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“The Real World of Technology” by Ursula Franklin - Essay Example

The continuous improvement and development of technology creates a paradox in which society becomes unable to survive without technology. As we evolve as a society, our need of technology evolves with us.

In the “The Real World of Technology” by Ursula Franklin, she identifies technology as a house that we live in. This house expands with the expansion of technological development. Franklin points out that technology enters our lives the day we are born, along with not knowing that it has control over us. She also points out that as we grow older in this “house” of technology, we lose more control of our self control.

The paradox in this article is that when we believe or think that developing new technologies is beneficiary to our society, and not know the fact that we have the desire to develop these new technologies because we always try to better ourselves. By doing so, we become addicted to technology and cannot function without it.

In her article, Ursula Franklin compares technology to democracy. She says that they both have ideas and practices, and they also include myths and various models of reality. The intent of this comparison is to show that society is in need of technology as much as it is in need of democracy. We live in a democratic society, and because of this democracy, we thrive to create and update technologies to better assist our lives. By doing so, we are falling into the trap in which technology controls and guides our lives.

“Feminist Perspectives on Technology” by: J. Wajcman.

In the article “Feminist Perspective on Technology”, written by J. Wajcman raises a few interesting ideas. According to Wajcman technology has a life of its own. Although humans created technology and are developing it continuously, we have no control over it. She also refers to technology as an irresistible force moving forward. This implies that we are unable to stop technology from growing due to the fact that we became so dependant on it that we became in need of it to live our normal lives.

Another interesting perspective that Wajcman discusses in her article is whether society shapes technology or visa versa. According to Wajcman, technology shapes society, especially women. Since the introduction of technologies such as word processors, women have become more involved in society. They are now a part of the economy because they are no longer entitled to house work only. Although women are now a part of a technological society, yet men have total domination of technology. According to Wajcman changes in technology are really important, but society itself should change in order to adapt to new technologies. And by adapting to technology, society becomes stronger due to the equality between men and women. Wajcman believes that technology is neutral and effects society from the outside.

One of Wajcman’s main beliefs is that technology in this day and age limits the social gap between men and women. It also enhances the economical status of technological societies, because equality between men and women benefits technological societies.

“Appling Technology to Ourselves” by: C.Cassidy

This article raises plenty of serious issues regarding how technology shapes our society. These issues include the power struggle between man and technology, new reproductive technologies, and imposing limits on technology.

In her article, she refers to the saying “the fish knows nothing of water”. This implies that we are so dependant on technology, yet we don’t realize how dependant we became. We need to get a better understanding of the role that technology plays in shaping our modern society.

The technological advancement in the field of reproductive technologies is considered to be the most counterseal fields in our current time. New reproductive technologies are designed to target the wealthy sector of society. It creates a society where the rich has access to this technology that could produce a “perfect baby”. By using new reproductive technologies, we are raising the moral notion of it. Beside the moral implications, there are other implications that add to the problem of new reproductive technologies. These implications include the business aspect of new reproductive technologies. Humans have become a commodity that could be sold and bought on the open market.

We are faced the chilling fact that we must control our technological advancement. We must be careful when we invent new technologies because it is irreversible. The minute we introduce a new technology, we unleash this uncontrollable creature that will eventually alter our society.

“Technology and Human Freedom” by P. Bereano

Although technology is influencing our society dramatically, its influence on society varies from one class to the other. In this article, the term “technology” is defined in terms of its influence on our social, political, cultural and economic lives. As technology evolves and grows, the ramifications to society also become greater and not reversible.

The economic implications of technology on society are called “externalities”, meaning the unexpected, unintended side effects of things. By building factories to produce a product, we are using technology to pollute the air we breathe and the water we drink. Until society creates air pollution laws which internalize these external factors, such side effects will continue.

On the surface, modern technology offers society many choices, many sources of information. Television for example appears to be a great decentralized resource for information; however it is used to deliver specific social and political information to society. As society becomes more reliant of television as their only source information, we become less aware of what is fact or fiction. As we become more attached to television, we become more alienated from society.

