Technology and Societies
I agree that technology has influenced social and cultural changes, however, I believe that societies themselves considerably act as catalysts to direct this influence. The impact of technology on individuals and societies has begun early as humans started to use objects in their environments to help accomplish some jobs and tasks; for example: hunting, farming, and cooking. Hence, ancient civilizations like Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age have been named after the materials that people had adopted to make their tools, or what so called artifacts. These names imply that artifacts were the center point of each civilization at any time period.
As historical archaeology indicates, the development of the materials and artifacts of any civilization associates with some consequential changes in social structures; cultural norms and appearance; and religious values and beliefs. In this manner, one would conclude that the relationship between society and technology was mutual. In other words, individuals manipulate natural resources to invent tools that they need; in turn, these tools affect individuals’ lifestyle and activities. Thus, the more natural resources are exploited by any culture, the more likely that this culture will be civilized and flourished, as history tells us about Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Egyptian civilizations. Interestingly, the interaction between societies and technological artifacts still has a significant impact on both technology and society. For instance, the intervention of traffic signs and traffic lights has helped to safely manage people and vehicles movement on roads.
Substantively, the question that might arise here is who has the control over technology development and sustainability? Are they societies or technology per se?
Early in the twentieth century, radical philosophers like Clarence Ayres, John Dewey, and William Ogburn adopted the term technological determinism, which was endorsed by Thorstein Veblen, an American sociologist, to describe how technology derives and determines the development of societies and cultures. Later on, this term had been formulated as a theory by the famous German philosopher and economist, Karl Marx. Marx stated that societies are built and structured according to the changes in technology and economy.
Technological determinists consider technology as a history determiner whereas people don’t have power to control neither the negative nor the positive effect of technology progress on their life and society. Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian philosopher, elucidates that people are unconsciously...