There have historically been several prerequisites for outstanding technological research and development. Based on several principles, the next tech giants are likely to be countries that have existing infrastructure, minimal regulation, and commercial or military incentives to invest heavily in technological research and development.
The Top Tech Nations
Japan, South Korea, and the United States are continually labeled top tech nations by major media sources. Each first-world country has adequate infrastructure, relatively stable government, comparatively low regulations regarding independent research and development, and numerous incentives to continue technological research and development initiatives. South Korea is possibly the most interesting case study as it was substantially behind the times in the 1960s.
1. Case Study on How a Tech Nation Emerges: North Korea and South Korea Over the Past Several Decades
Today, North Korea is notorious for being the land time forgot. There is an infamous nighttime image of the black area on satellite images of the Earth. However, South Korea is almost synonymous with its involvement in tech giants such as Samsung. Additionally, new initiatives in the automotive industry and relations with other major tech companies has promoted a tech culture in South Korea that goes far beyond cheap call centers and a go-to place for MRSPs. However, several decades ago South Korea looked like a failing nation, and North Korea appeared to thrive despite all odds.
North Korea severed powerful relations with (at the time tech nation) the USSR. Other global powers such as China also lost interest in supporting the cause. The idea of a utopian nation did not cut it. North Korea was left to disintegrate. Meanwhile, South Korea formed powerful international relations and started to bounce back. It took a few decades, but South Korea experienced one of the most notable economic booms in modern history from the 1960s to the 1990s. Currently, positive foreign relations and economic incentives have given South Korea notoriety for advancements in robotics (humanoid robot HUBO was developed in 2005), biotechnology, the automotive industry (Kia and Hyundai), and the IT industry (Samsung).
2. Will Israel Be the Next Tech Giant?
Currently, Israel has all of the prerequisites for successful research and development in the technology sector. Its ongoing military efforts provide initiative for government funding. Additionally, Israel has relatively loose regulations, especially when compared to other nations in the Middle East. A lack of pronounced regulation can be highly beneficial during wartime efforts as best illustrated by Nazi Germany.
3. Case Study: The Three Story Tank and Other Technological Advancements Halted by Regulation
A lesser known aspect of the Nazi regime in WWII was the ongoing research and development efforts, some of which sound like lunacy. Especially during the tail end of the war, Adolph Hitler ordered specific research initiatives, regardless of all practical use or knowledge. One of the most notable wastes of time and resources was a tank as large as a three story building. The movable citadel did not move or work very well for obvious reasons. The monstrosity could crawl at top speeds of 5 mph on smooth roads and flat surfaces. Needless to say, the tank rarely saw battle.
Extensive regulation misplaces funds. Often, regulatory agencies are not subject matter experts in different aspects of research and development, or they are outright insane. The historical example from WWII is especially applicable to nations that are currently involved in extensive regulation. Government funding can only be effective when given to institutions that have the capability to put it to good use with minimal direction, such as top universities.
4. Will Israel Overtake China and Russia?
Numerous nations currently push technological innovation. Some appear to have more promising futures than others. China has numerous stunted research and development initiatives due to strict government regulation. One of the most recent high profile examples of harmful technological experiments includes China’s Three Gorges Dam. The world’s largest dam was a fiasco on multiple levels. Social and environmental impacts were not taken into account, and the structure is not particularly stable. The resources wasted and harm caused by haphazard government involvement in research and development continually permeates the nation to the point where China is partially annexed from the rest of the IT community.
On a similar note, Russia recently imposed additional regulation for any company that attempts to have an online presence in the nation, regardless of nationality. Outstanding government regulation dissuades enterprises from having a continual or notable presence due to numerous uncertainties which equate to high risk ventures.
5. Incentives for Israel to Continue Technological Innovation
Like South Korea, Israel has a notable lack of natural resources. It has every incentive to continue to be the upcoming “Silicon Valley of the Middle East.” It has military incentive and economic incentive to continue to invest in technological research and development. Unlike numerous of its neighboring countries, Israel does not have income from natural resources to sustain basic infrastructure. For example, Saudi Arabia has ample funds from oil. The number of patents issued to Israel far outnumbers the patents issued to its neighboring countries for a simple reason; Israel has to rely on intellectual property to survive.
6. Possible Threats to Security and the Impact on Technological Advancement
Web tech innovation is unlikely to be widely successful when completed on a small scale. Countries such as Russia and China that have suspected involvement in cybercrime can cause damage to an extent. Similarly, a group of cybercriminals with Internet access can cause damage to an extent. It is difficult to label certain governments as a threat to security because it is difficult to pinpoint the source of cybercrime. However, specific actions such as the Russian Duma’s new amendment that requires all online information to be kept on servers in Russia arouse suspicion. Isolation and annexation are threats to ongoing technological research and development more so than international security. After all, natural resources tend to dry up after a while. Intellectual property does not.
The Next Tech Nations
Instead of ranking tech nations or worrying about which nations are more likely than others to dominate market share, it makes sense to look at existing business conglomerates and trade agreements. Currently, there is no reason why Israel should not be considered a major player in web tech research and development. However, there is also no reason nations such as the United States and Japan will not participate in the same research and development initiatives alongside other nations.
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