Technology and Its Ongoing
According to Braudel, technology is a way we transform and use energy (Colton and Stuart, 1). Many researchers find that economic, social and technological changes are interrelated. Changes in technology can be a source of economic development, but not the only contribution to social changes. When technology is absorbed to the economy; the output increases. Technology has a great impact on structural transformation of society. Innovation of technology affects people in myriad ways. The research paper tries to explore technology in different aspects, and how it affects the society. It examines the beginning of technology, and the continuous changes brought about by technology and the impacts faced globally, focusing mainly in America.
Historical Development of Technology
Technology is seen as the cause for transformation from an agrarian to urban society (Inkster, 92). Prominent changes in first world countries can be linked to technological transformations. This phenomenon is evident when technological basis in the society, both modern and traditional, and pre literate and literate are examined. Social organization and the economy of a country can be estimated; by evaluation of tools of production and, scientific developments and technical skills. The changes range from redistribution of population, education, religious institutions, changes in living and health standards, organizational revolution in business, to the changes in the role of government and family. Other changes include; change in the status of women, the elders, changes in consumer patterns, and change in work distribution and the composition of work.
The first breakthrough in technology was the emergence of primitive hunting tools (**). This was later followed by agricultural developments which led to cultivation, and further developments since food had to be replenished and stored; lack of food resources no longer controlled population. Agricultural revolution, led to living in settled communities. This led to an elaborate structure of specialization and division of labor. Members of the agricultural society were now free to peruse their own interests hence leading to an elaborate society. Examination of traditional society is crucial in technological developments because it provides a focal point for analysis.
The earliest mode of man’s subsistence was foraging and hunting. It made status differences impossible because sharp inequalities of wealth could not be achieved. This means that production resources and tools were available to all. On the other hand, industrialization and agriculture led to control in the means of production. Means such as land and machinery were in the hands of a few people. Emergence of agricultural revolution altered social relations from man to man and nature. It created hierarchical relations based on ownership of land and surplus produced. Existing structure was further altered by existing social relations which led to further differentiation; including status and power differences. Industrialization was an expansion of material productivity, and also enabled people to live longer.
In America, during the colonial times, there was an effective foundation of an industrial society. Development of the steam engine and gaining of independence, led to thriving in the economy. United States entered an era of technological advancements which had repercussions in the social and economic life of the societies. From 1920’s it grew rapidly except in the period of civil war. After the civil war the industrial change quickened more; there was high volume manufacturing, expanded application of power and new forms of communication and transportation. Inauguration of electric power led to large scale distribution and manufacture, Innovations in transportation and communication as a result of expansion in manufacturing. Evident rapid technological advancements led to the country emerging as a superpower. Countries with slow technological advancements develop slowly and are mostly poor (Bruchey, Colton, 4).
Ideologies in Technology and Social Values
Although societies do not passively accept technology; technological changes affect social life (Stunkel and Saliba, 100). Structural arrangements and value premises promote or inhibit development of technology. This is why Lowell Massachesetts linked industrialization and the ideology of political revolution in America in the nineteenth century. Technology came to be viewed as a means of promoting progress in welfare, and an ingredient for democracy in a society predicated on values of liberty and virtue of independence. Standards and values upheld in the society also determine how productive forces in a given society are organized (Mitra, Korlack, 3). When new technology is introduced there is a value for lag, because new technologies require new relationships. When technology is accelerated it brings disruptions.
Analysis of different case studies, indicate that there is a connection between technology and values of the society. Forms of technology used in production affect social organizational and social relationships. Socially significant technologies have led humankind to division of labor and other forms of social differentiation. This shows the importance of hunting and gathering, which provides the focal point for analysis. Investigations of different agricultural systems in different agricultural societies are strikingly different. India demonstrates plow cultivation; East African communities used hoe- and digging sticks. These technological developments have altered character of work in individual place and time. This can be used to show anticipated consequences of modes used by different societies, and technology is explored as a mechanism for social change. Repercussions are felt because the society has to change customs in different institutions. When new technology was adopted by the Eskimos, there was less need for cooperation and sharing which was common to them (Mitra, Korlack, 4).
