Social Impact of Technology

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Community and Family Studies
HSC COURSE

Social Impact of Technology
Assessment Task

Annalise Wood

Due: Friday 17 August, 2012
‘Technology has positive and negative effects on the satisfaction of individual needs.’Discuss the statement using examples to illustrate your answer. Technology is the study, development and application of devices, machines and techniques to manufacturing and productive processes. Technology is developed in response to a human want or need. The acceptance of technology is determined by how well it satisfies people’s needs and how the technology impacts on health, wellbeing and lifestyle. Technological advancement could be:

* Tools, gadgets, hardware; for example:- mobile phones, MP3 players, webcams; * Technological systems: for example:- robotics, satellites, communication; * Routines,procedures or techniques; for example:- medical, surveillance,records; * Application of technical or practical knowledge; for example:- surgery,construction. Technology may impact directly or indirectly on an individual’s achievement and wellbeing. (Wellbeing can be defined as a measure of the state of satisfaction that an individual or group experiences when needs are met. These needs may be social, physical, emotional, cultural and spiritual.) For example, having access to internet communication tools, such as Skype, and a webcam allows people to communicate with family and friends in distant places. This enhances their socioeconomic wellbeing, reinforces their social networks and promotes family connectedness and family values. Access to technology can also impact on our ability to satisfy needs and wants, which allows us to realise goals and achievements. This in turn can play a role in determining our sense of wellbeing. However not everyone in society has equal access to technology. Individuals and groups can become wealthy through their role in the development of technology and the divide between socioeconomic levels in society becomes larger. The ‘digital divide’ refers to the division that occurs between those who can access technology and those who can’t. Technological wellbeing refers to those technological developments that improve or enhance the environment in which we live or move. For example, home insulation, which helps to regulate the temperature of our homes, is a technical development that has a direct impact on our physical wellbeing. Practical wellbeing refers to the technological developments that have enabled us to better fulfil our specific roles as individuals, family members and community members. These technologies help us with our daily lives. Mobile communication devices, the internet and email are examples of practical technologies. The internet allows people to keep in contact with friends and family, whilst home security devices provide people with emotional security and wellbeing. The development of mobile phone technology enhances wellbeing by allowing people to keep in contact and reduce stressors that might occur when people cannot be contacted. Emancipatory wellbeing refers to technological developments that release people and groups from situations that negatively impact on their situation. Medical advances such as artificial limbs, heart valves and cochlear implants enable people to enjoy life without a disability. Labour saving devices and convenience foods also improve emancipator wellbeing. For example, someone cooking a meal can use pre-prepared bottled sauce instead of spending a long time preparing the sauce. There are many factors that will impact on a person’s access to technology. These factors will impact on a person’s wellbeing and can be negative or positive. The impacts may occur over a short or long term. The factors include:

* AgeElderly people have not grown up with technology and often fear the technical advances that have been made. For example, the aged do not often understand automatic teller machines and many would...
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