Technology and the Internet; its importance in the 21st century

Technology and the Internet; its importance in the 21st century

July 6, 2021 0 By Nana Kay

Definition for technology and the Internet?

Technology has changed the phase of human communication. According to Kumar et al (1999), technology consists of two primary components: 1) a physical component which comprises of items such as products, tooling, equipment, blueprints, techniques, and processes; 2) the informational component which consists of know-how in management, marketing, production, quality control, reliability, skilled labor and functional areas. The earlier definition by Sahal (1981) views technology as ‘configuration’, observing that the transfer object (the technology) relies on a subjectively determined but specifiable set of processes and products. Technology is always about obtaining certain results, resolving certain problems, completing certain tasks using particular skills, employing knowledge and exploiting assets (Lan and Young, 1996). 

The concept of technology does not only relate to the technology that is embodied in the product but it is also associated with the knowledge or information of its use, application and the process in developing the product (Lovell, 1998; Bozeman, 2000). Technology has changed the way people interact with others who are faraway and near by a single tap on their technological equipment. This for instance has brought people who are far away from us closer due to the advancement in the technological equipment being used today to communicate. This was not the case in the past as it took days to announce the marriage and funeral ceremony of someone to a neighboring community. And in some cases it can even take months for someone to hear about the happenings in another city because there were no android or apple devices with internet connectivity which one can snap a picture and post it on social media for others to see. Thus, the speed at which news travels was at a slower pace as compared to the 21st century where news is received on the internet within seconds of an incident.

The internet keeps people informed and allows them to plan their activities. For instance, when one goes on social media and finds out that there has been an accident on the Tema motorway and due to that, there is a heavy vehicular traffic, the person will advise him or herself if he or she is taking that route to transact a business or engage in other stuffs. Also, the emergence of technology has helped in making friends around the globe and building connections with people around the globe which was not so in the past.

The Internet and its importance

The internet has made it possible for someone to sit in the office and make friends all over the world. Technology has brought people around the globe together; a term usually referred to as ‘global village’. When one is able to connect and make friends with people in different countries, that person has all the opportunity in the world to advertise his or her business plan which in many cases receive support and direction. Some people are millionaires because technology helped them make friends with others around the globe on the internet where they were able to sell their business ideas which received support and funding. For example, Ernest Appah from the Western Region in 2016 received a scholarship from the US government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry to expand his Rubber business. This was made possible through technology.

The Internet also helps solve problems we encounter in our daily lives. American sociologist Read Bain (1937) explained that technology includes all tools, machines, utensils, weapons, instruments, housing, clothing, communicating and transporting devices and the skills by which we produce and use them. Bain believes that human beings cannot do away with technology since it is part of our everyday life. At the workplace, we use technology, in our homes we use technology, in religious settings technology is used.

The internet has made our lives simple such that one can go to the internet and get answers to questions on a variety of topics. For instance, at Ezra’s workplace at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, she was asked to draft a minute for an upcoming event where dignitaries will attend. Since she knows nothing about how to do that, she quickly goes online and searches for information on how to write a minute. She is able to get the needed information on how she will write the minute because there are a lot of articles on the internet which give in-depth information on minute writing. She quickly picks the salient information she will need in writing the minute and then prepares for the upcoming event.

The internet has assisted Ezra to find a solution to her problem. Another example was how an I-Phone user who is a Ghanaian businessman called Kwaku Danso was saved by his apple wristwatch. The watch measures his vital body functions such as pressure, and pulse. When Mr. Danso was involved in an accident, the watch sent an SOS call to rescue its owner with its location on the map and sent an alert message to his son: “Your father had an accident and I called the ambulance and you because you are on his emergency list”. Mr. Kwaku’s son gets to the hospital where the watch has told him his father was taken to and it was true Mr. Kwaku Danso was involved in an accident.  In this instance it is technology that has helped solve health related problem which could have resulted in death.

What is the importance of the internet to students?

The internet has brought improvement in our education sector. During the COVID-19 pandemic where schools were closed due to the spread of the virus, students were asked to stay home and study using their android or apple devices. Lecturers interacted with students through the internet by using the zoom app, google meet and sometimes WhatsApp. Assignments given during the Covid-19 pandemic were submitted through emails and other online platforms. Thus, technology has brought massive improvement in our education sector such that it makes learning and teaching simple. However, in time past, that was not so because technology at that time was not advanced. For instance, during Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s era, universities were closed on several occasions with varied reasons.

The closure of tertiary institutions in Ghana was rampant and some in severe situations students were asked to stay home for a year due to riots and coup d’état. If technology were advanced during those times, it would have been easier for lecturers to connect with their students through the internet and academic work could have still continued even in the house and studies would have been smooth. Another example is the invention of laptops which has helped students to complete their assignments on time. The laptops have helped students on campus to type their long essays and assignments which was not so in the past where students used to write their long essays by writing on sheets of papers.