Technological developments lead to adoption of alien cultures which affect people’s environment and their relationships to each other. Since the nineteenth century sociologists are interested in the relationship between technology and social change. They entered sociology because of the dramatic changes caused by industrial revolution. Many theories explain the conflicts and connections between social change and technology (Ortega, White, 378). Structural functional theory recognizes that cultures change and tries to show how structural organizations are maintained in an orderly manner. According to this theory change occurs due to evolution. Outdated values, ideas and patterns gradually fade as social structures adapt to new demands and needs. Technological advances are the new demands and needs which trigger the process of evolution.
The concepts of society are interrelated, therefore the idea of evolution and cultural change are interrelated. According to Ogburn one aspect of culture invariably affects the other. This also explains why some societies take time to adapt to technological advances. Ogburn explains this concept using worker’s compensation laws in the U.S. workers were involved in factory accidents but compensation laws were passed in the 1920’s, this shows a 50 year lag. He suggests that cultural lag is temporary and there is adjustment after some period. Conflict theory illustrates the ideology of social change and power. The theory suggests that change is as a result of conflicts between competing interests. According to this theory change is consequential and orderly. Conflict theorists assert that those with greater power can direct technological and social change to their advantage.in the process of disruption and conflicts in the social structure, powerful groups act to alter or maintain the status quo. The industrial revolution brought about these classes of people and, apparently they are the people who struggle to maintain a certain status quo; depending on their power. Vesting interests represents stakes in either transforming or maintaining a status quo. Groups, who suffer from vesting in social change, struggle to maintain status quo, while those who profit have vested their interests in transforming it.
Modern societal development is attributed to technology, with the shift from agrarian revolution to a modern and advanced society. Although the advancement was gradual, development of agricultural based industries marked a great societal improvement. Technology improved the production methods of food production to support the increasingly rapid population,
Technology and Communication
Communication field involves passing of information either verbally or non-verbal. This sector has greatly improved with technology, and the present state of communication is attributed to technology (Krug, 100). Computers and telecommunication (information technology) has taken part in changing the field of communication. Media and culture has become more diverse and has encourages cultural diffusion through information technology. Improvement in organizational field, international interaction, political field, education field and social interaction are as a result of improved communication.
Ushering in of information is as a result of introduction of computers, due to introduction of e-communication and radical industrial revolution. Links have emerged worldwide with the reliance on computers as the key source of information (Lin and David, 201). As a result, work place has been extended to homes, regardless of the distance between work and homes, due to computer revolution. This has led to different and diverse people working under the same working institute and environment due to such workers breaking away from the initial family ties that bid them.
Agricultural societies have had to work far from their homes due to different and separate workplace. This is as a result of wired technology that supports any worker living anywhere with different headquarters of their companies and different homes. With this, the original norm of working as from nine to five is disappearing due to extensive working while at home and job headquarters. Higher number of population are getting employed in the service sector as a result of aspects as; creativity, collection and analyzing of data, dissemination and interpretation of data which require computer literate individual.
Globalization is the linkage of states internationally towards an achieved goal. This can only be achieved through computer linkage and connection, and computer to be used as an instrument of storing, memorizing and transmitting of information throughout the globe instantly. This enables countries to; contribute share and harvest knowledge and find a way forward to solve a problem or achieve a desired goal (Das, and Kolack, 115).
In health sectors, the use of e-prescription method especially by pharmacists and staff has aided in reducing longer queues in the hospital. E-prescription method involves the use of technology in prescribing drugs of the patients, and help in avoiding errors that might arise due to manual prescription. Use of internet sources, also, as a source of communication in health sectors as encouraged patient-doctor relationship. E-mails are currently on large use to inform the public (patients) on the ongoing services, whilst the patients use the source to air out their views on services offered. Such strategic plans regarding technology are taken up with many hospitals to improve their service provision. As a result, there is reduced number of waiting patients, clear drug description and prescription, proper management of hospital facilities, improved health service provision and closer patient-doctor relation.
Technology has catered for the public issues, and with it, democracy is enhanced and maintained at a higher degree. The global village is represented as an electronic reality with the use of satellite dishes. Communities using this dish are able to monitor information and, hence, overcome the problem of prejudice and borders since any information is received by the public. As for difficult societies, information is received through televisions that encourage national disclose and civic education that can sue any form of prejudice. Democracy can be cemented through the use of electronic meetings amongst various towns.
