These days, new technologies emerge and evolve rapidly, touching various aspects of our lives. However, there are specific technologies that clearly show their transformative power, even in the early stages of the technology development itself. Technologies such as these must be groomed, and developed, and their implementation must be carefully planned and executed. While not every technology requires this, transformational technologies such as blockchain or artificial intelligence do need such considerations and are already receiving them from various countries’ governments and large organizations around the world.
Today, technology drives competitiveness not only for organizations, but also for countries. This means governments have to be more than just the consumer. They also have to guide and nurture the development and implementation of the technology. This is accomplished by defining and implementing national technology development policies and strategies. Similar efforts must be taken by large enterprises that want to leverage the technology in order to gain a competitive edge and provide better services/products to their users. However, there needs to be a synchronization of effort at enterprise and national levels to avoid contradiction and confusion.
Another factor that is evident in cases of transformative technologies such as blockchain or artificial intelligence is that the technology has two sides to it (i.e. it can deliver advantages if used well; however can lead to destruction as well if not used carefully.) This introduces the dimension of nations trying to manage risks while acknowledging and leveraging the positive power of these technologies. This cannot be a one-time exercise and needs continuous monitoring. The national technology development strategy provides that foundation. At the other end, technologies such robotics force nations to address their skills development differently than what has been done traditionally. In such cases, the national technology development strategy also brings in various other agencies that can manage the implications of using such transformation technologies and can continue giving the needed economic boost to the nation.
The national technology development strategy should not be pushed for every technology or even specific technology which doesn’t prove its transformative capability. During the course of the technology development, though, if any technology starts demonstrating such transformative capability, it can be brought into the remit of the national technology development program. Otherwise, enterprises as well as governments will not be able to channelize their efforts and resources towards the technologies that can deliver greater good to national economy and citizens.