Simon Trace is the CEO of the international development charity Practical Action, which works to help poor people in the developing world use technology to transform their lives.
Human development has gone hand-in-hand with technical change. Technology (defined for these purposes as both knowledge and tools) enables people to achieve well-being with less effort and drudgery, or at lower cost and with fewer resources. Technical innovation is essential for people to be able to make more effective use of the resources available to them and to respond to social, economic and environmental changes.
For those of us lucky enough to live today in one of the so-called “developed nations,” modern technology is so woven into the fabric of our daily lives that we barely notice how dependent we are on it. But remove even just one simple strand and things start to unravel very quickly, as a simple thought experiment demonstrates.