Technological change is a constant ever. There are constantly improvements being made, often for the worse. How do we deal with the fact that technology often compels us to adapt to new states, often at the cost of our comfort level or lifestyle? In this guide we will look at how technology and innovation can help us or hurt us.
Technology is often considered a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it normally invigorates the market by creating more products and services, which raise the country’s attractiveness to overseas investors. On the flip side, technology often makes us uncomfortable by lessening the quality of life. For example, the widespread usage of pesticides and other chemicals, polluting the atmosphere and water, increasing fuel costs and consequent high inflation, along with other environmental quality problems, all make many men and women think innovation must be utilised to tackle these difficulties. As a result, some people advocate against innovation on the premise it is only going to exacerbate environmental quality problems.
The truth, however, is that innovation has frequently included the incorporation of technology designed to minimize or remove specific environmental impacts. For instance, the widespread use of fuels derived from fossil fuels, as well as the widespread utilization of fuels that produce little carbon emissions, are often contained in mitigation technology. Another illustration is using atomic energy. Most countries in Europe have signed on the European Union’s first ecological program, called the European Union (EU) Energy Strategy.
Energy management, particularly distributed energy management, also falls into this class. When we consider energy management, we normally envision large projects such as power lines and large batteries. However, there’s a good deal of innovative technology available which can be used for smaller-scale systems, such as household appliances and automobiles. One example is the technology that enables household appliances to charge their batteries to the power coming out of sunlight. Similarly, there are a number of inventions in energy storage methods that allow big buildings to provide renewable energy for the everyday operations within the construction.
Another example of a technological change is every time a new form of a technology is introduced. In fact, this is a good example of diffusion. A large number of companies started developing one technology, such as computer processors, until they were able to develop and patent another technology, such as GPS. Therefore, the growth of new technologies requires the diffusion of a lot of innovation. And, clearly, the adoption of new technology requires that individuals learn how to work with these new devices.
Obviously, we can’t dismiss the importance of culture as a driver of technological innovation. People in developed countries typically have a greater degree of scientific literacy than people in developing countries. This literacy level helps spur innovation as people in industrialized nations are more likely to be exposed to innovative ideas and products. In other words, people in developed countries might be more acquainted with industrial technology, so it would be simpler for them to embrace new innovations. But, again, the diffusion of innovation is crucial for a technological change to occur.
Obviously, we can’t overlook the role that government can play in the diffusion of new technologies. Governments can support research and development, create programs to fund research and development, and even institute programs to disperse these innovations to the population. But, there are limitations on the ability of a government to facilitate the diffusion of innovations. For instance, the legal system in developed countries is based on property rights and contracts. Thus, a government program to distribute publication technologies would likely to face a legal challenge. Additionally, in the majority of nations, governments are hesitant to implement technology which may be seen as undermining their existing societal processes, like those associated with land rights.
Though technological change can occur through diffusion, it’s important for all of us to realize it will not happen automatically. And it will not occur magically, without the societal network having the capability to facilitate the diffusion of inventions. However, if the proper conditions are supplied, the procedure can move forwards to greater levels of development.