Social Impact of Technology - David Brodosi
First, the 14th International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education in April of 2018 presented the article, Visions of Robots, Networks, and Artificial Intelligence: Europeans’ Attitudes Towards Digitisation and Automation in Daily Life. This research explored public perspectives and attitudes towards robots and technology in our society. It found that more than 70% of those surveyed believed that robots steal human jobs. However, 80% agreed that “robots are necessary as they can do jobs that are too hard or too dangerous for people.”(Cosima RUGHINIŞ, Raisa ZAMFIRESCU 2018). Unfortunately, 44% of those employed feel that robots threatened their current job which highlights the genuine social impact of technology. This article then, shares an authentic perspective society has on the impact of technology and suggests we must strike a balance between our needs and wants when it comes to technology.
Second, let us consider the article by P. Brey’s titled, “The Technological Construction of Social Power” This article suggests that technology both enhances and creates social power both intrinsically and derived from its artifacts. Said more simply, technology allows those in power to create a new power and or increase the speed and efficiency of their current power. This impressive display of control creates a behind the scenes view of technology which is not fully comprehended by the average citizen. We walk over to a computer, turn it on and do a Google search for restaurants, or access an ATM for money. What we do not consider is the ways technology truly impacts our social power, or how others use their social power to control us.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception possesses an exciting perspective as pertains to technology. In Chapter 8, author James Gibson describes the theory of affordances. This theory, in basic terms, suggests that all things offer benefits to animals/humans; and that these benefits can be perceived differently depending on who is using or encountering them. Using this theory when considering what technology affords society is unique. Suggesting that technology is in the eye of the beholder, while not a new concept, provides some individuality to this topic. Moreover, understanding that society does not possess a universal view of technology’s power and function implies more work needs to be done to educate people about the purpose and progression of technology.
Collectively, these articles combined with last week’s readings introduce a series of societal impacts of technology that not many have considered. From the fundamental human laborer perspective of Karl Marx to the political qualities suggested by Layndon Winners, there is no escaping the ever-growing impacts of technology. This is no doubt a cautionary tale for both the user and the creators of technology. Society, while admitting the necessity and benefits of technology must use it’s power carefully and in consideration of its impacts on society as a whole. David Brodosi