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IS 376 Rapid Technology Changes: Issues and Effects Dr. Kapatamoyo 08/26/14 1.

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Presentation on theme: "IS 376 Rapid Technology Changes: Issues and Effects Dr. Kapatamoyo 08/26/14 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 IS 376 Rapid Technology Changes: Issues and Effects Dr. Kapatamoyo 08/26/14 1

2 Just what is technology? 2

3 Aphorism about technology  “one-tenth inspiration and nine-tenths perspiration” 3

4 Are we human or are we dancer? 4

5 Paradigm Shifts Some major events: Travel = Railways | Steamships | Aircraft - mechanical Communications = Telegraph | Radio - spectrum Entertainment = Television | Film – digital formats Convergence = Internet (add whatever here). 5

6 On Predictions Arthur C. Clarke's Three Laws When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. 6

7 Domestication Theory By Silverstone et al – The processes by which innovations, especially new technology is 'tamed' or appropriated by its users. First, technologies are integrated into everyday life and adapted to daily practices. Second, the user and its environment change and adapt accordingly. Third, these adaptations feedback into innovation processes in industry, shaping the next generation of technologies and services. 7

8 Domestication Theory A social theory as it highlights the negotiations, challenges to power and control, rule-making and breaking that accompany the introduction of technologies into any social setting. 8

9 Domestication Theory Domestication, essentially, is about giving technology a place in everyday life. The concept catches the practical, temporal, spatial place, but most importantly, it underlines how this is mixed with the cultural as an expression of lifestyles and values. 9

10 Domestication Theory A technology's capacity to leverage across a range of tasks, adaptability to a range of different tasks, ease of mastery, and accessibility. 10

11 Technological Determinism Technological determinism argues that: Technology is autonomous (that is, independent of human will and develops by its own laws), and It causes social change Technological developments are unstoppable (inevitability of technological progress) The technological determinist view is a technology-led theory of social change: technology is seen as 'the prime mover' in history. Cause and effect relations between technology and human society 11

12 Cultural (Social) Determinism Social determinism argues that society is responsible for the development and deployment (use) of particular technologies Technology mirrors our values, as well as our flaws. In other words, technologies are subject to social forces. It is “The making of the made world to suit perceived human priorities”. The same technologies mean different things (e.g., advantages and disadvantages) to different social groups and societies. 12

13 Cultural (Social) Determinism Technology determinism; not so simple Access, Know how, Interest, Innovation should not sacrifice the good for the perfect, or the future for the present. Generative technology video 13

14 Is Technology Neutral? A central issue of contention between technological determinists and social determinists is whether technology is neutral. Technological determinism holds that technology is value- free, and is therefore neutral. Technical features determine how people may use a particular technology Social determinism argues that technology is value-laden, and cannot be neutral (cannot exist in a vacuum) What features are put there in the first place? Who makes the decision? 14

15 Technology: Fix or Solution? Technological Fix – the idea that all problems can find solutions in better and new technologies. Now used as a dismissive phrase to describe cheap, quick fixes by using inappropriate technologies; these fixes often create more problems than they solve. Social problems are typically more complex than a technological resolution. Technology most likely offers a partial, one-sided solution to complicated problems. A systems approach as an alternative (consider everything as an ecosystem) Should creators be concerned with the social aspects of technological problems? Do they have social responsibilities? 15

16 Law of Unintended Consequences Human actions have unintended or unforeseen effects. These effects can be positive or negative, and in some cases perverse (totally in opposite to what was originally intended). 16

17 Post-Development Social Shaping of the Internet The Internet was not developed for the distribution of porn or to promote the causes of radical or terrorist groups – but its infrastructure enables those activities. The Internet was not developed for the perpetual surveillance of its individual users – but this is now a constituent feature of the system. The Internet was not developed for the purpose of illegal file sharing, online shopping or orchestrating flash mobs – but its users have identified the potentials for these new forms of action. 17

18 Tech Drivers Industry Patents and Copyrights |Labs | Diffusion Start-ups (or individuals) Working at the edges | Take risks Government Broad goals | Policies Universities (education sector) Research | Patents and copyrights | Publications and white papers 18

19 The ABCs of Tech Advance Technology is developed based on decisions representing a range of social and technology elites: A: Armed forces Konrad Zuse – Programmable computer. Vannevar Bush – the MEMEX. DARPA; in case of the Internet. B: Bureaucracy (did Al Gore invent the Internet?, policies, visibility) C: Corporate power (Financing, Profits, etc) 19

20 Critical Questions In what ways does technology seek to improve the efficiency of human activity? To what extent does the Internet personalize your usage of information? What is the difference between data and knowledge? How many terms can you think of that are derived from computing technology and now commonly used in everyday life? How critical is digital connectivity in the conduct of your daily affairs? 20


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