SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY What are Science, Technology and society, and why should people want
to study and learn it? Why should students, teachers, researchers and other professionals have interest in the subject? Primarily, we need some background and understanding of the significance of science and technology in the living past and their importance in the modern world (Mosteiro,2004) DEFINITIONS OF SCIENCE. 1. SCIENCE IS A PROCESS a. Concerned with discovering relationships between observable phenomena in terms of theories. b. Systematized theoretical inquiries c. It seeks for truth about nature. d. It is determined by observation, hypothesis, measurement, analysis and experimentation e. It is the description and explanation of the development of knowledge f. It is the study of the beginning and end of everything that exist. g. Conceptualization of new ideas, from the abstract to the particular. h. Kind of human cultural activity. 2. SCIENCE IS A PRODUCT a. Systematized, organized body of knowledge based on facts or truths observations. b. A set of logical and empirical methods which provide for the systematic observation of empirical phenomena. c. Source of cognitive authority. d. Concerned with verifiable concepts e. A product of the mind f. It is the variety of knowledge, people, skills, organizations, facilities, techniques, physical resources, methods and technologies that taken together and in relation with one another.
The Nature of Science
Prof. Pacifico U. Payawal “Science is the interpretation of nature and man is the interpreter.”(G. Gore 1878)1 “Nature, with all her irregularities, might have been just as real even if there were no men to observe and to study her. But there could have been no science without human beings, or beings like them. It is the spirit of man brooding over the stream of natural events that has given birth to science.” (A Wolf 1925).2 “Science is the attempts to make the chaotic diversity of our sense experience correspond to a logically uniform system of thought.” (A. Einstein 1940)3 What is Science? According to the definitions given by gore, Wolf, and Einstein, the subject matter of science is nature. Every physical entity in the extra terrestrial and terrestrial environment is a component of nature. The galaxies, the stars in the galaxy, the planets and their moons, the asteroids and the comets, the air, water, and soil; the plants
and the animals, they are physical entities of Mother Nature. We are conscious of nature’s reality because of the stimuli emanating from these entities which our sense perceived. Nature is very complex. The multitudes of entities comprising nature, and their complex interactions, make nature innately complex. Therefore, the totality of stimuli emanating from her is intuitively chaotic. Science represents the attempt of man to put order to this chaotic perception of nature. Thus, Albert Einstein 3 defined science as “Man’s attempts to make the chaotic diversity of his sense experience correspond to a logically uniform system of thought.” And indeed, as G. Gore1 wrote,” Science is the interpretation of nature and man is the interpreter.” And as A. Wolf2 opined,” It is the spirit of man brooding over the stream of natural events that has given birth to science,” Clearly, science is the product of human curiosity. Why are we curious? It is almost an instinct for us humans to try to understand what our senses perceived because of our highly developed mental skills. These are the mental skills to observe, infer, measure, classify, experiment, and to communicate. Through the ages, our ancestors learned to use these skills in a methodical manner to investigate the ‘how,’ the ‘why,’ and the ‘when’ of natural events. This methodical manner to our mental skills to satisfy human curiosity is the scientific method. Using the scientific method, generation after generation pf scientist gradually discovered the natural laws that govern natural processes. As each generation described with an ever increasing accuracy the events and circumstances that prevail in nature, what was once perceived as chaotic becomes rational, and man saw the unity in the diversity of nature. In other word, the scientific endeavors spanning several generations yielded a number of natural laws. These laws reduce natural events in nature to orderly predictable events. What sets the limitation of science? Science is a product of the human senses and the human mind and that is why there could be no science in the absence of an intelligent being like a human or any other intelligent creature like him. And therein lies the limitation of science; the limitation of the human senses and the limitation of the human mind. We can not investigate what our senses cannot perceive, and we can not explain beyond what our human mind can understand. As a matter of fact, the optical and the electron microscope, the optical and radio telescopes, and all the other new scientific instruments are but the result of our attempts to extend our sense of perception.
