Tech Foresight for sustainable S and T, innovations

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IN A recently held SAARC Workshop on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and Planning Cooperation, NUST Rector, Lt. G. Engineer M. Asghar emphasized about the importance of S and T saying that agrarian economy is of less importance. The workshop also educated the youth and experts about focusing advanced technologies and modern practices in agriculture which are still said to be hazardous for health and economy due to the concept of corporate economy and chemicals used.
The workshop highlighted the concept of a paradox which we are trapped in. Paradox regarding the issues of sustainable development and climate change. It was said that technologies like coal, gas, fertilizers, automobiles, computers, printers, nuclear, etc. cause problems for the nature and species dwelling herein. It is a valid argument by environmentalists that we are building roads at the cost of greenery. Huge area which was green in the past has now been paved for a technology which will add to the green house gas effect.
The NUST Rector was right about the importance of STIs (science, technology and innovation) importance. Though, Technology Foresight exercises all over the world may introduce some new technology which will be able to make us healthy without food and Crowd Sourcing through ICT may enhance the solutions caused by all new technologies but do we appreciate a life without nature. Everything is based upon technology rather than food, water, greenery, soil, natural fragrance, etc. There is huge uproar in the world about the climate change but authorities are still considering STI without Technology Foresight; a policy making tool which is used by the world to build consensus about sustainable development of STI.
The words were good enough for the industrialists as he said its the age of industries not agriculturalists. However, we do forget the issues the West is facing due to industrialization. Wealth has been accumulated in a few hands and industrialists or corporations are controlling all the population due to their malicious marketing practices.
For how long will we be able to support these incapable learned dependents that invested millions in education and still have no ability to be an employer. More painful were the authorities asking them to be patient as we are preparing wheelchairs for you. NUST study about extrapolation showed that in 2050, the reducing number of farmers will result in chaos. We will be looking for farmers and thus food security will become more prominent. There are concerns about the statement of the VC NUST that if the era of agrarian society is over and we are entering into the era of industrialists then we must be prepared for all issues which are being face in the West.
The Technology Foresight (TF) can help reshape our future in a much better way than what it is predicted to be or what it may be due to the way the variables are going to shape it. After all it all depends on the actions of today which shape our tomorrow. TF does the critical job of identifying the actions of the present which will shape our tomorrow for the generations to come. It helps in building the future rather predicting. Options which are viable economically e.g. coal needs proper monitoring so that it may not harm us in far future. We suffered due to the nuclear technology and now despite bans, US and other super powers are not going to destroy their weapons of mass destruction.
After all, education is what opens up the mind. Those who believe in the salvation of nature are opposing all efforts to make the humans slaves of tomorrow by promoting the concept of industries but TF can help us in understanding the real issue which is never focused and so called fanatics or radicals try to raise the awareness but due to their spoiled image in the media, none listens to them crying about the future harms. Policy makers need to understand this tool and make policies which are environment friendly and harmonious.
The writer is a phd scholar. His expertise is technology management. He can be reached at badar.minhas@gmail.com.


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