Sunday, July 10, 2011

How IT has changed society and how society has changed technology?

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The term “ technological determinism / determinist ” can mean many things. The term, in the way I am going to be using it, “technological determinist” means; A point of view that a person has that has been derived from a technology perspective. However, the interpretation of this is a person who believes that we have come to a point in time where the technology or the utilisation of technology has shaped society.

Technology changed society?

The Car Industry

Take the manufacturing of cars as an example. In the past, when the mass production of cars came into existence, the work was all manual labour and there wasn’t much mechanised equipment back in those days. Not much later robotics was introduced into the car manufacturing industry, which was what the industry needed.

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Now days the car manufacturing industry is at its peak. The car industry has changed beyond recognition, yet there is still a human factor involved. Since the robots have been introduced a lot of good has come from them. One would be that production line only needs to employ a certain amount of people so the cost of production is low. The price of cars is relatively cheaper.

From a technological determinist’s point of view, the society has been shaped by the introduction of this technology. One way of looking at it would be that with the introduction of this technology society has gained a lot of ground with the means of transportation. We cannot live without having a means of travel in this day and age; it’s a necessity.

Society changed technology?

Mobile Phones

From a Marxist’s point of view you would argue that no, its not technology that has changed society but its society that has changed the shape of technology. A good example of this would be mobile phones. As we have seen past trends, if the demand is there then the products will follow suite.

As you are well aware that when the mobile phones were first introduced the phones were bulky, heavy and notoriously unpopular because of their size, appearance the kind of ringtones. However, because the public has had such a high demand of mobile technology the technology itself has changed dramatically during the past five to six years.

As the demand for mobiles is still growing the manufacturers are increasing pressure to provide better-equipped handsets that can cope with the increasing demand for information on the move. Thus the Marxist theory comes into practice where by you have the notion that society indeed has shaped the technology is and the way it’s manufactured.

Technology changed society?


The introduction of the PC’s has changed the way we work, play, and communicate. If you look back to the way we used to communicate you’ll notice that the way we communicate now is not all that different from say twenty to thirty ago. In the past we had telephone’s a verbal means of communicating and the postal service, which although written and indirect was and is still a good means of communication.

The way we go about communicating with others is in essence pretty much the but with key developments that enable us to have real-time conversations with others. Who maybe miles away or just round the corner. Programs such as msn-messenger, Trillan and many others have enabled us to have these real-time conversations.

In business, the use of computers and information systems has progressed on to the next level; where by some computer’s function as expert systems, or knowledge based systems. If the computers were to be removed from some firms will be crippled and unable to function in the business world. A technological determinist’s view of this situation would suggest that indeed, the introduction of computer technology has shaped society in some sense. A Marxist point of view would argue that, because there was a demand for a new and easier way to do business and to communicate technology has had a logical progression.

Society changed technology?

Car Navigation and Traffic Reports

The development of these two technologies has been gradual to say the least. Society has changed some technology to better serve its needs. At first glance you think that how have these two technologies been changed and shaped by technology? Well its all quite straight forward, some people cannot read a map so the navigation system was developed for them. However, the system can be used by those individuals who can read maps.

It makes it a good invention and it’s easy to understand. While the traffic system has been incorporated into some radio / cassette but not all. These two technologies have profound impacts however; not everyone is so forefront and is willing to spend money on these added extras. A good idea that has not really taken off the ground.

A Marxist view on this would be that indeed society has shaped technology, however, even though they have shaped it, what would be the point if they do not make use of this technology? A technological determinist’s view on this would be that maybe the society did not give birth to the technology but the technology shaped a small part of society.

In conclusion I have found that though many technologies have been born from society there is evidence that some technology have shaped the society at large. I feel that in the age we live in it is difficult to know which technology has shaped socieey and which has been shaped by society.

I feel that there is no clear way in which I can agree with the technological deterministic or a Marxist view. There are points to both of these argeuments that state there is truth in both viewpoints.

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