How does science operate? Science is a self correcting and self-generating human activity. Using the scientific method, each generation of scientist develop explanations of natural phenomena but at the same time, within the same generation, there are scientists who question the validity of the proposed explanations. And within the same generation, there are scientists who arrive at some new observations which lead to the identification of new and heretofore undescribed phenomena. In this manner science is self-correcting and self-generating, it is never stagnant. How does the Scientific Method operate? The scientific method is a mental process which serves as the “tool” of scientist with which new discoveries are made Although the scientific method is traditionally characterized as a rigid mental process consisting of (a) observation, (b) problem identification, (c) hypothesis formulation, and (d) drawing of conclusions as to the possible validity if the prediction, scientists are not in general agreement as to exactly what constitutes scientific procedure. In reality, this rigid process called the scientific method did prove useful in some particular instances, like in biology where the problem is amenable to experimental manipulation. But in some other cases, the problem may not be amenable to controlled manipulation, like in the geological process of volcanic eruption and mountain building. Under such unmanageable events, the traditional scientific procedure is unrealistic. What seems to be common to all scientific investigations is that scientific procedure involves postulating and testing hypothesis. The testing part may or may not strictly involve experimentation but accurate observations. In other words, not all scientists necessarily conduct experiments to prove hypotheses. In the development and proving of hypotheses, scientists use inductive and deductive logic, but they do not tend to think exclusively in one way or the other at different times. In practice, they use the interplay of inductive and deductive logic. Inductive logic proceeds from the specifies and arrives at a generalization. On the contrary, deductive proceeds from the general to the specific. To be sure, the following examples are in order. Inductive logic involves arriving at a probable conclusion based on several samplings. Suppose that a person tasted a green mango and found it sour and slightly tangy to the taste buds. Then he subsequently tasted 24 other mangoes and found the same result. Based on the these 25 samplings, he may then conclude that all green mangoes are sour and tangy to the taste. Inductive logic thus proceeds from several specific observations to a generalization. Most of the major theories are arrived at I this manner. For example, the
Cell Theory, the Theory of Biological Evolution by Natural Selection, and the theory of plate tectonics, all these are generalizations arrived at by inductive reasoning. Deductive logic proceeds from a generalization to specifics. For example, after testing 25 green mangoes and finding them sour and tangy, one may hypothesize that the next mango he will taste will be sour and tangy. This kind of reasoning is used to formulate a new hypothesis after a generalization. For example, the generalization that all green mangoes are sour and tangy was arrived at after 25 green mangoes. From this generalization, the scientists may further formulate a new hypothesis using deductive logic. If 25 green mangoes are sour and tangy, then the next green mango I will taste should be sour and tangy. If indeed the mango tasted sour and tangy, then the validity of the original generalization has gained greater probability (or credibility). Thus, the scientific procedure; or science progress by the interplay of inductive and deductive reasoning. It should be pointed out however that inductive generalization never attain absolute certainty. They only attain higher degrees of probability. For example, the probability that all green mangoes are sour and tangy based on 25 samples has a lower degree of certainty than if the sample size is increased to 20 mangoes. But even if the sample size is increased tom 1000 green mangoes, still there is no absolute certainty that all green mangoes are sour and tangy. The number of green mangoes is infinite and no one can be absolutely certain the next green mango to be tasted will not be sweet. Thus science can only seek for the most probable truth and never for the absolute truth. A.W. Ghent developed a conceptual scheme to illustrate the role of inductive and deductive logic in the conduct of scientific investigation. The scheme shows that scientific procedure begins with an educated guesswork about the probable explanation to a perceived problem. The guesswork is an educated guess based on previously known facts related to the problem. The scientists then make a prediction based on the guesswork; this is the hypothesis. Thus, hypothesis formulation involves deductive reasoning and goes this way,’ If(an assumption is made based on the guesswork), then (the prediction that is expected if the assumption is valid). The prediction is actually the anticipated event to happen if the assumption is correct. Experiments or factual observations are then made to prove the validity of the hypothesis. Usually, the result of the experiment/observations may overlap only slightly with those predicted by the hypothesis. Nevertheless, the result allows the investigator to arrive
inductively at new and more realistic concept (guesswork) about the explanation as the problem. From the improved guesswork, a new and more realistic hypothesis is made by deductive logic. Experimentation/observations are then made to test the new hypothesis which normally results in a much improved guesswork. Thus, the interplay of deductive and inductive reasoning contributes to increasingly realistic concept of explanation to a problem. I other words, the interplay yields increasingly reliable factual knowledge less and less of guesswork. Is technology a part of science? The little we understood about nature we were able to use to develop technologies that enabled us to survive and progress; and to be the most dominant animal species on earth. But technology is not science. Science only seeks to understand nature, no more no less; technology is but the application of what science has discovered, for better for worst. That is why usefulness is not a prerequisite to the generation of knowledge; on the contrary, usefulness is the primary prerequisite to the generation of technology.
