiency is determined and ranked by its technological advancement.
It’s generally agreed that investment in modern and robust infrastructure lays the foundation for economic growth and development. Investment in transportation networks, electricity, communication networks, water and sanitation, health and education infrastructure helps a society increase its wealth and its citizen’s standard of living. In an Infrastructure deficit economy, the infrastructural development does not effectively meet its demand for economic growth. Critics have complained of the infrastructure deficit in Nigeria is the result of a steady decline in Government infrastructure investment and corruption, combined with a steady increase in the cost of building additional infrastructure. They blame decades of under-investment in basic infrastructure have produced a variety of bottlenecks across transportation, water, freight, and communication networks; decades of neglect in the provision of public infrastructure in Nigeria by successive Government as having put the nation’s development and economic prospect in jeopardy.
The good thing though is that despite the failure of our government, it has still been discovered that Nigeria has a vibrant and growing tech sector. Large firms are delivering services in healthcare, agriculture, and finance while smaller firms are providing e-commerce platforms and other retail-related services. But firms are still hampered by the business environment, notably unreliable electricity and lack of access to credit. Most suffer significant power outages, forcing them to purchase generators. Few firms have access to financial institutions or venture capitalists, relying instead on family and professional networks. Finally, tech firms employ very few women. While the Nigerian government has made the tech sector a priority, it needs to do more to improve the basics of the business environment. The government and the private sector must also take steps to increase the participation of women in the tech sector.
One major reason the government should enact policies favorable to the Technology industry is mainly because of the potential and opportunities that can be enjoyed by the population at large. One major benefit is the creation of jobs. Nigeria’s e-commerce leader Jumia employs about 3,000 workers across the region, and 100,000 more workers who help customers place orders (Adegoke, 2018). Similarly, Uber, which launched in the region in 2013, has created 7,000 jobs in the country (Ubabukoh, 2017).
An issue that developing countries must bypass is prioritizing technology innovation, not just adapting to technology. Another issue is that the distribution of technology needs to be equal across a country; so far the poor have not been able to have the same amount of access to technology. It is important for organizations to monitor technology and to encourage innovations and job creation to solve these issues. What our government is not aware of is that when technology is used correctly it can be extremely helpful in furthering the prosperity of economies. One such example of technology creating a positive impact on the economy is regarding India the Self-Employed Women’s Association using SMS to send agricultural workers messages about commodity prices. This information helps farmers determine the best places to sell their produce. Farmers who participated in this program have said that they have been able to sell their products over wider areas, which has increased their incomes. Another example, also in India, is the Hand in Hand Partnership (HIHP). The HIHP is an organization that provides women with mobile devices so that they can launch their tech-driven businesses. The HIHP helps train and provide technical support for these women. By encouraging women to innovate ideas instead of just giving them technology, HIHP is helping to better the economy in a sustainable and long-term way.
For any successful economy, particularly in today’s quest for knowledge-based economies, science, technology, and engineering are the basic requisites. If nations do not implement science and technology, then the chances of getting themselves developed become minimal and thus could be even rated as an undeveloped nation. Science and Technology are associated in all means with modernity and it is an essential tool for rapid development. The role that science and technology have played in improving living conditions across the globe is vivid, but the benefit has to been harvested maximum by all countries. Science and technology have made life a lot easier and also a lot better with the advancement of medicines and analysis of diseases. Apart from the medical side, there has been remarkable development in education, communication, agriculture, industry and so. the global economic output has increased 17 folds in the 20th century. Despite the advancements in almost all sectors, still, the world is not free from hunger, disease, pollution, illiteracy, and poverty with Nigeria being a major contributor to these. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened. By the 21st century, with the right applications of research, development, and implications of science and technology a major difference could be brought about. African nations should emphasize policies that will favor the development of technology in their countries, this will surely contribute to the decline in all problems mention above.
Nigeria seems to regard technology as a commodity owned by foreigners, and it has the mistaken belief that technology transfer occurs naturally when the owner or supplier hands the technology over to the recipient or purchaser. This interpretation of “transfer” is not surprising in a country that has no public policy to popularize science and technology nor to promote public awareness of the contribution of technology to society and vice versa. Under such circumstances how can the few gains from expenditures on technology be integrated efficiently into national life and the economy? Policy studies are hardly ever commissioned by the Nigerian government, and without review and monitoring of policy performance, the nation cannot recognize policy inadequacies and failures early enough to take remedial action. Policy studies initiated by those outside government seldom influence government’s action so scholars and researchers have little incentive to embark on such work.
The solution to this problem is for all cadres of professionals in the country to come together to forge a way forward and force the government to make a definite commitment to technology acquisition, development, dissemination, and adaptation. The prevalent thinking that a knowledge base in technology is only for the bright and brainy is outmoded and must be discouraged. Technology must be seen as everybody’s business. Consequently, the governments and peoples of countries in sub-Saharan Africa must take up the challenge of advancing technological development in the respective home fronts to collectively bring Africa out of technological backwardness.
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