|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Engineering Information technologies Sustainable development|
The current world is surrounded by technological systems everywhere. Every time you look around you, you are bound to see a technological system of some kind, from the clock on the wall, your phone, the television set, and the radio. If you warmed your food in the microwave this morning, then probably you must have used a technological system. The definition of a technological system is a system that takes an input and converts it into output through its system's processes and or use. The systems are made up of components working together to transform, transport, control, store energy, information and materials (Bergek, Hekkert, Jacobsson, Markard, Sanden & Truffer, 2015). For instance, the clock on the wall is made up of systems that work together to change the output. The gears, the hands, and a battery, work such as the batter provide energy to the gears which then moves the hands at a set pace.
Science systems act as an intermediary by bringing together research into all the aspects of systems with the ultimate goal of identifying, understanding and exploring complexity patterns that cross-disciplinary fields and other application areas. Systems science seeks to develop foundation between disciplines so that they can act as the basis of theories that can be used in all types of systems (Markard, Hekkert & Jacobsson, 2015). On the other hand, economic systems refer to the means through which governments and countries or economic entities trade goods and distribute resources and services. Such systems are mainly used in the control of the five production factors, including the capital, labour, physical resources, entrepreneurs, and information resources.
Information Technology has performed several roles in some of society's most fundamental infrastructures since its early use in automation to switch telephone calls enabling the efficient operation of the network to support a growing number of callers (Bergek et al., 2015). Some of the critical infrastructures where IT has been used include the banking sector, health care, telephony, air traffic control, government payment to individuals, and individual payment to the government. The use of more IT in support of supply-chain management systems complements the typical use of IT within companies through the connection of suppliers, and enabling closer collaboration between purchasers and suppliers (Markard et al., 2015).
Most of the systems used in these contexts are of large scale, consisting of hundreds or thousands of computers and millions of coding lines, and they continuously conduct transactions. They cover many departments within organizations and or multiple organizations, or they also connect businesses to the general population. Most of these systems and applications are today known as critical infrastructure, implying that they have very vital functions in the society and the organizations within it, and in case they fail, the effects may be widespread and of significant consequences. The critical nature of these systems raises concerns about the implications and the risks associated with their failures, making it authoritative to understand better nature these systems and their interdependencies (Ghisellini, Cialani & Ulgiati, 2016).
The IT systems used in most of inter and intra-organizational applications share a lot of features in common. The first feature is that the systems are both complex, distributed, large, and subject to variable and high levels of use. These systems also can perform essential functions having extraordinary needs for reliability and trustworthy, like the need to operate with minimum corruption of information or outages, and the ability to work even while under service. Lastly, both the systems depend on IT-based automation for their monitoring, expansion, maintenance, operations, and other supporting activities.
As a result of all these described three characteristics, it makes it extremely difficult to build up and operate large IT systems. For instance, it is more difficult to build and run IT applications running on distributed systems than it is to design and run the ones running on centralized systems like the mainframe computer (Fernald, 2015). For the distributed systems, the failure of one of the computer systems has to be tolerated without necessarily compromising any data or consistency of the application, and preferably without the system getting crushed. It, therefore, calls for a lot of resources in terms of algorithm, designs, and programming techniques to build high-quality distributed system than it is required to build the older, more conventional systems.
Risks of Increased Reliance on Large-Scale Systems
In the digital age, the goal is to move on an era through the integration of information systems and relational databases which has moved organizations forward and brought people together. As a result of this, organizations have been moved from the traditional database method of paperwork to the digital age, and due to this technological elevation, organizations have been able to move forward. Most of the organizations have seen the need for being dependent on these systems, and if the needs of dependency keep increasing, it can turn into a major disaster.
Information systems can streamline the business processes of many industries, and this will cause job redundancy since the need for human labour will no longer be necessary, leading to the scaling down of staff in many industries since the customers will be able to perform most of the functions by themselves (Markard et al., 2015). Besides, most of the manual tasks being done by the staff will be bent up and outsourced to the IT firms who can adequately handle the information systems.