DEFINITIONS OF TECHNOLOGY On the same view, technology is defined as both a PROCESS and a PRODUCT 1. TECHNOLOGY AS A PROCESS a. It is the application of science. b. The practice, description, and terminology of applied sciences. c. The intelligent organization and manipulation of materials for useful purposes. d. The means employed to provide for human needs and wants. e. Focused on inventing new or better tools and materials or new and better ways of doing things. f. A way of using findings of science to produce new things for a better way of living. g. Search for concrete solutions that work and give wanted results. h. It is characteristically calculative and imitative, tends to be dangerously manipulative. i. Form of human cultural activity. 2. TECHNOLOGY AS A PRODUCT a. A system of know-how, skills, techniques and processes. b. It is like a language, rituals, values, commerce and arts, it is an intrinsic part of a cultural system and it both shapes and reflects the system values. c. It is the product of the scientific concept. d. The complex combination of knowledge, materials and methods. e. Material products of human making or fabrication. f. Total societal enterprise. DEFINITIONS OF SCEINCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. A field of endeavor upon which a two-way interaction operates between science and technology.
2. 3. 4.
Interdependent and overlapping methods which employ both existing knowledge and existing know-how. A system of know-how, skills, techniques and processes which enable society to produce, distribute, install, maintain or improve goods and services needed to satisfy human needs. Is an interdisciplinary field of study that seeks to explore and understand the many ways that modern science and technology shape modern culture, values and institutions, and how modern values shape science and technology.
PURPOSES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. To improve quality of human condition. 2. To provide solution to our practical problems. 3. To establish relevant institutional linkages and essential mechanisms 4. To develop individual knowledge. 5. To find order in the chaos of nature and deliver personal and social liberation 6. To give an information and explanation of the natural world 7. To develop new areas of knowledge 8. To combat irrationality. 9. To maintain the availability of natural resources LIMITATIONS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. Epistemological concerns. It cannot help us with questions about the God, the ultimate Good, and Truth. It cannot deny nor confirm the existence of God, soul, heaven and other uncertainties. 2. Metaphysical concerns. Immaterial and transcendental nature is beyond the grasp of scientific inquiry. It cannot speak to issues of ultimate origin, meaning, or morality. 3. Axiological concerns. It cannot answer questions about value. 4. Dependent on the values and personal beliefs of those who use it. 5. Use of natural resources that are being used in science and technology are limited 6. Data is limited to the physically observable. 7. Ultimately rest on past observations 8. Not all of its principles are applicable to different world phenomena. 9. Needs human intervention to carry out its functions properly 10. It can predict forces of nature but it cannot prevent the prevent the prevalence/occurrence 11. Can not guarantee an ultimate solution to any specific problem. 12. Can not fully explain what is in the mind of a person. TECHNOLOGY Technological leadership is vital to the national interest of any developing and developed nation. As we enter the twenty-first century, humans ability to harness the power and promise of leading-edge advances in technology will determine, in large measure, national prosperity, security, and global influence, and with them the standard of living and quality of life. Requirements for technological innovations 1. research and development 2. cadre of scientists and engineers 3. diverse manufacturing base 4. productive workforce 5. broad and sophisticated service sector 6. climate and culture that encourage competition, risk taking and entrepreneurship Technology and Economy
1. Technology is the single most important determining factor in sustained economic growth, estimated to account for as much as half a nation’s growth over the past 50 years. 2. Technology is transforming the very basis of competition-enabling small businesses to perform high-quality design and manufacturing work that previously required the resources of big business, while allowing big businesses to achieve the speed, flexibility, and proximity to customers that were once the sole domain of smaller firms. 3. Technology provides the tools for creating a spectacular array of new products and new services. Technology and the Quality of Life New technologies are improving the quality of life. These are seen in: 1. Medical research in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices helps us lead healthier lives and offers new hope for the sick. 2. Environmental research brings better monitoring, prevention, and remediation technologies. 3. Advanced monitoring and forecasting technologies – from satellites to simulation – are helping to save lives and minimize property damage by severe weather. 4. Sophisticated traffic management systems for land, sea, and air transportation enable the smooth and timely movement of more people and goods. 5. Agricultural research is producing safer, healthier, and tastier food products. 