A Perspective of Papuan Student in the United States, Joshua Gombo: Unifying Technology and Human Being

goodmorningpapua.com – When I was a child living in Wamena, Papua, I watched planes take off almost every day. Our house is very nearby with the small airport there, so I can enjoy the view easily. While watching the flying and landing of a number of planes, I wondered to myself, “How can these iron chains transport people and goods in and out of Wamena, huh?”.

Then I also remember that I used to often go to the sugarcane plantation and see many people who was working over there hurting their own hands because of the sharp cane leaves. I thought to myself, “Isn’t there an easier way to get this sugar cane? Isn’t there technology that can make it easier for workers to harvest without getting hurt?”

Gradually, various questions about technology kept appearing in my head. Until when I was in high school, I had the opportunity to migrate to Jakarta to explore knowledge about technology. Finally I believe that with technology the difficult jobs on the farm that I observed in the past can be resolved.

This motivation made me have a strong desire to be involved in the technology industry, especially in robotics in order to unite the eminence of humans and technology. Moreover, by studying technology, I believe I can advance Papua as well. Moreover, Papua with its natural diversity definitely needs certain technologies that can help its people to be productive in managing plantations or agriculture.

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Actually not only in Papua alone. We certainly know that Indonesia has large potential in the agricultural industry. We have always been well-known as a producer of food exported to various countries. But lately I’m worried that Indonesia seems less productive in processing its agricultural products. This could be due to a lack of qualified equipment. It must be admitted that our country is still quite lagging behind in the use of technology to process agricultural products. We still use traditional methods in cultivating an agriculture or plantations.

Indeed, there will be many challenges faced when we try to unite human life with a touch of technology. Some people can feel threatened because their work has the potential to be taken over by robots. Whereas it is not so. For example the computer. In the early days of humans creating computers and using them in everyday life, some people were worried about disappearing of the work since computers would later do.

In the reality it is not. Computers actually provide systems that help humans work more productively. Just like a robotic system that has elements of a computer. My hope in developing a robotic system is not to eliminate farmers but so that they can work safely because of the technology that prevents the risk of work accidents.

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But I admit that technological progress is often hampered by the complexity of human use. Especially those who have not been exposed to modernization. Therefore, as a practitioner, it is my duty to provide practical counseling, not just theory to them. For example, by showing a simple tool first and then seeing whether it is acceptable or not.

If it is acceptable, then introduce them to a tool that is more sophisticated than that of usual. And so on until finally they can accept and coexist with technology in the context of work productivity. In Papua itself, human resources are still relatively lacking. Still not many people turn to technology to learn. Whereas, the progress of human civilization is marked by the presence of technology.

Saying that, I still believe that Papuan friends have great potential to advance their region and their country. There are many friends who are highly educated and worked in various sectors. Although it is still not enough because to develop we need more educated human resources. Now the government has also supported this progress. So, I believe Papuan friends are already to advance the country.

If I may suggest, I hope that Papuan friends will remain confident in their abilities. Don’t be afraid to be “strange”. There is a proverb: if everything looks normal, it’s not normal. What this means is that when we go “strange” it means we do something different and it might just be a breakthrough. We also have to be able to set high goals because that way we can continue to have the motivation to achieve them. Don’t let the isolated and underdeveloped areas make us hopeless and just surrender to accept the situation.

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Joshua Gombo, PhD candidate in ME Department, University of Washington

Source: greatmind.id

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