As society developed over the centuries, it added on to what existed in the past. Ownership of land led to the development of two-dimensional geometry. Astronomy developed in order to be able to navigate in a particular direction. Mechanics developed in order to provide housing. This list could be expanded enormously. Since the then available inventory of knowledge was limited it was possible for an individual to absorb all it! Such individuals were the philosophers and they had knowledge in all aspects of human activities which included philosophical, eligious, mechanical, geographical, production involving weaponry and its maintenance, transportation… This list could also be expanded considerably. This segmentation continues apace.

Generally speaking the sum total of knowledge available to mankind could be contained in one person. These were philosophers or the polymaths of old. Philosophers’ views held sway. By the end of the 18th century knowledge expansion gave way to natural philosophers who in turn gave way around 1850 (when the universities split into arts and sciences) to the natural scientist. What this meant in academia was that acquisition of knowledge progressed through the creation of new disciplines, by 1850 we had amongst others, Physics, Chemistry, Biology… which continued to expand. Now we have several kinds of Biology, several kinds of Physics and several kinds of Chemistry. This segmentation/specialisation will continue and it means “change”.

The wants of society led to investigations on the practical side of life through the splitting up of knowledge. Even more disciplines developed such as Financial, Cost and Management Accounting, Training, Maintenance, Procurement and Inventory Control, Human Resource Management… This was also reflected on the military establishments which developed in several segments such as Signals, Transportation, Ordnance, various kinds of engineering, information technology, even a Chemical Corps. It is important to accept this will continue with our greater understanding of nature. Don’t we have over two dozens types of psychology and economics, hundreds of types of engineering, all examining the same nature from different points of view?! This is why Prof Chandler in his book “The Visible Hand” states that coordination had become an economic function with all that goes with it.

The above very very briefly indicates that change (development) will continue to beset us. We have to develop the expertise to be able to define our requirements clearly because in the on-going digitisation of knowledge it is possible to achieve almost anything. It is usually a matter of time and money.

While this article attempts to provide a glimpse into what technology involves and more importantly that with a sympathetic attitude towards creating an environment towards knowledge acquisition is somewhat like having a good carbon foot print in this machine age. An example of a new approach developed in WWII (a time of great crisis). In order to avoid starvation England had to import food. The obstacle was the hold of U-Boats which sank the cargo vessels. The solution was provided by a team of civilian scholars! The premier service – the British Navy – had said there is not much more we could do about it. However, the civilian team led by physicist PMS Blackett consisted of physiologists, two mathematical physicists, an astrophysicist, an Army officer, an ex-surveyor, later followed by one more physiologist, a general physicist and two mathematicians.

The problem that faced within us how to increase kill rate of U-boats about to a level that would enable the population to have enough to eat. Within a few weeks they had the solution in which the modifications made in the water pistol of the depth charge to explode almost on contact that the sea water rather at one hundred foot depth. The Physiologists had put in the fatigue factor of U-Boat sailors – ignored by the Navy! The German survivors were surprised to learn that the explosive strength had not been increased. Technology is indeed complex and multidisciplinary in character. However, this simple change led to Britain surviving long enough when Americans entered the war.

There are yet some more factors which will be brought out later, consistent with the views given by Allama Iqbal, that technology is not just a matter of wearing European clothes, it is matter of using ones brain to be able to lead on to creative thinking. There is a direct relationship between culture and technology. Transition strategies need to be worked out and post experience training to help provide local leadership needs to be continuously reviewed.