The result of this will be an environmental disaster of increased robbery and theft since most of these workers will be laid off, leading to more individuals getting stranded due to unemployment. According to McManus, it is agreed that information systems and technological advancement, in general, have been beneficial to the community through fastened, easier, and convenient communication, but has also amounted to some privacy issues like cell phone in the interception of signal, hacking of emails and other information by hackers on the internet, and resulting into fear to the people who believe that their private data is being sold out to various companies and that such private information has become known to the public (Ghisellini et al., 2016).
Schwalbe acknowledges that experts within organizations have a strong belief that since the introduction of internet, several issues have arisen in the job security due to the fact that technology is a fast-changing phenomenon and the employees in most of the technologically advanced firms have to be in a constant learning mode to avoid being left out since that is the only way to keep the pace with the changing advancements to retain their jobs (Fernald, 2015). It has also been explained that the dominant cultures in the world are now overruling how things should be done in the entire world. For example, British companies are fast coping the American style of doing things, while their branches that are non-English speaking do not speak their languages but instead trying to speak only in English to copy the British language.
The Impact That These Systems Have Had On Various Aspects of Our Lives
Everyone at some point must have experienced the impact of technology, both in good and in bad ways. Some of the ways through technological advancements have impacted our lives include the following.
Technology creates new products and services - in the days when telephones were first invented, the primary purposes of the device was to enable people to communicate with others verbally effectively. However, due to the changes in technology, various ways have evolved out of it, and now there are several ways of communicating such as through texts and emails.
The technological systems have also increased efficiency and lower costs of doing things. Through technology, it has now become easier to perform daily tasks with relatively less energy on the human part. For example, people have vacuum cleaning robot, and instead of spending over 30 minutes vacuuming, all they need to do is to push a button, and they head to perform some other tasks (Bergek et al., 2015). That is what is known as efficiency.
The growth of technological systems has also helped economies to evolve. Technology has enabled people to diversify ways of creating wealth. There are ripple effects, and when one technological change occurs, the way people live is also changed. Technology led to the evolution of traditional economies from that of hunting and gathering to the current industrialized economy, such that few people grow crops while more are moving into other industries.
Technological change has improved almost all industries like education, aviation, and the medical field. For example, how students are learning their lessons today is very different from how they used to do it in the past. How students would obtain information 50 years ago is different from how they do today.
There is also decreased self-reliance. Due to the technological changes over time, the role of individuals in society has also changed. Today, people rarely rely on their selves, since they rely more and more on technology than the forefathers used to do.
Accelerating and Monitoring Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals
Due to the rapid technological changes, the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be made easier through several mechanisms (Ghisellini et al., 2016). These can be improved real income due to increased productivity and reduced costs of services and good; through the enabling of broader and faster deployment of importer economic solutions, environmental and social obstacles operating as binding constraints to development; replacing the costs of production s that are costly to the environment with the sustainable ones; supporting forms of participation that are more inclusive in economic and social life; and giving powerful tools to policymakers to plan and design development interventions (Fernald, 2015). There are detailed examples provided of a wide range of applications for frontier technologies already showing the ability to accelerate progress towards achieving the goals of sustainable development.
Improving Food Security, Nutrition and Agricultural Development
About 795 million people in the world are undernourished, and the majority of these people live in rural areas and developing countries (Anderson, 2018). The four dimensions of food security which are food availability, stability, access, and use, can be addressed by new, existing, and emerging technologies. Precision farming may be catalyzed by the use of big data, drones, remote sensing, internet of things, and artificial intelligence, through reducing the use of agrochemical inputs for agricultural processes that are already existing.
For Africa, drones represent a potential opportunity for leapfrogging in terms of precision agriculture, through the enabling of more effective measurements of and also in response to variability in animal and crop production. Machine learning and genetic sequencing are used in the detection of soil quality to help increase the quality of crops (Anderson, 2018). Machine learning is applied to satellite imagery and drones in the building of detailed weather models that can help farmers make decisions that are more informed to maximize their production.
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