Technology is Easy and Science is Power

The final chapters of The Invention of Air, focuses on Priestley’s involvement in multiple controversies (Johnson 152). He published History of the Corruptions of Christianity, picking apart core Christian beliefs (Johnson 152-153). Priestley’s challenge of religion from a scientific perspective, is not only an attack on a belief system, but an attack on how the country is run. Governments and religions should fear air pumps and electrical machines, because knowledge is power that, in many cases, take their power away. A current example is AI technology, how can AI be regulated in the government? Can it be regulated at all? Is furthering human advancement worth the controversy this kind of technology could cause?

In Sean F. Johnston’s “The Technological Fix as Social Cure-All” he describes a “technological fix” as the idea that technology can solve or “fix” any problem (Johnston 48). The World War II introduced many new technologies especially in nuclear energy (Johnston 49). The war is often looked at as “fixed” by technology and not by human growth, the motivation to continue this easy solution would have been ideal. Essentially, technology provided an easy way out of the war. Although, Huesemann and Huesemann state “the benefits of technology” cannot be “obtained without cost”. They cite the example of global warming stating some costs of advancing technology are very irreversible (Huesemann and Huesemann 9). A quick and easy “techno-fix” may be efficient and cheap, but these qualities exemplify human complacency. A modern example of this is modern Instagram culture. People seek a quick solution to their mood through the instant gratification they receive from likes on social media. But the longterm effects of seeking satisfaction on the internet are actually very detrimental to mental health.

3 thoughts on “Technology is Easy and Science is Power

  1. AI is an interesting new technology and I do believe that it will cause a great change in our daily lives. This will be the great loss of privacy in our lives as AIs become better at predicting our behavior. I believe that instead of the future of AIs rebelling against us they will be most likely used to better advertise products to us. Companies will invest in anything that will raise their bottom line and will invest in AI that can predict what we want before we even know that we want it. This will probably lead to people trying to resist this immense violation of privacy and governments might step in to reign in the companies. In the end because the world is boring, I doubt that we will have to deal with murderous AI but ones that will massively violate our privacies.

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  2. Lauren, I sincerely enjoyed reading your interpretation of the assigned readings this week. I like how thorough and evidence based your response was. Your point of “knowledge is power” is so strong and important, I completely agree! I think the more we know and understand the easier it is to gain control of anything (in this case the government). My question is when does knowledge and its relation to power become dangerous? This relates to the Johnston and Huesemann readings as well, just like you said that some effects of technology are irreversible and problematic to society and the environment.

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  3. I really like your connection to Instagram posts; I think this provides a very clear visual on how this process of techno fixes works. It can be hard to understand how this happens on a broader scale over time and I feel like breaking it down to a small moment shows a clear understanding of the issue. I also really liked when you said “The war is often looked at as “fixed” by technology and not by human growth, the motivation to continue this easy solution would have been ideal.” I personally never have thought of a war as being “fixed” by technology, although I do agree that technology can sometimes disguise itself as human growth which can become a dangerous game.

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