Developments in science and technology are essentially altering the way people live, connect, communicate and transact, with great effects on economic development.
Science and technology are key drivers to development, because technological and scientific revolutions support economic progresses, advancements in health systems, education and infrastructure. As a catalyst of growth, the possibilities of technology are endless, and they are still largely untapped in Africa and other developing regions across the globe. According to dictionary.com, evolution is any process of formation or growth; development. Evolution in science and technology shows advancements in the use of technology. It explains how different technologies have developed in an effective manner, aiding humans in their day to day activity. This section will focus on how science and technology has evolved over the years.
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I would streamline this discussion to how science and technology has evolved in communication, education, and agriculture.Evolution in CommunicationHow many of you seated here today have ever posted a letter? I believe not more than a handful of people here today have had to queue to buy a postage stamp.When civilization began to advance in the stone age, the most efficient form of communication for man was through canvases in caves and carvings on stones. As the years evolved, man extremely improved, then came the use of pigeons, which were used by the ancient Greeks to send messages.
From carrier pigeons, the Greeks used marathon men to deliver urgent messages. In the victory of Greece over Persia, a Marathonian ran all the way from Marathon to Athens, simply to announce the victory of Greece. I hope you students now know the history of the modern-day marathon. A distance of no less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) was covered in delivering that message of victory. Mr. Vice Chancellor Sir, I can only but wonder how this method of communication would have panned out today. The telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in 1840, this became an efficient method of making long-distance communication, prior to this however was the use of Morse code which saw message sent in packets of electric pulse.
Following the telegraph, came the electric telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Now, a lot of you students might not know what the first forms of phones were like in Nigeria. Back in the day, we used rotary dial phones and these were cherished and were only available to certain people in certain communities.
Years after, came phonebooths where we had to purchase NITEL cards. Most of the students seated here would be wondering what NITEL means. NITEL means Nigerian Telecommunications Limited and this company used to be the principal phone communications provider in the country and it used to be owned by the Government. It is safe to say Nigeria has come a long way since then.The year 1969 marked the beginning of a new era.
This year saw the launch of the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network); this is what we all commonly refer to now as the Internet. The internet brought with it a whole new world of possibilities. It birthed the world wide web in 1994; and then the instant messaging and internet chat like Yahoo Messenger was popular in 1997; created a platform for Facebook which was created by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg in 2004.
From then on, we have had other instant messaging apps like Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger. While communication has broadened the capabilities of science through expanding the amount of information in circulation, technology has forever changed the way we communicate and the way we relate to the world and each other. Communication today has become both personal and impersonal – texting, tweeting, blogging – these methods of communicating have allowed us to talk “at” a wide range of people without having to personally talk “to” them. In this, we have turned out to be more social, but less sociable. With the world becoming a more instant place, communication has been made as easy as a click on the mouse. Science & Technology Evolution in Education Education has undergone immense evolution. I would like to say it has moved from “Tablet to Tablet”. From the use of stone inscriptions to digital devices, stone slabs were the only options available but they were not effective in passing information to a larger audience.
Quality education was accessible only to the elite populace. Access to knowledge was difficult and restricted to the privileged. With evolution of civilization, educators adopted better materials for gathering, composing and sharing information. portable and affordable materials and tools started to become popular such as copper plates, palm-leaf manuscripts, and papers. Invention of paper led to the easier retrieval of previous works. My lecture today is as a result of the evolution that occurred in education as the availability of the referenced materials was due to the importance placed on knowledge transfer which has leveraged on developed technology. Access to the internet opened up the world of free knowledge resources, quality of teacher and student output has improved with the capabilities of computers as interaction, sharing and access explode.
The introduction of computers has revolutionized learning, complex calculations were made easier, multitasking became easy. Students and teachers can organize their work better.Mobile devices are now substituting exercise books and other traditional printed materials. Group learning has been made easier and has now augmented the value of education.
Tablets are now handy tools for teachers and students. It is gradually eliminating the burden of carrying text books, in the process promoting sustainability by reducing the amount of printed materials. Learning is now possible anytime, anywhere. Knowledge is now accessible anywhere and anytime with online libraries just a click away.Science & Technology in AgricultureAgriculture has been a crucible of evolutionary change ever since its inception thousands of years ago. Evolution in agriculture has seen the introduction of specialized equipment that have brought about easier ways of cultivating crops, the mortality rate in livestock has been reduced because of breakthroughs in medical research.
Agriculture of today is being practiced in a global friendly sustainable manner, where it is poised at achieving 3 main objectives; a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. Soil health is promoted, water use is minimized and pollution levels on the farm are reduced. In animal sciences, science and technology has brought about animal cloning to preserve certain animals from going into extinction and ensure that the demand for fur, hide and skin are met.
Research on the cure of diseases will now be enhanced because of these cloned animals being used as test samples.Advances in Medicine – Over the years, we have had technologically impaired limitations in the medical sector, as research was inhibited by lack of adequate technology. The advancement of technology has brought about an increase in knowledge shared in this sector which in turn has led to medical breakthroughs in virology, lab techniques, better understanding of cancer cells and genetics to mention a few. Life expectancy has increased over the last 20 decades (Klenk 2016). Let us all remember; a healthy nation is a healthy economy.
Advances in Engineering – I was privileged to stumble upon news that there are now plans to start life on Mars. I can tell you today that people are now investing in that course. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX is championing this course. Also with the drive to protect the environment and preserve the planet, new forms of energy, which are more sustainable, are being invested in.
Research is being focused on renewable sources of energy. Electric cars have been developed are being tested. Alongside electric cars, driverless cars are also emerging. All these are due to the progress that has been made in science and technology. Imagine us doing a Distance Learning program of UNILAG on Planet Mars! We could be the first!Drones are now being used to deliver medical supplies to inaccessible locations. The Internet of Things (IoT) aims at bringing a world that is interconnected whereby I could interact with my refrigerator from this podium, this has promised a future where surgeries will be performed from across continents.
We are beginning to see emergence of artificial intelligence. In addition to its security applications, companies like Amazon and Google have begun to apply the technology to regular consumers in order to simplify shopping and searching experiences on the platforms. Advancement in Banking – Bill Gates said in 1994 that “banking is necessary but banks are not”.
This, to me, was a futuristic statement. Online and mobile banking have accelerated the shift to tech-led banking. From a period where people came into banks to get tally numbers we are now in a time when coming into the bank is no longer necessary. Peer to Peer transactions are now easier.
I would like to be put on record as I say today that only banks who fit into the lifestyle of its customers will be relevant in the future. Banks have always been considered only at the point of payments making it the last point of call in an individual’s journey.