In “Technology and Human freedom” Bereano points out that technology affects us accordingly. The wealthy in society is more affected by technology than those who are not. One of the main perspectives that Bereano points out is that technology shapes society. He uses the example of a typewriter. The typewriter is not just a word processor; it is a whole social setting and involves a very important redefinition of roles and functions. As we improve and invent new technologies, our duties degrade accordingly.

“Three Paradoxes of the Information Age” by: Langdon Winner

In this article, Winner focuses on the notion that our living conditions and economic development improve through scientific and technological advancement. Winner goes on explaining three paradoxes of the information age and how it’s affecting our lives. These paradoxes are the paradox of intelligence, the paradox of life space, and the paradox of electronic democracy.

In winner’s justification of the paradox of intelligence, he points out that the more dependent we become on technology, the more we have to adapt to the changes. Winner says “A recurring pattern in modern technological and cultural transformation is that, as new technologies are invented, the kinds of people who will be using it they are also invented”. This quote is a clear statement that technology shapes our society accordingly. As we become more dependent on technology, our level of thinking and inelegance decreases. An example that Winner uses is that SAT scores in the U.S has dropped in the last decade.

The paradox of life space reveals that we invent time saving technologies in order to free more time to enjoy our leisure time. Technology in fact isolates us from society and takes up more of our leisure time. We become so dependant on it to a point that we become isolated from society.

Electronic democracy is an essential paradox in this article. Winner points out the fact that technologies such as television give us the freedom to access information at any time. However, we as a society are extremely attached to television to a point that we need a certain daily dose of television to feel satisfied.

The Matrix

In the 1999 production of the Wachowski brothers’ “The Matrix”, the world as we know it today has been destroyed by a catastrophic nuclear war that occurred between the human race and the machines. In the world that we live in today, humans are currently developing and producing artificially intelligent machines. These machines are designed to better assist humans to live a better and pleasant life. In the time setting of the Matrix however, artificially intelligent machines have turned against their creators. Humans now are being grown in huge amounts by machines, and they are being used to generate energy to power their colony of machines.

These humans are plugged into an unseen computer system that simulates a virtual reality of the world that we are currently living in. This notion raises the question of realism. Those people who live in the matrix know nothing of the real world and the fact that they are being enslaved by machines. They are also living in a dream world where they are kept under control by the computer program. According to the definition of what’s real; which is the things that we as human beings can see, touch, feel, and know, the humans of the matrix are not considered real human beings and do not exist. They are considered as objects that machines use to power their world.

The Matrix gives us a chilling view of a possibility of the distant feature where we become so dependant on technology to a point that we allow it to think for us and eventually controlling us. In order to eliminate this unforeseen possibility of being dominated by technology, we must eliminate technologies that are not needed by humans to be able to survive and live a normal life.

The Net

In “The Net” movie we are faced with many different perspectives on technological advancement, and its effect on our daily lives. One of theses perspectives is the fact that the internet is used as a hiding place for many people in this world. A lot of people in this day and age spend most of their time in front of a computer and on the internet. The internet in a way is shaping our society by isolating all of its users to themselves and to their computers. Our total dependence on computers to store information can lead to a situation similar to the one in “The Net”. There is this notion that there are some people out there overlooking all of our activities, and controlling us. These people have the power to shape our identity to their likings. As we seen in “The net”, cyber terrorist use technology to enforce political and economical changes upon society. Although we relay completely on technology to live our daily lives, it is possible that technology could be used against us to establish certain goals for certain people.

Another interesting perspective is the fact that our personal and classified information is really available for those who are capable of accessing computer systems. Since all of us are plugged via information to a computer system, we are being controlled by technology. In other words, we are not in control of our selves and that technology controls us to a certain extent.

Through this film, we learn the effects of too much technology on our sense of identity. Essentially, this movie reveals that bodies do not define our identities, but rather, and perhaps more perniciously, the recognition of our bodies determines our selfhood.

