Limited Horizons of Technology

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2020-06-24 15:40:18



Understanding of scientific concepts leads to innovation which finally materializes in the form of technology. Today we are living in science and technology dominated era and technology well supported by scientific pursuits no doubt has transformed tremendously various aspects of human life.  Let it be human health (medical technology), agriculture productivity, biotechnology, food processing, entertainment, transportation, communication, weather understanding, education, security, energy and power, construction and daily useable technological applications, technology has  played a great role in almost every sector.

These technological advances have been possible further with phenomenal growth in understanding the different aspects of science and technology like sensing, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, internet, internet of things, super intelligence etc.  Before divulging on the limited horizons of science and technology, however, it is important to highlight the technology progress in various aspects of human life.

Medical: Technology has helped people in the medical field with advancement of medical science to fight diseases which was previously impossible and thus improving the well being of human being.

Agriculture and productivity: Technology in agriculture not only has increased crop productivity by the used of fertilizers and pesticides but it has also reduced the use of water (with better irrigation techniques) and human efforts. Technology is deeply intertwined with modern agriculture at every step of the process and thus labor intensive agriculture has been converted to mechanized agriculture (using modern farm equipments) making human lives better. Now, mobile applications are revolutionary advancements in agriculture as it updates posts every day and instantly makes all information available, which is valuable for modern agriculture such as weather forecast, market demands, prices, information about seeds, fertilizers, soil quality checks and various crops options.

Biotechnology: Biotechnology involves the application of biological organisms or their components, systems or processes to manufacturing and service industries to make or modify products, to improve plants or animals or to develop micro-organisms for special uses of mankind. Recent developments in molecular biology and genetic engineering have immensely increased its potential. It finds application in diagnostics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, aquaculture, household products, forestry, forensics, environmental clean-up, food processing and chemicals enabling them to make new and better products. It helps them improve the speed and efficiency of production. It also helps in reducing pollution and waste generation.

Food industry: By using technology to improve processing and packaging, it can improve the shelf life and safety of food. The use of machines in the food industry also ensures quality and affordability. By using machines, it drives down the costs of keeping the food fresh and increases productivity.

Entertainment: Entertainment technology helps us relax and enjoy our free time and the latest technology has been revolutionized daily entertainment. As technology has grown, the entertainment industry continues to be transformed for consumers. Emerging computer and internet technologies have greatly optimized and enhanced the ways of entertainment. Presently, in the entertainment world, everything revolves around digitizing and streamlining production & distribution well supported by new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain etc.

Transportation: Transportation technology means the application of tools and machines to solve the problems or to improve conditions in respect to the movement of people and goods. The role of technology in transport and its management is to reduce transportation cost and increase delivery reliability through collaboration across all modes and providers. Future transport technologies are expected to achieve transport with low cost and high performance, with reduced CO2 emissions and reduced accidents and increased safety for drivers with self-driving automobiles, smart vehicles, high-speed rail networks etc.

Communication: Over the years, communication methods have evolved from simple text messages and audio calls to more efficient video calls and chat platforms which offer other communication services. Communication technology specialists are designing and maintaining technical systems of communication, according to the needs of business, industry, market or an individual. Presently, communication technologies include the Internet, multimedia, e-mail, telephone and other sound-based and video-based communication means.

Weather understanding: Weather and the climate are complicated topics but even then technology has helped to a great extent towards weather understanding and forecasting.  Technology is helping to make forecasts more accurate, and to learn more about climate change and its impacts. New communication networks and forecast system innovations and technology (e.g. Internet, wireless communication, digital database forecasting, next-generation workstations, now casting systems) have emerged, which provide the opportunity to improve public weather services. Use of weather satellites and Doppler radars has helped in weather observations.

Education: Today, technologies used to improve and facilitate learning can be found everywhere. Integration of technology into education has granted pedagogical change in fundamental issues that affect learners in general and people with special needs in particular. Use of Television, Radio, V.C.R, Computers and LCD projectors etc. have enriched and facilitated effective transmission of knowledge. When teachers effectively integrate the use of technology into subject areas then their role becomes of an adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun particularly for students with special needs.  With the incorporation of technology into education, the main purpose is to change how teachers and students gather, access, analyze, present and transmit information.

Security and safety: Technology is critical to enhancing security and safety of citizens and their property. With CCTVs, detectors and alarms, people and businesses would be unable to identify threats and respond appropriately. Advancements of modern technology in its various forms like password protection to safeguard our digital files and documents, advances in voice recognition and gesture control for the security for our devices and homes are actually making us safer.

Energy and power: Technology use in energy and power sector is enabling with efficient, safe, environmentally friendly (renewable), and economical extraction, conversion, transportation, storage, and use of energy, targeted towards yielding high efficiency whilst skirting side effects on humans, nature, and the environment. Technology includes the use of materials, tools, techniques, and sources of power to make life bearable or more pleasant. The use of nano-engineered materials is another technological advancement that has great applications.

