The Technological Affliction Essay

3430 words - 14 pages

Computerization along with the utilization of a wide array of other techniques has allowed the formation of the Information Age we currently live in today; this period of time is marked by the knowledge-based society that is enveloped by a high-tech economy whose reach spans the globe, utilizing its powers of societal influence to maintain a dominance over human-kind and to bring about further evolution of modern technology and technique. Humans, through development over time, have given a breath of life to technology, allowing it to be looked at in the light of being its own living system. Technology as a system, as compared to the characteristics of life; has different levels of organization, uses energy for maintenance and growth, responds to a given environment, adapts to its environment, and produces further offspring. The missing characteristic of life is the system being composed of cells, which can be accounted for if we consider the system to utilize humans as the cells that compose this living system.
Taking this view of a living system, we can define the relationship between life and technology as that of two species that are evolving together. Technology, though claiming to be for the betterment of man, has brought many strains upon humans as side effects. Technology is like a disease that has spread throughout civilizations, taking deep root, leaving us content by offering some improvements that society’s structure did not have before, while also bringing many handicaps. This disease, can be described using the concepts of symptoms, transmission, and resistance. This being said, technology can be labeled as having a symbiotic, but parasitic, relationship to human kind, assuming technology is not neutral. For reference, technology can be defined as the entirety of means designed to achieve a desired end.
The common perception of technology is that it is neither good, nor bad, having its final normative value resting with how we, as humans, use the technology available to us. It is said, that the influence of the user gives the value for the outcome of technological use as being good or bad, and is independent of the technology itself. To determine if technology is or is not neutral, we must first define the characteristics of neutrality; for technology to be genuinely neutral, we would expect the following characteristics;
[1] Use is optional.
[2] Fully under human control.
[3] Predictable and manageable consequences.
[4] Predictable and manageable risks of bad side effects.
[5] Benefits and risks should be fairly and equitably distributed.
[6] Should produce a clear ‘net gain’, since intended to do so.
[7] Risks must be incidental and accidental, not systematic or inherent.
- (“Is Technology ‘Neutral”?”, Dr. David Skrbina)
Through thorough analysis of these properties, we can come to a rational conclusion that technology is not neutral. The use of technology during its origination could have been considered to...

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