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Lecture 2: The Technological Society

What is Technology?
• Defining technology presents a common challenge in that scholars have proposed many different definitions. • Socio-technical perspective: The study of how social factors affect technological and scientific developments.

What is Technology? cont’d
• Technology has been defined as:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Material Substance Knowledge Practice Technique Society

What was the original purpose of technology?
• To relieve us of menial tasks – Repetitive • To improve quality – Human errors are bound to happen • To improve speed, productivity – Machines can do some tasks faster • Physical • Mathematical calculations

What was the original purpose of technology?
• Technology was invented to make our lives easier – But has it? • A generation ago, a boom was predicted in the leisure industry – What has happened instead?

• When technology fails – It was designed by humans – Human mistakes propagate wider and faster than if we did the job by hand

Are we managing technology? Or is technology managing us?
• World taken over by computers, robots (Terminator, Transformer…) – Science fiction, or today’s reality? – How many times we do something unnatural because “the computer needs it done that way” – Forms that we have to fill in – Automatic call distribution • QWERTY keyboard – To slow down typists – Bosses: One finger typing • To get an assistant • To get a Blackberry

Are we managing technology? Or is technology managing us?
• Are we losing our ability to think? – Calculators, mental math – GPS, sense of direction – Google, student research • Are we losing our ability to perform basic tasks? – Automotive diagnostic computers, mechanic – Autopilots, flying – Microwave, cooking

Technological Inequality
• Auto industry – Japan – Toyota, Honda, Nissan – Korea – Hyundai, Kia • Manufacturing – Japan – Hong Kong – China – India • Telecommunications – Landline infrastructure – Cellular infrastructure...
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