Construction: Technology in construction is used to design, create and install various structures, to build homes, skyscrapers, hospitals and bridges. Construction technology is changes constantly, as the industry comes up with new designs, new materials and new approaches. Technology can help propel the construction industry to be more efficient and collaborative. Contractors are already utilizing technology to monitor optimum usages of equipments, fuel and maintenance by investing in intelligent machines.

Daily use items: Technology helps our everyday lives to remain and become easier with user-friendly and cost effective technological devices. Technology is also considered to be extremely important in business because it provides faster and more efficient methods of getting a job done.

Limitations of science and technology

With all the above mentioned advances we have gained with the help of technology does not mean that technology has been able to give solution to each and every problem of human being. It is well known that human life on the earth depends upon number of natural factors like: death, understanding of DNA, natural calamities (floods, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, cloud bursts, landslides, mudslides, avalanches, forest fires, volcanic eruptions, lightening and others), incidents of epidemics and pandemics, locust attacks, weather uncertainty etc. These natural disasters are major adverse events resulting from natural processes on the Earth due to the influence of our solar system and bring loss of lives, property and suffering to a large number of people.  Technology has failed measurably in understanding the concept of end of a life (death), it’s after effects, understanding the control on DNA for the advantage of society in general and for a person in particular in order to design people with honest, dedication, sincerity, amicable, intelligence attributes. In the scientific community and society, it is extremely well known that virus pandemics are unavoidable, and are likely to occur periodically. Unfortunately, the governments are somewhat short-sighted, and they don’t always invest sufficient time, energy, and financial resources to keep this active surveillance effective and uninterrupted and when these measures fail to maintain active surveillance, infections can creep up and suddenly get out of control. In the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic also, with all technological advances like artificial intelligence, genomic medicine, and self-driving cars, our most effective response to the outbreak has been mass quarantines, social distancing and use of mask, public health techniques borrowed from the Middle Ages.

We only believe that we can't stop natural phenomena from happening and can make them less damaging if we understand better why they happen, and what we can do to prevent or mitigate them. Making use of scientific and engineering advances, we are unable to control the occurrence of any type of natural calamities, forest fires, locust happening, and we are unable to change the weather conditions according to the need of human. Technology has progressed only on two lines i) to improve the capacity to lessen the effects of natural disasters by applying early warning systems and ii) to develop scientific and technical knowledge in order to reduce human and material losses. Technology for all such sectors has been developed only to control the after effects due these disastrous activities and no scientific progress leading to technological development has taken place to control the occurrence itself of these things. However, according to world mythology in general and Indian in particular, the occurrences of these events are supposed to be minimized by worshiping/surrendering/pleasing the respective heavenly personalities (sub-GODs) governing the different components of our universe or the supreme (GOD).

Technology to control nature

No doubt we can prevent man-made disasters by taking preventive measures but what about preventing natural disasters. The large scale negative influence of natural events upon people turns these events into disasters. Humans can prepare for and even avert some of the negative influences of these events by establishing and obeying disaster mitigation codes. While nature seems to be unpredictable for the moment but it gives enough initial/pre signals about its each and every activity which may result in a large scale disaster. Thus, several technologies promise to help with forecasting and prevention and allow responders to act sooner rather than later. To help reduce the loss of life, scientists today can employ a wide array of technological tools to better anticipate natural disasters and improve their forecasting. Although weather manipulation on a personal level exists only in fiction but storm control with weather machine technology can help in cloud modification and waive the unwanted dark clouds rolling on our head and can influence factors such as rainfall, storm severity and snowpack which may help to avoid the happening of natural disasters like land sliding, mud sliding, cloud bursting and floods. Most of these rely on cloud seeding techniques that force clouds to rain and many countries around the world are working on controlling their weather. Hurricane formations are derived by ocean temperatures as a storm’s intensity depends on warm water at the surface. Ocean weather machine technology which produces bubble curtains by bringing cooler water from the depths could reduce surface temperature and making it cooler could, in theory, diminish the power of a hurricane. Another suggestion blocks ocean warming in the hurricane’s path by making brighter clouds to deflect sunlight. Loading clouds up with small water droplets makes them more reflective. Such types of weather machines could also reduce storm intensity.

Future technological developments

Although technological advancements in terms of after disaster preparedness and resilience efforts are increasing but there is a need of smarter, faster, innovative analytical tools to create the kind of up-to-date analysis of natural hazard risks and to tackle them before their occurrences. So far, the technological investment has been a priority to find the technological solutions to predict their happening to the best of accuracy and to tackle the after effects of natural calamities effectively along with manufacturing, development of new materials, vaccines and diagnostics. However, there is a need to develop future technologies which can be helpful in controlling the occurrences of natural disasters, pandemics and DNA manipulations for the well being of mankind.