Sunday, February 3, 2019
Does Technology Drive History? Essay -- History Technology Essays
A theme that appears over and over in discussions some technology is whether or not technology is the cause of major amicable, cultural, political, and frugal changes in new(a) society. Of course, we can find many, many examples of technologies associated with enormous social changes. The automobile, for example, is often spoke of as causing a whole commence of social changes, from the creation of suburbia, to the development of the fast food industry, to the paving of grow land, to the imported oil vulnerabilities of the 1970s. The popular media is filled with similar examples of new technologies that ar going to change everything, from computers to nanotechnologies to new medical devices. And we are often told that we must find ways to accommodate ourselves to these new devices and to the changes they will cause, that we must puree to ride the wave of social flux produced by emerging technologies, or face the dire prospect of being left behind.This language and these argume nts, whether in the general media or in assimilatorly analyses, are examples of various kinds of proficient determinism, the notion that technology is the most powerful force behind the modern world, that technology drives history (Smith, Marx, 1994). Those who support this idea often claim more than(prenominal) technology may well be pushing us in directions we do not want to go, that technology has somehow gotten out of control. proficient determinism comes in different forms. For some, such as the late French scholar Jacques Ellul (1965, 1980, 1990), technology is the most powerful force in modern life, travel according to its own logic, and well beyond the control of humans. Others, such as political theorist Langdon Winner (1977, 1986), assert that tech... ...equired to maintain and operate technological systems, such as electrical power grids, nationwide telephone systems, telly networks, etc. While the people involved in technological systems do have the power to c ast choices -- as the anti-determinists claim -- they must make those choices in settings that can impose significant limits on the range of choices available, as the determinists claim. In other words, the control of technology becomes more difficult, and maybe eventually impossible, as we move from smaller and simpler structures and artifacts toward much larger, complex, and interdependent systems. It is much more difficult to change our minds about technologies after they have developed such organizational shells as multinational corporations or public utilities, and after so much investment has occurred (Collingridge, 1980, Morone, Woodhouse, 1986).