There is no denying that we are living in an era of technology. Due to the contribution of technological advancements, the world has evidenced dramatic changes in various fields, including social customs and ethics. So it is reasonable to say that technologies influence social customs and ethics, but in my opinion, the speaker's claim that technologies determine the two aspects goes too far and could not stand close scrutiny.
Admittedly, the effect of technology has penetrated into every aspect of the society. Customs and ethics, as parts of the characters of a society, certainly cannot escape from the trend. On one hand, it's obvious that technologies have changed our living conditions and habits, as well as our customs, which evolve to keep pace with the development of technologies. Consider some rituals our ancestor used to celebrating on some special occasions, like offering sacrifice to god before war, or praying for a good harvest and so on. Those activities with superstitious thoughts gradually step out of the history as we can better make use of the environment around us and have better control of ourselves with the achievements in technologies. On the other hand, some ethics have been changed as well. For example, mercy killing was once thought to be go against people's moral outlook, but more and more people have accepted it because people's understanding of humanitarianism has broadened thanks to the development of technologies.
However, it is somehow hasty to claim that technologies have the function of determining social customs and ethics. Technologies are the outward play of human wisdom, while customs and ethics are rooted deeply in a society's culture which came into being thousands of years ago and evolved through the long history. So both technology and social customs and ethics come from the complicated inner world of human heart and minds. Technologies tend to show our intellectual wisdom, while social customs and ethics are the fruits...
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