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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. Interdependent and overlapping methods which employ both existing
knowledge and existing know-how.
3. 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.
4. 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. We need to niche because:


a. Resources are limited; there is not enough for all.
b. 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.
c. Regional/ cress border groups are rapidly shaping up. The individual
or specific role of nations must be clear.
2. 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 state-
of-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.