Winners and Loses: The Differential Effects of
|Main Idea: This chapter describes how technology
can be a subversive process that results in the modification or
destruction of established social roles, relationships and values. In
technological changes there are "winners and losers."
- Technological advance will impact society
by modifying or destroying established social roles, relationships and
value. In particular, technological advance can:
- A. Restructure Power
- B. Redistribute wealth
- C. Changes social roles
- Fear of losing (power, wealth, status) can
cause a reaction against technological change as we see in the Luddites
or in the Farmer's Anti-Automobile Society.
- Who wins and who loses raises the question
of who decides which technologies will be developed. The decision to
develop and deploy a new technology is often shaped by the
distribution of power in society.
- While technological advances and
innovations have profound impacts on society, technological progress can
not solve society's most fundamental problems. The attempt to
solve social problems with technology can be referred to as a
"technological fix." Problems with the technological
- Difficult to determine the real role technology plays in
- Results are often uneven (works for one not another)
- Only eliminates the surface problem, not the roots.
- Why can't technology solve social problems?
- The problem itself is often diffuse.
- When we deal with social problems we are dealing with complex
human behaviors, fears, motivations.
- Root cause of problem cannot be isolated.
- History demonstrates that the attempt to convert social problems into technical
ones fails. At the root of such attempts is a belief in technocracy:
"The governance of society by engineers and other people
with technical expertise, who attempt to develop policies based on
technical and "scientific" principles. The best
example may be Frederick Taylors' "Scientific