Science technology and innovation (STI), according to Phumaphi (2008) is a necessity for alleviating poverty, accumulating wealth and achieving the millennium development goals. Phumaphi (2008: x) further notes that STI is crucial in ‘building the technical, vocational, engineering, entrepreneurial, managerial, and scientific capacity’ that would solve the most fundamental socioeconomic challenges in the world. Information technology has revolutionalized every activities, ‘from business transactions, leisure pursuits, to government activities’ (Webster, 2002: 263). The advent of the internet, according to Hindman (2009), has brought about a great influence in the political and socioeconomic lives of the people and the advantages of such influence are irrefutable.
Such is the influence on the life of Ben, a professional gambler who moved from a pathological gambling lifestyle to that of a bourgeois. Ben who developed the habit of pathological gambling which often cost all the little money he earned from his menial warehouse job serendipitously felt the effect of technology on a fateful day. Although Castells (1999) has argued that STI is a potential socioeconomic threat to those who are unable to adapt to it, Ben is one of the numerous people who successfully adapted and benefited from technology as we shall read bellow.
With the introduction of electronic-gambling techniques via computer screens, Ben became optimistic about technology. This optimism as well as the obsession to spend more time on the online as soon as he acquired the basic knowledge on how to use computers forced him to acquire a personal computer (PC). From the very moment Ben acquired the (PC) and started spending more time on the screen in the comfort of his house, the hidden treasures of technology started unfolding gradually. Since he acquired the (PC), he started spending more time on its screen, and the more he became reluctant to visit gambling houses. Could this be another pathological obsession? This could have been the case, but reverse is currently the case as Ben has greatly improved his life with the aid of this technology.
As Ben learnt how to surf the net on the second month of acquiring his (PC), he discovered the internet as a unique world of its kind. By this period, he had almost forgotten about gambling. As he was having a goodtime navigating through the Google website, he serendipitously came across an advertisement with the inscription – ‘Noogler urgently wanted’. Among other basic criteria listed were the possession of a (PC) and ability to spend minimum of four hours despatching bulk emails to interested parties. Already Ben has a (PC) and his warehouse job required only two hours maximum for the day. The advertisement did not ask for any special skills as training was promised. Ben dully emailed Google via the email address attached to the advertisement. He was contacted and interviewed over the phone two days later. Since Ben met all the basic requirements with the willingness and ability to start immediately, he was offered the job.
Since then, Ben who had never earned more than $200 a month for the first time in his life currently earns $2,400 from this new job. In addition to this, he is his own boss; he enjoys a lot of customizable employee benefits, such as dental, vision and medical insurance, Travel Accident Insurance, medical care, subsidized gym membership and a few more. Ben’s life overall, has become more meaningful. Ben’s current situation can be described as a real life reflection of Hindman’s (2009) words on how technology influences socioeconomic life of the people. His life also conforms to Phumaphi’s (2008) description of how STI alleviates poverty in the society.
Castells, M. (1999). Information technology, globalisation and social development. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Discussion Paper, (114).
Hindman, M. (2009). The myth of digital democracy. Oxfordshire: Princeton Universtiy Press.
Phumaphi, J. (2008). Forward to science, technology and innovation. In: A.J. Watkins, E. Ehst (Eds.). Science, technology and innovation: Capacity building for sustainable growth and poverty reduction. Washington: The World Bank.
Webster, F. (2002). Theories of the information society. London: Routledge.
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