By: Godfred Nelson |
Earlier in the 1970s was the dawn of computer and information technology and contingent on that was the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in basic and complex communication tools. These became the foundation of socially inclined techs we have in vogue now in the 21st century nuances of social life and business marketing.
Recently, I read in BBC news portal about how nations such as South Korea and the UK are attempting and contracting communication giants such as Huawei to exploit the advantages of a 5th Generation mobile communication network, that’s not far-fetched because tech cannot be static.
Also, recent discussions in the labour and work world have been revolving around the impacts, be it negative or positive, of artificial intelligence (AI) and machines on work. Most people fear that AI and machines threaten their economic rights and freedoms.
Some countries have tested AI in place of lawyers and they seemed to work above par, some have also tried AI in issuing judgments on cases in court, so much for technology in our days. More will follow I believe.
The fear of economically active humans albeit legitimate, has been allayed or sought to be allayed by the World Bank and other socio-economic forums through research that AI and machines can only improve work and productivity in the long run.
Transport, defense, communication, health, medicine, infrastructure and other sectors have seen improvement by admixing with technology and its advancements but while the focus of the world is on luxury and comfort (making life easier), I believe strongly, and rightly so, because research corroborates the fact that climate change and its attendant impacts of global warming (flooding, fires, droughts, famines, etc) has seen a predictable upsurge.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a global mean surface temperature increase of about 2°C by 2030.
Wildfires and the unrestrained logging of forest covers are also threatening the ecological footprint of the next generation. These show to anyone that while the world is making advancements in technology, it is lagging in leveraging this same tech in mitigating issues of climate change.
Consider plastic waste generation for instance. Of the 8.3billion tonnes of plastics that have been produced since its inception in the 1970s, about 6.3billion tonnes are still in the environment in various forms. (BBC, 2019)
If this trend continues, about 12billion tonnes of virgin plastic waste will be in the environment by 2050. Technology has not been useful enough in managing the environment and hence managing the attendant changes in the environment.
What therefore is the next big use of technology? It is difficult to acknowledge because its immediate derivatives are not seen, and it is not a provider of comfort and ease. It is difficult to accept that the next big use of technology will not be in communication, or defense, or health or transportation. These albeit very necessary, their absence will not threaten the survival of the next generation.
This is not to discount the breakthrough of tech in medicine, health and life expectancy, not at all, but the issue of climate change is that of the survival of not only the inhabitants of the earth but also the guarantee of the existence of the earth itself in forms sustainable enough of the next generation.
Technology that is focused therefore on climate change impact mitigation (CCIM) will be the next big thing, and I believe the next generation leaders of change will be the ones who instinctively cash in on such techs and by so doing, attempt to discover and produce technology that will help to among others
- Manage waste more effectively and sustainably
- Strengthen and manage green energy production
- Be the backbone of circular economies
- Educate on climate change impacts
- Track the use, reuse and disuse of plastics and help to enforce governmental policies in waste management
With these in mind among other opportunities that tech is laden with, young people must be empowered by governments and venture capitalists in the evolution and development of digital and hardware technology that will help sustain the ecological footprint of Earth while creating wealth for themselves.
The next generation of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, JD Rockefeller, Mark Zuckerberg etc will make their wealth by paying attention to leveraging technology in climate change impacts mitigation if they will be able to answer the pressing questions of “how do we make the climate safer for my grandchildren while equally making wealth enough to take care of their future needs?”