Technology Often Disruptive As Well & Eliminates Older Ways Of Doing Job. It Renders Old Skills Redundant, Management Approaches Irrelevant.

By Mansoor Ahmad

Economic planning in Pakistan is still based on somehow keeping the obsolete technologies afloat. Our competing economies are gradually pushing us from global markets even in sectors where we enjoy comparative advantage. In the previous two centuries technology played a unique role in powering growth and transforming economies. Every new technology represents new ways of doing things, and, once mastered, creates lasting change. Adopted technology becomes embodied in capital, whether physical or human, and it allows economies to create more value with less input.

However Technology Is Often Disruptive As Well And Eliminates Older Ways Of Doing A Job. It Renders Old Skills Redundant And Management Approaches Irrelevant. New technology brings down costs dramatically. For instance in 1975 a super computer closely guarded by the United States was available at $5 million. Today $250 worth android mobile phone has higher data storage and its performance is better than the 1975 supercomputer worth $5 million. This means that all smartphone holders are empowered with knowledge and information on a real time basis that was not possible three decades back.

Disruptive technologies could be used to boost the economy but to produce this technology we must have a capable human resource well versed with basic modern technologies. An economically disruptive technology has a broad reach. It touches companies, industries, and may give rise to wide range of machines, products and services. Mobile internet for instance is one such technology that has a potential to affect billions of smart mobile users. Through this one technology every user has the potential to emerge as an entrepreneur or innovator.

Economic planners should realise the pathetic human capital available in the country. They should invest in relevant new forms of education and infrastructure. Investment in human capital should be a priority of the economic planners. Separate resources should be allocated to train the youth in new technologies, independent of formal education ministries. The planners would have to evaluate the impact of disruptive technology on the comparative advantage of the country. Through prudent planning an environment could be created that ensures citizens prosperity despite technology disrupting their lives

Lawmakers would be challenged to protect the rights and privacy of citizens. New technologies demand full Protection of intellectual property rights. Our citizens need to have a clear understanding of the power of technology to shape the global economy over the coming decade and formulate policies that prepare the nation for use of these latest and future technologies. There is a misconception that technology eats up jobs though it enhances productivity substantially. Planners should keep in mind that every significant advance in economies is usually accompanied by a process of creative disruption. This disruption shifts profit pools and rearranges industry structures.

Incumbent businesses that fail to adopt the technology are thrown out of the market. In recent times this disruptive process is triggered by entrepreneurs through innovations not thought of earlier.

Economically disruptive technologies usually have the potential to create massive economic impact. These technologies may create wealth for some and increase the GDP on one hand but render capital investments in industries obsolete. However it has been established that successful technology creates more value than the value it disrupts or replaces. Advanced robotics for instance could increase productivity and profits to new heights but at the same time has the potential to reduce labour costs substantially. Similarly cloud technology has the potential to improve productivity across $3 trillion in global enterprise IT spending.

Information Technology gurus have identified 12 prevailing technologies that have the potential to dramatically change the status quo. These include Mobile internet, intelligent automation software systems, the internet of things, cloud technology, advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles, next generation genomics, advanced oil and gas exploration, 3D technology and renewable energy generation. These technologies have the potential to change comparative advantage for the nations by transforming the lives of citizens, work culture and creating new opportunities or shift surplus for businesses.

Pakistan lacks the human resource to use these technologies and innovate. In fact barring mobile internet and to some extent the software designing and limited i-cloud use the remaining high tech applications are not in use in Pakistan. Technologies already in use globally could be acquired and further developed if we prepare skilled human resources in these fields.

These technologies would be the main drivers of future growth improving the quality of life and health of individuals besides providing immense advantage to the businesses individual and societies. These technologies have the potential to change quality of life, health, and environment, patterns of consumption, and changes in nature of work.

This news was originally published at The News.