Commons passes ant-cloning bill

In this article published in the Toronto Star, there is a huge controversy hanging over the Canadian government regarding approving this bill. After a decade of debate over this topic, MPs passed a bill that bans human cloning and commercializes rent-a-womb contracts. These topics are very controversial in our society. It raises the notion of mother hood in term of ret-a-womb contracts. It raises the question of who is the real parent of the child. One of the commission’s arguing points is that the elements of human life should not be used as a commodity that is bought and sold. As technology evolves in this field, humans will become commodities that are sold and bought on the open market.

There are many consequences that will occur if the government passes this law and legalize human cloning. In this situation, humans will be cloned to be used in research labs. The cloned people will be classified as second class citizen because they are being used to make us healthier people. This article is directly related to “The Last Freak Show” written by C. Lach. By passing such a controversial bill, we become “freaks of technology”. We use technology to cure ourselves from diseases via human clones. As a technological society, are obligated to improve reproductive technologies in order to produce the “perfect race”. The notion of the “perfect race” is linked with the idea of having flawless human beings that are free of any defects. We become “freaks” just by thinking about the notion of the “perfect race”.

Another ethical topic is the destruction of embryos that are left over from in-vitro fertilization. Embryonic research has stirred the greatest controversy. A lot of pro-life Mps agree that embryonic research is flawed and should not be legalized.

Interview

I conducted an interview with a fellow Ryerson Engineering Student. He is a third year Industrial Engineering student. I set up a series of questions that are related to our topic sentence. The first question that I asked him was to identify one major paradox that is most noticeable? He replied by saying that we as a society became so attached to the computer and the internet in the last decade. Another paradox technology is the television. It has a great deal of power over people in society.

Another question was whether we are in control of technology or visa versa? He replied by saying that we and technology exert powers on each others. As a society we need several technologies to survive, meaning that we are in need of technology and that it is controlling us. On the other hand, society becomes in control when technological items are not needed for our survival. He also added that our total dependence on technology could make us lose power and become power less against technology with out knowing it happened.

One final question that I put in front of him was if he thought that a scenario similar to the one in the movie “The Matrix” could occur? He replied by agreeing with the question. He added that “The Matrix” could become a reality if we don’t control technology and limit its use. He also added that we should be smart about inventing new technologies. We first have to study the culture and see if this technology is needed to survive or it’s just a leisure technology.

His final word were that we are currently very dependant on technology in our daily lives to a point that it is has some type of control over our society, economy, and culture.

Conclusion

Since we are living in a technologically advanced society, we experience and feel how technology affects our daily style of living. As we invent and upgrade technologies, we are under the assumption that we are enhancing our lives and the future. Technology has the power to affect us culturally, economically, and socially. These affects varies from one society to the other.

The power that technology has over our society is immense. It creates cultural classes among societies. The wealthier class in society is more dependant on technology that those who are not. As technology becomes an inseparable part of our daily lives, we tend to grow to be alienated from the thing surrounding us. It essentially locks our mind into a box and we cannot free our mind easily because of our dependence on technology to live our lives.

The amount of power that technology has in shaping our economical prosperity is enormous. In this day and age, societies are measured according to their economical wealth. Only those societies who are technologically advanced are considered economically wealthy.

Technology has a considerable impact on our society. As technology evolves, new issues are raised that directly influence society. These issues include ethical and religious consequences. An example of the direct influence that technology has on our society is the idea of human cloning. Since we are developing this technology, we are faced with the notion that only god creates human beings and that it is ethically and religiously wrong. By totally depending on technology to assist us in living our live, we are slowly but surly shifting the power of control from our hands to technology.

Bibliography

1. Bereano Philip, “Technology and Human Freedom”, December 1984.

2. Canadian Press, “Commons passes anti-cloning bill”, October 28, 2003

3. Cassidy Carla, “Applying Technology To Ourselves”, April 07, 1995

4. Franklin Ursula, “The Real World of Technology”.

5. The Matrix, 1999

6. The Net, 1997

7. Wajcman Judy, “Feminist Perspectives on Technology”, 1991

8. Winner Langdon, “Three Paradoxes of the Information Age”.