Question – What is Frontier Technology? Describe the challenges inherent in it.

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Question – What is Frontier Technology? Describe the challenges inherent in it. – 6 May 

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The era of technological change that began with the Industrial Revolution has not only given a new shape to the world economy, but has also ensured its participation in transforming human society by accelerating the pace of efficiency and globalization. The current phase is the fourth phase of the Industrial Revolution, also known as the era of ‘Frontier Technology’, the latest wave of technological change has completely changed the basic nature of the exchange of goods, services and ideas. Although the destructive nature of changing technology is not new, it is presenting new opportunities in front of global society as well as posing new challenges for policy making.

Frontier Technology

  • In the year 2015, when the world reached an agreement to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, technology was recognized as an important tool to achieve these goals. In fact, many innovations, such as pneumococcal vaccine, microfinance and green technology, have worked quite rapidly over the past few decades, helping to address issues such as unskilled health systems, economic inequality, and climate change. Digital technologies such as mobile phones and the Internet have created an era where ideas, knowledge and information flow more freely than ever before.
  • Frontier Technology is the next stage of development of modern technology. Frontier Technology is primarily defined as technologies that can address challenges or opportunities on a broader scale.

Artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and Internet of Things (IoT) etc. are incorporated into the Frontier technology.

Application of frontier technology:

  • Frontier technology has opened up new avenues of prosperity through agriculture, manufacturing, connecting the informal and formal sectors, and domestic interconnectivity. Through this, significant improvements can be made in the delivery of government administration and public services.
  • Frontier technology can be helpful in predicting and dealing with the dangers of climate change and the effects of air pollution through state-of-the-art technologies.
  • For example, Songdo Smart City has been developed in South Korea through the Internet of Things (IoT) to reduce traffic pollution, save energy and water, and create a clean environment.
  • If the global society is to achieve the sustainable development goals by the year 2030, then it is necessary that these cutting-edge technologies work in the field of society and environment so that all the countries of the world can achieve their goals of economic development.

Related challenges

Increase in digital divide:

  1. Since information and communication technology infrastructure is very important for many frontier technologies and many countries of the world are facing acute shortage of such infrastructure. Therefore, it poses the risk of a new frontier technology division, which may become more widespread by connecting with the already existing digital division.
  2. According to an estimate, by the year 2023, possibly 3 billion people will be denied access to the Internet, and even more people will have little opportunity to benefit from digital technology.
  3. As a result of the digital divide resulting from a lack of technology infrastructure, the benefits related to frontier technologies will not reach all the poor people in the world.

Job uncertainty

According to estimates, the widespread proliferation of frontier technology could threaten the employment of about 785 million workers in the coming decades, accounting for about 50% of the total employment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Faith and morality

By the middle of the century, it is estimated that the world’s population will reach 10 billion, as a result of which the governance will become more complex than the present. It should be noted that frontier technology is not a problem in itself, but due to the huge population, various issues related to privacy and transparency will become very important in this context.

Impact on Developing and Least Developed Countries

Developing countries are already facing problems such as low human capital, inefficiency of institutions and lack of suitable business environment, which will make it more difficult for them to adopt Frontier technology and face various problems related to it.

According to analysts, developing and underdeveloped countries can benefit from the new wave of frontier technology, despite all the challenges. In this context, it is necessary to focus on the creation of an enabling environment for frontier technology in the policy framework to be designed for the next generation of technology and innovation, so as to have a positive impact on sectors such as economy, society and environment.

The following steps can be taken for this:

  1. In this context, first of all there is a need to create efficient Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure.
  2. Manpower in tune with the changing nature of the digital revolution – In this context, there is a need for lifelong learning, developing new skills and promoting entrepreneurship for the development of employment generating classes.
  3. In order to strengthen Public-Private Partnership (PPP), a policy framework should be created to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  4. There is a need for a regulatory framework that does not adversely affect innovation.
  5. It should be note that success cannot be ensured through technology alone. Policy makers should also be responsible for local contexts and conditions, so that they can create a social, political and economic system in which technology creates employment and accelerates inclusive growth.
  6. Governments of different nations should focus primarily on four areas: infrastructure, human capital, policy regulation, and the formulation of plans for investment in finance.


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