The tremendous technological growth that we have been experiencing is made possible through extensive programmes of technological research being conducted by many types of researchers working within universities, business, and non-profit research organizations. Technological developments are strong and all pervasive forces of the business environment. Technology is the scientific knowledge to practical problems.
Technology feeds on itself and it affects business in two major ways:
- Through its impact on society in general
- Through its direct influence on business operations and activities.
Technology affects society. In fact, we feel its effect on our everyday life. It affects economic growth, our standard of living and our culture. However, some of the effects of technology are highly beneficial and some detrimental. One should be careful that these effects on members of the society in turn affect business practices.
Technology affects our everyday life. We are surrounded by so much of technology, that we take it for granted and usually do not realize how much it affects us until we have to do without electricity, water, transport or telephone. Technological developments have raised the standard of living. In spite of inflationary pressure and considerably a high degree of unemployment, generally families eat better, wear a wider variety of clothing, and live in more comfortable homes.
Technology also influences basic aspects of our culture, including religion, education, mobility, health care, art, language, laws and their enforcement. For example, technological advances in health care allow physicians to treat their patients in a virtual environment through video conferencing, which again is helpful in legal environment too for the judges to proceed with investigations on hard core criminals, who need not be produced before the court for security reasons.
Every new technology is a force involved in creative destruction. Say, television hurts movies, synthetic fibres, rival for cotton fibre. The discovery of new technology even sometimes affects economic growth-TV with its high entertainment value takes away productive hours of mankind. Each new technology creates major long term consequences, that are not always foreseeable. How do you justify nations spending more money to develop missiles, nuclear weapons and bombs for the sake of security?
Developing nations have to buy technology from foreign countries, as they are not resourceful in terms of capital needed for Research and Development, expertise, patents, licenses, equipments and so on. This transfer of technology involves huge costs as a result of which a vicious circle is formed, in which weak technology creates dependence and dependence creates weakness.
The recent trend can be enumerated through this slogan, “Conserve, reduce and recycle”. The stress today is on clean production measures, advanced robotics, zero-emition vehicles, material recycling and alternative fuels and materials. This change towards love for environment by the technologists is a sure sign of positive development.