Who is a friend? A friend according to the Oxford Advanced learners’ dictionary is a person who has the same interests and opinions as yourself, and who will help and support you. This is someone we run to in bad and good times, someone to whom we pour our hearts to, someone who knows the needs of our life, someone who hurts us, someone who heals us and helps us gather the broken fragments of our fragile life.
Technology on the other hand is the scientific knowledge used in practical ways in the industry. E.g. To design new machines, tools or equipment.
In the agricultural world, the early man was a lone ranger and struggled to survive because he had no friend. He wandered about from forest to forest to gather his food in the form of fruits, nuts and vegetables. This went on for years until he noticed there was little he could achieve without a friend. The bitter experience made him to make friend with some crude tools like sticks and stones. The stick assisted man to harvest crops like paw-paw, coconut and apples while the stones hunted down animals during hunting.
There was an initial increment in the daily food gathering, but a sharp decline soon set in because the animals and fruits started developing resistant traits to these crude tools used by man. To overcome the challenge man faced, he unleashed some hurtful treatment to his friend through sharpening, grinding and cutting. With the edge of sticks and stones now sharp, man got an increase from his daily hunting assignment, but some catch from his hunting sprees got rotten due to poor preservation practice. Stone then volunteered to help man through its sparks. Man was able to make fire whenever two stones struck against each other. The discovery of fire helped man to preserve his excess food for future use.
As human population increased, the usual practice of wandering about in search of food caused conflicts among members of many communities. This misunderstanding led to the practice of domestication of crops and animals. Sticks were refined to make hoes used for making ridges and heaps while animals captured using stones came home to live with man. Man expended much energy with hoes use but was never able to meet the food need of his family and community. He resorted to the use of “beast of burden” and “draught animals” to carry out his farm activities. Bulls and oxen made ridges while donkeys, horse and camels helped man in transporting his agricultural produce from one place to another.
Pests caused a 50% loss to production as it took advantage of man’s innovation and started damaging crops and infesting animals. Tsetse fly for example made animals to be less efficient through her biting activity that caused sleeping sickness.
The advent of tractors, sprayers, and combined harvesters brought much succour to man’s agricultural progress. He gradually discarded the use of animals for farm work and focused on the use of machines. Tractors helped man to plough, harrow, ridge and carry out several farm work on the farm. This new friend neither complained nor got tired to the extent that there was abundance of food to be stored.
Presently, artificial intelligence is gradually taking its place in the agricultural world as drones and robots are helping man to carry out his daily agricultural activity. This workaholic friend (AI) that never grows weary while doing farm works like fertilization, watering and harvesting. With the envisaged population explosion, AI will help man to effectively guarantee food security and enhance the continuity of life on earth.
Friendship is a two way process that entails giving (good/bad) and receiving (good/bad). Just like every other relationship on earth, there are times friends may hurt each other while playing their roles. Bow and arrows that were originally meant for animals have kill many a farmer, tractors that have been very beneficial have caused accident to man and his family while stories about electrocution are not rare occurrences in the agricultural world.
Is technology then our friend? Oh, yes! Technology is our beloved friend.