Education sectors have improved due to the use of technology. Introduction of e-learning methods encourage wide and diverse mode of education. E-learning encourages multipurpose of students, in that, one can work and learn simultaneously. The use of e-learning materials, such as e-books and online libraries; aid students in refining their research and learning from school at any time or place. Scholarship is offered to students via internet sources regardless of the place in which the student is located. This encourages equal education of families that cannot afford the expenses of education and provides equal chance to all.
Businesses and management sectors in a given organization have adopted the use of technology by encouraging the use of computers in storing, organizing and disseminating of data. This has reduced file works that would occur, and hence reduce the chances of manhandling and soiling of data. Such businesses have adopted the use of internet in advertising their services and goods they provide to the public. Currently, internet is the most popular form of advertising which has been adopted worldwide. Internet acts as a research zone for such organizations in determining the best way of handling their activities and on how to improve them to suit the clients. Use of social media and e-mails is adopted by organizations and institutions to encourage the public to air out their views concerning the goods or services at hand.
Political parties have advanced in their mode of operation due to technology. Improved political communication encourages people to talk cheaply and encourage leaders to change and already established political balance. Leaders find ways of communicating to the people via technology, and disseminate relevant information to the pubic such as outlaid strategies. However, technology has not only resulted to positive effect today, but also negative. Improved technology implies quick dissemination of information concerning attacks and terror activities. Spread of propaganda worldwide is as a result of advanced technology (Green, 63).
Conclusions and Recommendations
Technology leads to diverse changes in the social, political and cultural practices in the society. The use of ancient tools was the beginning in technological advancements, therefore technology develops in stages. Technology led to emergence of different social classes. Technology takes time before it can be adopted by different social classes’, depending on the effect it can cause.
Information technology has changed many aspects of people’s social lives. Over the past few decades the global world has become an information society. In the United States many workers are employed in the field of information acquisition, processing and communication. (Brinkerhoff, David, 381). Information technology has changed many people’s lives; it increases or reduces the social class gap, depending accessibility and adoption of technology to maintain status quo. Technology has created a situation where there is conflict and competition. Technological advancements have introduced near forms of crimes, therefore the need to come up with new laws depending on the type of technology.
Information technology has been a source of cultural diffusion globally; it started from the U.S and spread throughout the world. Essentially every country in the world has some access to the internet. The number of internet users has rapidly increased over the years. Ideas spread quickly throughout the world because of information technology. Within a few weeks information can spread even to the most remote areas, this is advantageous because it increases communication and enhances knowledge. This spread implies that as much as change is inevitable, global similarity is also inevitable. Nairobi, Beijing, Moscow and Boston, people are wearing the same kinds of suits. Africa and the U.S have plans in developing virtual universities.
It is observed that once technology is available it becomes difficult to avoid its usage. This is because technology simplifies life, and increases production hence little resistance is seen in adoption of new technology. Adoption of technology leads to high dependency on it, and lack of technology can cause fatal results; in August 2003 blackout in America, caused fatal results as commuters who use trains were stranded, hence affecting different sectors. Technology often comes with a cost- benefit dilemma although such effects are no always obvious. Technology can be complex or simple, but it definitely provides an expanded option to choose from. Most of the times technology is developed to fit the specific needs and features of economic, political and social of some groups or individuals in distress.
The research was majorly carried out using secondary sources which are books. Interviews carried out were also reviewed in determining the social effect of technology. These interviews were carried out online examining the number of people who can access the internet. Introduction of technology depends on the economic and socio- political set up; therefore technological developments always take place in the tension created by co-existence of old and new.
Introduction of new technology has effects within the social context it takes place, among cooperating, coexisting or competing social groups. Technology must be valuable and performs services in a quicker way. Technology has linked people but has also led to new inefficiencies, new defense worries, new injuries and illnesses and new forms of social control. Innovative material capabilities threaten existing social orders; they present disadvantages or advantages that are biased in a way that benefit certain groups of people at the expense of others. Technological advances have led to development of first, second and third world countries. Technology can be used as a measure of economic status of the country depending on the mode of production.
