Social Sciences v. Engineering

According to Johnston, what is a “technological fix,” or techno-fix? Why have techno-fixes become popular among political and economic elites, especially after World War II? And why, according to Huesemann and Huesmann, should we be cautious or skeptical about techno-fixes?

According to Johnston, a “technological fix” is the idea of using technology as a “cure-all.” It intentionally became popular in the early 20th century, most notably after the Second World War when engineers and scientists began to question how technologies like nuclear could be used to enhance our daily lives. It began popular among political and economic elites especially because it provided each respective party with new benefits and opportunities; for Alvin Weinberg for example, “the Manhattan Project represented the paradigm technological fix, in which a powerful technology neutralized enemy aggression and bypassed diplomatic negotiation and political alliances. Similarly, he credited the H-bomb as a technological solution to the problem of war that did not require changing human nature.”

Huesemann and Huesmann say that while technology is cool and all, our rush to apply it to everything in our lives tends to lead to unforeseen and unfortunately irreversible damage to different degrees, not to mention the side effects that are basically inevitable. In short, in our quest to fix everything with technology, we should be careful that we don’t destroy what we already have.

One thought on “Social Sciences v. Engineering

  1. I agree that technological fixes can potentially dangerous but we also cannot forget the benefits that technology has had on us throughout the course of time. There are always dangerous technological advancements, most of them designed to kill someone that a country or person does not like. You can basically say that like 90 percent of technological advancements since the beginning of time is made to harm. But a lot of technology is developed to help the human race as well. We have things like artificial hearts, computers, hearing aids, glasses, and prosthetics. I do not mind if we at least try to make these a cure-all in some people’s lives. While we should be somewhat skeptical about these when they are first developed since we do not know how well they would work. Once the kinks are out, we should try to use these positive technologies to good use.

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