There is immense diversity and rapid evolution of technologies with relevance to or impact on the life sciences enterprise. Their impact s may be beneficial or detrimental depending on how these tools and technologies are applied. The combination of nanotechnology and biotechnology is one such example of a synergistic combination. Many of the technologies discussed in this chapter create novel opportunities for scientists and others to explore aspects of biological and chemical diversity that cannot be accessed through natural mechanisms Page Share Cite Suggested Citation:
Even at that, the human presence, which is evident almost everywhere on the earth, has had a greater impact than sheer numbers alone would indicate. Use of that capacity has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, developments in technology have brought enormous benefits to almost all people.
The growth of agricultural technology has made possible a very large population but has put enormous strain on the soil and water systems that are needed to continue sufficient production.
Our antibiotics cure bacterial infection, but may continue to work only if we invent new ones faster than resistant bacterial strains emerge. Our access to and use of vast stores of fossil fuels have made us dependent on a nonrenewable resource. In our present numbers, we will not be able to sustain our way of living on the energy that current technology provides, and alternative technologies may be inadequate or may present unacceptable hazards.
Our vast mining and manufacturing efforts produce our goods, but they also dangerously pollute our rivers and oceans, soil, and atmosphere. The environmental consequences of a nuclear war, among its other disasters, could alter crucial aspects of all life on earth. What the future holds for life on earth, barring some immense natural catastrophe, will be determined largely by the human species.
Technological and Social Systems Interact Strongly Individual inventiveness is essential to technological innovation. Nonetheless, social and economic forces strongly influence what technologies will be undertaken, paid attention to, invested in, and used.
Such decisions occur directly as a matter of government policy and indirectly as a consequence of the circumstances and values of a society at any particular time.
In the United States, decisions about which technological options will prevail are influenced by many factors, such as consumer acceptance, patent laws, the availability of risk capital, the federal budget process, local and national regulations, media attention, economic competition, tax incentives, and scientific discoveries.
The balance of such incentives and regulations usually bears differently on different technological systems, encouraging some and discouraging others.
Technology has strongly influenced the course of history and the nature of human society, and it continues to do so. The great revolutions in agricultural technology, for example, have probably had more influence on how people live than political revolutions; changes in sanitation and preventive medicine have contributed to the population explosion and to its control ; bows and arrows, gunpowder, and nuclear explosives have in their turn changed how war is waged; and the microprocessor is changing how people write, compute, bank, operate businesses, conduct research, and communicate with one another.
Technology is largely responsible for such large-scale changes as the increased urbanization of society and the dramatically growing economic interdependence of communities worldwide. Historically, some social theorists have believed that technological change such as industrialization and mass production causes social change, whereas others have believed that social change such as political or religious changes leads to technological change.
However, it is clear that because of the web of connections between technological and other social systems, many influences act in both directions.
The Social System Imposes Some Restrictions on Openness in Technology For the most part, the professional values of engineering are very similar to those of science, including the advantages seen in the open sharing of knowledge.
Because of the economic value of technology, however, there are often constraints on the openness of science and engineering that are relevant to technological innovation.
A large investment of time and money and considerable commercial risk are often required to develop a new technology and bring it to market. That investment might well be jeopardized if competitors had access to the new technology without making a similar investment, and hence companies are often reluctant to share technological knowledge.
But no scientific or technological knowledge is likely to remain secret for very long. Patent laws encourage openness by giving individuals and companies control over the use of any new technology they develop; however, to promote technological competition, such control is only for a limited period of time.
Commercial advantage is not the only motivation for secrecy and control. Much technological development occurs in settings, such as government agencies, in which commercial concerns are minimal but national security concerns may lead to secrecy.
Because the connections between science and technology are so close in some fields, secrecy inevitably begins to restrict some of the free flow of information in science as well. Some scientists and engineers are very uncomfortable with what they perceive as a compromise of the scientific ideal, and some refuse to work on projects that impose secrecy.
Others, however, view the restrictions as appropriate. Occasionally, however, the use of some technology becomes an issue subject to public debate and possibly formal regulation. In such instances, the proposed solution may be to ban the burial of toxic wastes in community dumps, or to prohibit the use of leaded gasoline and asbestos insulation.
Rarely are technology-related issues simple and one-sided. Relevant technical facts alone, even when known and available which often they are notusually do not settle matters entirely in favor of one side or the other.The topics of investment policy, portfolio, theory and construction, asset allocation, efficient diversification, and performance evaluation are explored, along with the vital roles of computer technology and electronic trading.
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Page 1 The Changing Nature of Work My wife, a manager at Hewlett-Packard, usually has a two minute commute—a thirty foot walk from the. Information technology is now ubiquitous in the lives of people across the globe.
These technologies take many forms such as personal computers, smart phones, the internet, web and mobile phone applications, digital assistants, and cloud computing.