Brinkerhoff, David B. Essentials of Sociology. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008. Print.
This book by Brinkerhoff is written in a way that is easier to read and incorporates the necessary background knowledge about the society. This book takes a real world situation and establishes how a society works from a sociological point of view. The book offers a deep insight of diverse cultures allowing the reader to understand how other communities functions and why they engage in what they do, it also make one appreciate other people by learning their way of life. In reflection to technology, this book is essential in explaining the direction of technology and how technology has brought changes in the society from a sociological point of view. This book was very helpful in my research because it provided the essential information pin analyzing the impacts and how technology is perceived in the various communities.
Inkster, Ian. History of Technology: Vol. 27. London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2007. Print.
These book analyses the various problems that affect various societies the nature of these values and how to solve these problems, this book basically deal with the historical background of technology, the major challenges in technological innovation and the solution to challenges based on technological implementation and use. It also provides a profound relationship between technology and other aspects in the society. The book offers a universal insight about technological development and how technology has shaped the society in which it transpired. It also offers a clear understanding of how technology inclined careers like engineering were implemented and its evolution. This book was very important in my research because provided the necessary background of technology.
Stunkel, Kenneth R, and Saliba G. Sarsar. Ideology Values and Technology in Political Life.
Lanham [u.a.: Univ. Press of America, 1994. Print.
This book traces the development of technology from a political, economic and social perspective. It offers the main ideas that transpired during the development of technology over the years. In reflection to my research, this book was essential because it provided the definite definition of the main concepts in technology.
Green, Lelia. Communication, Technology and Society. London [u.a.: SAGE, 2002. Print.
In the book, Lelia Green talks about the technologies of communication. She says that technology entrails more than what people think it is. That technology entails things like electricity or alphabet through the rapidly-evolving industry of cyberspace. Green says that technology can never be neutral and it has a close relation with the society, culture and the government policy. She gives an insight look into the factors that causes technology to change and how a variety of technology cultures inter relate.
In my research, this book will give me an overview of the surrounding technology, communications and communication cultures of the community. It will therefore give me the required information I need.
Das, Mitra, and Shirley Kolack. Technology, Values, and Society: Social Forces in
Technological Change. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. Print.
The book says that technology is not independent and neither does it lack value. Technology is subject to influence by the society. The book divides society into simple, intermediate and complex societies. It further says that technology alters the social aspect of the society.
This book will be helpful in my research because it will help me understand how technology is connected to the society and how its changes will translate to a change in the society. The book will also show how we can control ways in which technology has control over us. This book will therefore give me vital information for my research work.
Colton, Joel, and Stuart W. Bruchey. Technology, the Economy, and Society: The American
Experience. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. Print.
The book says that even though deconstruction is a popular slogan it has never been embraced in the university. In the academy, deconstruction is accountable for the ruin of accountability in the study of literature. To counter this demise of deconstruction, Herman looks into the incoherence that has overwhelmed important theory and the authority crisis in humanities.
In my research, this book will give help me understand the connection between technology and the economy. The book clearly demonstrates the change in economy that is brought about by the change in technology in the society we live in.
Lin, Carolyn A, and David J. Atkin. Communication Technology and Society: Audience
Adoption and Uses. Cresskill, N.J: Hampton Press, 2001. Print.
In this book, the writers talk about the current trends in communication technologies and how it affects the society. For my research, here I will find understanding of the upcoming wired and wireless technology for entertainment and communication. The book gives a view from the personal, organizational and mass media perspectives. Using this book will therefore help me understand current trends in both communication and entertainment technologies.
Krug, Gary L. Communication, Technology and Cultural Change. London [u.a.: SAGE, 2005.
This book talks majorly about communication and the history of technology. The founding figures are examined. The writer, Gray Krug, states that it is mandatory to study communication technology as an intertwined aspect of culture.
The book connects the development of communication technology with time. It tracks the evolution of culture, technology, and how the two are interrelated. By reading this book, I will get the understanding of the resulting cultural effects of communication technology. I will also acquire knowledge on the history of important communication systems and key communication techniques.