I was wondering if there is any connection between technology and culture, and finally I realized, there is! The kind of connection I’m talking about is not the culture that affects brands and sales, like the tech culture that has made the smart phones and tablets a multi-billion dollar business, but I’m referring to the culture that makes it possible to create smart phones, tablets, and cutting edge technology.
When technology is mentioned, some nations stand out: America, Germany, India, China, Russia, Israel, and a host of others, and I wonder if there is more to it than meets the eye. It takes more than money, investment in research and technology, government policies and smart business acumen to turn a nation in to a tech giant, it takes a cultural reform as well. The tie between technology and culture is inseparable. Real technological advancement takes decades of consistent efforts, determinations, relentlessness, focus, and impeccable taste for perfection and excellence to build.
Look at the evolution of light from incandescent, to fluorescent to LED, or the evolution of transportation from beasts of burden to wheeled carts, to locomotives, rails, combustion engines, air planes, and space shuttles; how about the transition from mainframe, to the PC, tablet and smart phone. All these technologies evolved within a small group of nations and it took all the above mentioned qualities in the hearts and minds of the people involved, even in the face of poverty, hunger and lack of funds.
A culture that is plagued with a mindset of survival, self-centeredness, and greed does not have what it takes to build technology, and that unfortunately is the prevailing mindset in Africa. Until we grow beyond the point where we live and work just for our own survival, and ascent to the place where the essence of our life and work becomes an issue of national development, legacy, impact, all with a high taste for perfection, we are not ready for real technological development.
Look at our civil service, our law enforcement agencies, politicians, business owners, and even students and you will realize that the prevailing culture is not fit for technology that is why till now, we are still the world’s largest consumers and least producers.
I have no intention of being cynical in my views, or blindly judgmental of my own culture, neither do I say that this is true for everyone, but it is a fact for too large a number of people in Nigeria and Africa.
The day students embark on projects with the aim of contributing to society, and entrepreneurs open businesses with clear visions and goals other than “make money at the lowest possible cost”, and the day that leaders in various aspects of society sit and work, knowing they are creating tomorrow, then we are ready to take on the world.