The Trap of Technology

The answer to why  governments or religions fear air pumps and electrical machines is that technological advancements will often exacerbate any cracks in those two institutions. In reading from The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson  there is a very clear example of this. This is where the  technologies needed to extract coal from around Birmingham arrive in late 1700’s and created a population shift to that area as noted in the book(Johnson p. 167) . This lead to “…a smaller- scale rendition of the colonies’s taxation without representation.”(Johnson p. 167).  This shift in technology showed the cracks in the English  government as they did not address the distribution of seats of parliament resulting in unrest in their people. This shows that new technologies can shake a nation just by being invented and used.  Today there is one research that could drastically impact everyone on a social level.  That is life extension research and it would have a wide range of impacts. This would most notably separate out society into those with extended life and those with not as these treatments will most likely be very expensive. This would cause much social strife as those without extended lives would demand that they be given them too and those with the money/power to get these treatments would likely resist these demands. To answer the questions in the about what are technological fix’s according to johnston and to him they are technology to solve social problems. The reason why technological fixes have become so popular among political and economic elites is because they are timely and reassuring solutions. However  as noted by Huesemann and Huesmann new technologies often come with negative and sometimes  permanent unforeseen consequences.

To sum it all up technology has the capability to reshape the world around it.  May it be fracturing governments to answering social issues technology will always have its costs. It is up to us to weigh if any technology is worth the price we must pay.     

2 thoughts on “The Trap of Technology

  1. Hi Brady!

    I totally agree with your interpretation of why governments and religions should fear air pumps and electrical machines. In my post, I talked about the inventions of such technology leading to a deeper curiosity of things, much like how Priestly started analyzing Christianity. So, yours works pretty well with mine! I was somewhat aware of life extension research, but I didn’t know it was as prevalent as you make it out to be. I’ll have to look into it more! Technology definitely has the power to reshape the world, too. I talked about how a robot gained citizenship a few years ago in my post, and that’s definitely paradigm-shifting material. Good post overall man!

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  2. I like how you pointed out specifically why technology grants power over these establishments. Your point really highlights how fragile these positions of power are and I think if they accepted technology instead of being afraid of it, it would help strengthen their authority. I also think it is interesting how you talked about society as a whole and its reaction to progress with new technologies. It is important to note that yes, technology as a tool is very powerful, but it can also be devastating when a large amount of the population can not afford access to it.

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