6. Automobile research is providing safer, cleaner, energy efficient, and more intelligent vehicles. 7. Aeronautical technology is making air travel safer, less costly, and more environmentally compatible. 8. Energy research is helping to deliver cleaner, renewable, and less expensive fuels. 9. Information and telecommunications technologies have enabled instantaneous communications around the globe. Emerging Technology Issues 1. Information Age. Important issues include: fair rules of competition, the protection of intellectual property, the security of business transactions in electronic commerce, individual rights to privacy, law enforcement investigation, upgrading the skills of the workforce, and integrating information technologies into the educational system and the delivery of government services. 2. Global Investments. Support for research and technology development remains strong in the advanced industrial nations such as U.S., Japan and the countries of the European Union. Several Asian countries – including South Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia – are rapidly developing technical capabilities that will enhance their competitive position in global markets. Many industrializing countries are emphasizing the development of indigenous technological capabilities – increasing research and development investments, establishing research institutes and key technology programs, forming government-industry partnerships, boosting technical manpower development programs, modernizing key manufacturing sectors, and planning for information superhighways. Technology Policy. 1. retain a long-term commitment to research education, and innovation. 2. create a business environment in which the innovative and competitive efforts of the private sector can flourish 3. encourage the development, commercialization, and the use of civilian technology 4. create a world-class infrastructure for the twenty-first century to support industry and promote commerce
5. develop a world-class workforce capable of participating in a rapidly changing knowledge-based economy. THE STATE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE PHILIPPINES GEARING TOWARDS POVERTY ALLEVIATION William G. Padolina 02 March 2000 GLOBAL COMPETITIVES AND PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT Global developments underscore the important role of science and technology world trade has been liberalized, exerting pressure for innovation; economic activity has become knowledge-intensive, requiring competence in the emerging technologies elaborately transformed manufactured products, developed through the individual countries’ system of innovation, have become the major items in world trade, making the capability to add value the basis for competitiveness, it is, thus, appropriate that assessment be made of the state of science and technology in the Philippines. In an increasingly technological world, we are told that the competitive edge lies with those nations or companies who are either first or best; to open or conquer new markets, or pioneer in the development of next generation products that will shape our lives the way telecommunications and antibiotics have. Admittedly, the Philippines still has to reach a level of excellence in terms of scientific discoveries and innovation and wealth creation. Whatever it has of a national system for innovation is weak. It educational system, something to be proud of before, a showing signs of decline. There are examples if world-class companies, but also a long trail of mediocrity in industries that are demonstrably in terminal decline. It has been noted that economic activity in the global scene is becoming increasingly knowledge-intensive. Studies between 1964 and 1987, importation of raw materials and non-fuel minerals in the world market decreased from 17% to 6% of total imports, while more elaborate products like machinery and transport equipment increased from 19% to 33% of total imports over the same period.
The observation that the elaborately transformed manufactured products such as pharmaceuticals, electronics equipment and motor vehicles are the major players in the growth of world trade underscore the role of science and technology in enhancing national capability to create new wealth by absorbing new manufacturing and processing
techniques. The importance of technology is increasing in the knowledge-based economy. Rapid and continuous improvements in products and manufacturing techniques, as well as, efficient marketing strategies, give business the competitive edge. Achieving global competitiveness and people empowerment to propel the country towards a newly industrializing economy around the turn of the century maybe considered as a bid to increase production of world-class elaborately transformed manufactured goods and also to provide world-class services sophisticated enough to serve an international clientele. This translates to having the policy and regulatory environment, the human capability, and the physical infrastructure to enable us to deliver such goods and services at the right price, quality and time. These necessities a movement from what Alvin Toffler calls the “first wave” technologies to the “third wave” science-based technologies within an economic milieu that is’ trisected,” i.e., characterized by the existence of all three levels of technological development, in different stages of development and application.
