TWC Lesson 2

Today’s lesson consisted of 2 parts-technology & global dominance and technology & human development. Starting off with the first half,  we looked into the different dimensions of global dominance such as economic,cultural and military etc and how the characteristics of dominant countries in the field allowed them to succeed/fail.

What i had gathered from the Shahi Organizational Behavioral Model was that countries and nations which have succeeded were deemed as rising stars-meaning they displayed a very open perspective and were forward-looking. They were generally hungry for innovation and were humble enough to realise the constant need to invest in new ideas and ways to progress the nation. On the other hand, the “falling stars” represented nations that have declined and these nations were generally said to be pessimistic, had a very closed perspective and refused to innovate and create plans for the country.  Hence the difference in the mindsets of dominant players is a tell-tale sign as to what the nation will become.

I guess one of the key takeaway points from this is that the past is vital in shaping the way we become. We need to constantly learn from our mistakes so that we can grow to become more matured and open to new challenges. Its about looking forward and thinking of new ways to improve ourselves.

Next, we diverted our attention away to technology & human development & its impact on world change.

What is human development? According to Prof. Amartya Sen, professor of Economics at Havard University, “Human development, as an approach, is concerned with what I take to be the basic development idea: namely, advancing the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it.” I truly agree with this statement. In my opinion, what fulfills the “human life” is probably these factors-the access to proper sanitation and water, basic education and healthcare.  But the question is, how do we even measure human development?  The Human Development Index (HDI) measures factors such as life expectancy, GDP per capita, literacy rate and mean years of schooling. But are these factors really enough to measure human development?
In fact, do the high GDP per capitas of countries like Norway and United States really suggest that the country is doing and progressing well? Could it also be a question of a widening income gap(which is measured by the Gini Coefficient) in the country since there evidently are groups of less-well off people living here too? Have we failed to take into account other intangible factors such has happiness level of the people (which is measured by Gross National Happiness)? We need to learn not to forget about our social and mental well-being because they are just as important aspects in advancing the richness and quality of human life as well.

I personally thought Sylvester’s presentation on eugenics was an eye opener. It raises a very important question about the human race. Is it ethical to choose the genes we want? Does that mean that if we can choose to have ‘good’ genes, we will be accepted in society then? And those who have bad genes will be stereotyped? I feel that eugenics will only worsen the problem between the superior and inferior in our society and will affect the quality of life.

Despite the fact the discussions had to be cut short due to lack of time, I felt the lesson was informative and there was quite a broad scope of discussion on Technology and Global dominance and human development. Hence, i rate the lesson 8/10!

TWC Lesson 1

Before I came for Prof Shahi’s class, I had the impression that Technology & World Change was going to be another one of those GP lessons where we discuss the benefits and hazards of technology and write essays about it. Boy i was wrong… What i gathered from my first lesson was much more than that- specifically the history of how technology came about and the different revolutions(E.g. Fire, Writing, Green Revolution) that have taken place over the past centuries. It was definitely an eye-opener lesson for me, as I got to explore how different types of technology have progressed and impacted our lives today.

We started off the lesson with ice breakers to ease the tension in class and it was quite interesting to find out very unexpected things about my classmates! Next, we had to mention what technology & world change meant to us. Generally, the consensus was that technology is a double edged sword, for example, how smart phone technology has played a vital role in our lives for communication, but has inadvertently caused us to be distant from one another physically.

One part of the lesson that got me thinking would be when we were discussing about Yali’s question in the book-Guns Germs & Steel. “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” After much discussions from the floor, I guess the answer to the question would be due to the different geographical locations. Since the island of New Guinea is rather isolated and inaccessible, the people living there probably did not have much contact with others. and this hindered the development of technology in New Guinea.

TAKEAWAY POINTS: 1) Many factors such as culture and location have led to civilisation.
2) Change is inevitable-Technology is constantly changing to suit more of our desires today.

I would rate today’s lesson a 7/10 as it has really enlightened me more about technology and world change and made me more open to concepts and ideas for this topic.

Till then,
XX, Olanda Cherie