Science and technology (S&T) is essential to the development of human civilisation. From ancient times, people have learned by observation and trial and error, and this is the heart of the scientific discipline. They learned that every plant has the ability to reproduce for crop cultivation, allowing them to end their hunting-for-food nomadic life and switch to settled communities. They planted wheat and barley, which can be used to make porridge, bread, and beer. They learned to extract metal from ores to produce tools. They domesticated cattle for farming. Their inventions and discoveries, ranging from the wheel, paper-making, silk harvesting, and the clock, to abstract mathematical concepts such as algebra and arithmetic are still being utilised today.
S&T has helped countries to develop and maintain their powerful positions on the world stage. For instance, in the United Kingdom, various discoveries such as that of gravity by Isaac Newton, evolution by Charles Darwin, hydrogen by Henry Cavendish, penicillin by Alexander Fleming, and DNA by Francis Crick have made the country one of the most powerful in the world. Today, the British company Rolls Royce is still the leading player in the aerospace industry, while GlaxoSmithKline is among the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. Another example is the United States, which leveraged S&T to become the superpower it is today. Towards the end of World War 2, the United States created many organisations, such as the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, and many others to foster scientific research and development at the federal level. As a result of these efforts, we are now reaping the benefits of the computer, the Internet, the global positioning system, the smart phone, and artificial intelligence, among others.
Currently, everyday services such as healthcare (vaccines, drugs, diagnostic and therapeutic treatments), finance (business transactions, banking), transportation, and utilities, to name just a few, are all dependent on information and communication technology (ICT). In the future, there will be many challenges, including new infectious diseases, food, water, energy and environmental crises, cyberattacks, as well as terrorism, all of which need innovative solutions. S&T will play an important role in addressing these challenges.
General / Global / Policy Reports / Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Last updated on 20/02/2018