The capability to add value to goods or services is now the basis for competitiveness. The higher the value added, more and new wealth is created, bringing greater returns to the economy. It is now clear that economic development is not achieved by increased infusion of labor and capital but by improving economic efficiency or productivity. OUR DEVELOPMENT AGENDA Development could be redefined in terms of the capacity to generate, acquire, disseminate, and use knowledge, both modern and traditional.
It is in this light that I submit that without S and T capacity, no country will be able to formulate policies and strategies for achieving sustainable development; absorb, adapt, and improve imported technology; or expect to develop its production potential, even in those areas where it has competitive advantages.
But the journey is going to be tough. Although economic arguments linking R and D investment to wealth creation have largely been won, even though science is higher on the government’s list of priorities, government funding for R and D has remained steady, at the very least, but declining in real terms. Furthermore, too little of the great power of modern science and technology has been directed at development. The attempted mobilization of scientist in developed countries to deal with problems found mainly in developing countries has not been very successful; and the S and T capabilities of developing countries are far too limited to deal adequately with the enormous problems of development. Our capacity to generate, acquires, disseminate, and use knowledge is limited. A Mr. John gibbon, the former presidential assistant for S and T of the US, has said that the ROI of R and D is in the order of 50%. He also gives the following advice;
“S and T is the seed corn, and we have to resist the temptation to eat that seed torn rather that to plant and nourish it.’ Due to severe resource limitations, we in the developing countries are already eating our seed corn. Only about 4 percent of the world’s expenditure on R and D and about 14% of the world’s supply of scientist and engineers are in developing countries where more than 80% of the world’s people live . And yet the world’s population is now increasing at the rate if three people per second (IDRC) While one hectare of productive land is being lost every 8.23 seconds (IDRC). All evidence points to a continuation of this trend; 6 billion people will be living on earth by the year 2000. The equivalent of a new Bangladesh with 100 million inhabitants will be created annually (IDRC). Our perseverance in instituting the repair mechanism in correcting scientists’ mistakes have been made doubly difficult considering that globalization express humanity to processes that are dispassionate, brutally calculating, and fickle. We can only cite with a sense of helplessness, for example, the current speculative assaults into some ASEAN local currencies.
To explain the Asian crisis, many observers only focus on depth and currency problems. What is overlooked is that most ASEAN corporations fail to deliver world-class returns on capital. Knowledgeable observers trace this partly to a week S and T base, even in Korea which has barely reached the innovation stage. Asian conglomerates returns on capital employed average 5 to 8%, while eastern multinationals in the same markets average 25 to 35%. Thus we are pertness to assault that challenge the real productive competence of or nation. To reinforce this observation, we note that even as early as 1942, Joseph A. Schumpeter in his book Capitalisms, Socialism and democracy said: “But in capitalist reality, as distinguish from its textbook picture, it is not (price) completion which counts but the completion from the commodity, the new technology, the source, of supply, the new type of organization… completion which… strikes not at the margins… of the existing firms but at their foundations and their very lives.’
