Friday, 30 October, 2020

Development in ICT and the importance of cooperation and mutual benefit 


By Gu Hongyu and Zong Wei  

Telecommunications refers to the information transmission and communication by virtue of wire, wireless or optical system. Advanced electronic communication network is one of the essential parts contributing to a country’s development and comprehensive strength. History shows that progress and development of human society is always changing with the updating of science and technology. In the mid-19th century, the invention of telegraph technology completely broke the geographical and spatial limitations of human information transmission (ancient communication technologies mainly included bonfires, homing pigeons, semaphores, post stations, etc.), and opened a new era of human information transmission and communication.

It is worth noting that the upgrading of information and communication technology (ICT) has not only changed people's life style, but also had a far-reaching impact on a country's economic, military and cultural development. On the economic side, communication technology can break the limitation of commodity trading space and place, promote the emergence and development of financial industry, and foster the flow of capital beyond national borders. For example, London became the world financial center in the 19th century after the invention and application of telegraph technology in finance. The rise and prosperity of Wall Street in America in 1930s was also closely related to the control of the latest communication technology-radio in America at that time.

On the military side, the control of global communication technology directly determines a country's information security, and then threatens the country's peace and stability, and even determines the success or failure of war. In the two world wars, the struggle for the control of telegraph and radio technology between the armies of both sides is the best example. From the cultural point of view, telecommunication technology promotes the well-known mass media--radio, television, newspapers and other means, enhances formation and development of cultural industries, and plays a vital role in shaping the national image and improving international status of a country.

Considering the role played by telecommunications development in national strength, some scholars have published works to discuss the connection between communication and international relations. From a macro perspective, the impact of telecommunications on international relations is to promote exchanges and interactions among actors at different levels of state relations, and this phenomenon can be summarized as "globalization" on the whole. The emergence and development of telecommunication technology directly promoted that formation of globalization 2.0 and 3.0 era. From the emergence of telegraph in the 19th century to the invention of radio, to the use of communication satellites and the popularity of Internet today, it is not difficult to imagine that the use of every technology can directly shorten the time and space limit of communication between different countries in every corner of the earth. This is a fundamental premise and foundation for the formation of globalization.

Telegraph technology was widely used in the 19th century, and its appearance promoted the communication between countries. It was on this basis that diplomacy among big countries developed. In the first half of the 20th century, the use of radio technology further narrowed the global distance. This space was reduced again in the 1960s, when the launch of communication satellites became more prominent. Today, as we all know, due to the popularity of the Internet, the earth is becoming "mini". From a microscopic point of view, ICT has played an important role in the economic, political and cultural exchanges and interactions in the era of globalization.

Through the works of these scholars, we can also understand some country’s communication policies and efforts in the 20th century. For example, in The Struggle for Control of Global Communication written by Jill Hills, the author presents and summarizes some ways which America adopted to compete and gain supremacy in telecommunication field such as introducing cable landing licence and bypassing international rules that were unfavorable to the development of its own communications industry.

Considering the past experience, it is not difficult to understand what happened to Huawei 5G communications today. Recently, there are many unfriendly news about China Telecom in the international market. With the interdependence and development of all countries in the world, seeking common ground while reserving differences and win-win cooperation are the requirements of globalization. Economic sanctions or trade protectionism brings huge losses to the implementing countries as well. The chip export enterprises is an example. According to the Reuters, the U.S.'s ban on Huawei in China has caused a large inventory backlog in the whole chip industry. In addition, according to the previous international report of the Semiconductor Association, the chip industry in the United States has lost billions of dollars.

The development of information technology and communication industry can drive the rapid development of global economy. With the continuous popularization of 5G, communication technology will continue to become the main support point of today's social and economic life. It can drive traditional industries into new technical fields and realize industrial upgrading of global economy. Communication technology holds the development direction of advanced productive forces. The wide application of communication technology can optimize the allocation of resources and improve social labor productivity and social operation efficiency. Most importantly, the development of information technology can also promote the spread of culture and the development of civilization. Network media provides a new space for the inheritance and dissemination of excellent cultures of all ethnic groups, as well as the cultural exchange and integration of all ethnic groups. With the development of communication technology, the knowledge level of human beings will be improved, which is of great significance for us to build a harmonious and friendly community of human destiny. Let us put aside disputes, accept new technologies from different countries with an open and inclusive attitude, and work together to promote the common development of human society.

(Gu is a lecturer at the English Department of Faculty of Foreign Languages and Cultures in Kunming University of Science And Technology; Zong is a Ph.D candidate at the School of Ethnology and Sociology, Ming Zu University of China)

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