Our technological backwardness is much more than a matter of money

The report ‘Signs of competitiveness in the Americas’ recently presented by the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) again concludes that Latin American countries, and among them of course Colombia, present a marked lag in technology compared to developed countries .

The main cause of this delay, according to this document, is the low investment in Innovation and Development made by the governments of our countries in relation to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The situation is undeniable if one takes into account that in proportion, the leading developed countries in technology, such as the United States, China and India, invest a few times more than Colombia in this field, and even in our region we are below countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

Although clearly the aspect of investment in technology on the part of the State is decisive in the advance that a country has in this field, it is worth wondering if the absence of this is the main cause of the problem, or at least, the one that in the long run it has made it possible to reach the level of lag like the one we suffer today.

Although in an economy like ours, the allocation of investment budgets in different fields is marked by the absence of resources, bureaucratic limitations and omnipresent corruption, it is also clear that our technological backwardness is an unfortunate reflection of cultural and thinking backwardness. poor thing that Spanish colonialism and other forms of domination such as those exercised by the great powers have left us.

This mark of inferiority that has remained in the collective imagination as a result of the processes of domination to which we have been exposed for centuries has had far-reaching repercussions in the way we see ourselves today in the face of the rest of the world, in the ideals of development that we have inherited and, of course, in the precarious economic and social conditions in which the vast majority of Colombians live.

One of the great manifestations of this situation is the place that science and education are given in our society. We have an educational system that has been in charge of blocking creativity and perpetuating mediocre ways of learning, as well as information media that have taught us to be mere spectators of what is happening in the world and voracious consumers of information and material products.

Until a while ago, before the huge technological boom of the last five or six years, Colombian universities reported a great demand for technology-related careers, such as systems engineering. In recent years, this demand has been reduced and, although there is great human potential in these areas, not many seem to be interested in research and the generation of new developments, and the public and private sectors have concentrated their investments on importing technologies. from other countries.

In addition to this tendency to be more consumers and less creators of technology, in our culture there is a notable lack of interest in knowledge and intellectual progress, and widespread ignorance leads many to consider that technologies such as the Internet are an unnecessary luxury or a simple medium for useless entertainment and amusements.

This last aspect, among others, was identified in the investigations carried out within the government’s Vive Digital Colombia program, as one of the great barriers to the massification of Information Communication Technologies (ICT), especially the internet. The other factors have to do with the low purchasing power of the population, the high costs of infrastructure and the lack of resources.

The government initiative Vive Digital Colombia represents a necessary concern regarding this situation of technological lag and is an effort to achieve greater coverage of ICT. The investigations that have been carried out within this program have helped to determine some of the causes of this problem and that is why their contribution has been important.

Hence, it is worth keeping our eyes wide open in front of this program to ensure that its implementation is a reality and pave the way for culture to intelligently take on the challenges it brings. Evolving in the technological aspect implies high capital investments, but it also requires a great effort in the educational field, a comprehensive training that promotes creativity and critical attitudes, that teaches us not only to be consumers of technology, but also producers of she or, at least, advocates of its smart use.

Given the certainty of our technological backwardness, but with the opportunities that open up through programs such as those led by the current government, we will be able to advance much to appropriate ICTs and use them to grow culturally, if we are able to take advantage of their power and free ourselves from the inferiority complexes that we have acquired through history.
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