Obviously, the path we have not assiduously taken is the path towards innovation. Evidence is now clear that technological innovation raises productivity and cuts work time. For example, it took 82.86 hours to produce one vehicle in 1962; this was reduced to 37.12 hours in 1970. PROMOTING INNOVATION Establishing a strategic enabling environment for innovation, and eventually competitiveness, especially in tech transfer and acquisition are both recognized as vital elements in coping with poverty and globalization. What are the critical roles of science and technology? Let us turn to what Ron Nichols of the NYAS (1997) has to say: “Of course, battering against long-standing doctrines is no easy business. To be successful, one must show profound original, but one must adhere to the highest standards of evidence and inference. Without the discipline to follow those standards, to resist the clamor for shortcuts, the dreams remain empty frequently though, the public does not readily discriminate between wishful novelty and proven advance… quality control is what has earned for science its special claims to knowledge.” What Mr. Nichols refers to is the urgent need to eliminate speculation and guesswork in our activities. The information to minimize uncertainty is derived from scientific work. Science underpins risk management decisions involving many aspects of national life. The containment and eradication of threats to human, animal and plant health, weather
forecasting, and correct time information are some examples of minimizing uncertainty. It is also science and technology that provides the basis for preventing non-tariff trade barriers fostered by protectionist lobby, from strangling world trade. These technical barriers include unusual requirements to technical regulations covering packaging and labeling. How do we translate this into solid, long lasting interventions? 1. Niching- seizing the opportunities for change. a. b. We need to niche because:
Resources are limited; there is not enough for all. We cannot be winners in all areas .We should therefore accord low priority to areas where we cannot priority competitive now, or we cannot be competitive ever. We must position ourselves to be agile.
Regional/ cress border groups are rapidly shaping up. or specific role of nations must be clear. Enlightened government intervention
Leapfrogging to free market economy may not be advisable for developing countries because of the inability of the private sector to absorb and assure all the risks. Government will have to assume part of the risks to allow the private sector to move forward. Clinton and Gore (1993) noted that: “We cannot rely on the serendipitous application of defense technology to the private sector. We must aim directly at these new challenges and Focus efforts on the new opportunities before us, recognizing that government can play a key role helping private firms develop and profit from innovation.” There are either roles that the government is expected to play. These include: ensuring a strong base of fundamental science providing a business environment that fosters innovation and investment. Investment in research that is critical to the economic and social needs of
the nation but cannot attract private sector support ensuring S and T security. maintaining a certain level of self reliance to allow us to add value to new knowledge and technologies transferred. The message is that we should recognize that the market, left entirely to its own devices, is unlikely to guarantee an optimal level of research. R and D is characterized by high rates of market failure and high start-up costs. 3. Increased private sector participation
A sustainable science base depends ultimately on the private sector and the preparedness of industry to invest in S and T. Let us remember that while government is expected to establish the enabling environment for high performance, it is still the individual company that has to compete. The ability to compete will be enhanced by its innovation capacity through R and D. I should say that in the ultimate, it is our science and technology competence that will enable us to manage knowledge. Scattered bodies of knowledge can be brought together so that people who use them can work faster and better. This will also enable us to establish structural intellectual assets, such as information systems, knowledge of market channels and relationships, and management focus; turn individual know-how into a property of the group. Unraveling lines of authority and laying out new ones will be the main task of the new knowledge workers. What is clear is that the future belongs to the knowledge workers. Technology has given them the tools to build a world in constant transformation. We can only stand in awe at the changes brought about the following: transistor photocopier fax PC
It is therefore imperative that training a workforce with greater reasoning and mathematical skills who can master complexities of a new process technologies. As is becoming increasingly apparent in the ferocious international battle for technology’s products and markets, the contributions made by human capital and intellectual resources are crucial to the economic vitality of the country. These intellectual resources can be used to transform business and create new models for global competition. It is about change. And its future depends on the ability to accommodate dramatic, often unexpected change. We find in the records of the US Congress the letter of Congressman Watkins to Congressman Brown (1992): “The science and technology base of the laboratories provide what I call this infrastructure for solving problems of great complexity. It is this infrastructure that I
propose to bring to bear on the question of the competitiveness of our industries and business. This should be done in partnership with business and universities… business can provide the market pull on the talents of the laboratories that will assure their work is relevant” HIGH TECH AND POVERTY The conventional short term, but politically attractive gains of poverty alleviation programs are indeed very tempting. They are valuable approaches, but they have their limitations in that we are not liberated from the vicious cycle of squalor and want. Human societies that have, by and large, found some solutions to liberate major portion of their population from poverty have anchored their programs on productivity. And this is where modern science and technology can make significant contribution. The solutions will not be easy to discern and we have to go beyond our ivory towers. We have to get to the jugular. Individually, we all have to contribute to the commencement of a new chapter- the modernizing, progressive chapter-and become an active partner in the national system for innovation rather than become a reactionary force in the modernization of S and T in the Philippines. Sad to say, Philippine S and T is still beset by some reactionary elements who refuse or cannot accept the inevitable onslaught of the emerging technologies and refuse to retool. We have a few in our ranks who believe that high technology is not for poor. It is this mindset that continues to undermine our efforts to get to the jugular; to replace the paradigm of regarding the poor as the Cinderella of national development to the paradigm that is more strategic, knowledge-based, scientific long-term. But suffice it to say that we scientists must in fact be part of the solution and not the problem. Our national efforts towards poverty alleviation need, among others, trained people who are familiar with the frontiers of subjects and thus can help assess the potentials of new processes and technologies. Nations must retain capacity to identify and absorb emerging technologies, which are the most solid instruments for human development. ON COMPETITIVENESS While it is clear to many that industry and services must be competitive, agriculture, because of its role of food security, is perceived as something that need not or cannot be
competitive, like the armed forces or the national police. But agriculture deals with tradable items and is directly linked to the vagaries of the global market. Furthermore, agriculture, If closely examined is as information-intensive as a manufacturing operation. It is high time we eliminate guesswork in standards of products, which, in fact, demand precision. Unfortunately, government is saddled by a number of constraints, such as outdated missions, effectiveness that is compromised by bureaucratic constraints, and the inability to attract the best scientific talent, the most experienced management, or stateof-the-art equipment. One way to overcome constraints is for the agricultural community to take advantage of the developments in biotechnology and information technology. Indeed, contrary to some traditional view that agriculture is a low-technology activity, there are many examples, which show that agriculture is indeed a knowledge-intensive activity. The earlier we disabuse our minds from the traditional views, the faster we can extricate ourselves from the notions that agriculture need not and cannot be competitive, especially for the poor farmers of the developing countries. This defeatist attitude has caused many farming operations to be inefficient, with the farmer feeling helpless and losing control of his operations. Government, on the other hand, fearful of social unrest, persists in providing short-term rescue measures that perpetuates the vicious cycle. Another important function of this knowledge base in the effective management of the tense is relationship between sustainability and productivity. The harmonious relationship between maintaining adequate levels of productivity and preserving the integrity of our environment can only be enhanced if we have an adequate understanding of the impact of human activity on how nature operates. This includes studies on the regenerative capacity of natural ecosystems and the earth’s capacity to absorb waste. And at no other time in the history of science are more and more secrets of nature being unlocked than now. Thus availability of the powerful tools of information technology should be exploited to serve the purposes of defining sustainable productivity, especially at the farm level. CONCLUDING REMARKS In closing, I would like to reiterate the call to act quickly and purposively for the Filipino people, we acknowledge that time is the least that we have of, and for that reason, we must continually redirect our resources to task and select programs and interventions that bode the most direct impact on improving the lives of Filipinos afflicted poverty.
We must train Filipinos who are adaptable to a broad range of new technologies. In this knowledge-driven competitive environment, Filipinos workers must possess the talent, skill, and willingness to learn in order to be able to make innovation a vital partner in poverty alleviation. In the ultimate, it is the competence and skill of our workforce that will enable as to manage knowledge. Scattered bodies of knowledge can be brought together so that people who use them can work faster and better. This will also enable us to establish structural intellectual assets, such as information system, knowledge of market channels and customer relationships, and management focus; turn individual know how into a property of the group. Unraveling lines of authority and laying out new ones will be the main task of the new knowledge workers. What is clear is that the future belongs to the knowledge workers. Technology has given them the tool to build a world in constant transformation. It is therefore imperative to train a workforce we greater reasoning and mathematical skills who can master the complexities of new process technologies. Above all else, the only way we can ever cope and flourish in the face of today’s challenges is by adhering to the highest standards of excellence. We wish to promote the ethic of excellence, a most democratic ideal in which only requirement is to bring out the best in all of us. Effective leaders learn how to delegate as a matter of course. But they do not delegate the one thing that only they can do with excellence, the one thing that will make a difference, the one thing that will set standards, the one thing they want to be remembered for. They just do it. Having said these let ends with a oft-repeated statement that the shortcut to development is never science and technology alone, but in development itself.