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Canada (158,028)
Sociology (1,053)
SOCA02H3 (310)
Mc Kinon (31)


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Mc Kinon

Technology and the Global Environment TECHNOLOGY: SVIOUS OR FRANKENSTEIN? Scholars interested in the relationship between technology and society recognize that the bombing of Hiroshima divided the twentieth century into two distinct periods. Technology was widely defined as the application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life. o It seemed to be driving humanity down a one-way street named progress, picking up speed with every passing year thanks to successively more powerful engines. Most people regarded technologists with reverence and awe. They were viewed as a sort of priesthood whose objectivity allowed them to stand outside the everyday world and perform near-magical acts. Oppenheimer organized the largest and most sophisticated technological project in human history up to that time. Oppenheimers misgivings continued after the war. Having witnessed the destructive power he helped unleash, he wanted the United States to set an example to the only other nuclear power at the time, the Soviet Union. He wanted both countries to halt thermo-nuclear research and refuse to develop the hydrogen bomb. North Americans value science and technology highly. In the postwar years, a growing number of people have come to share Oppenheimers doubts about the bomb. Indeed, they have extended those doubts not just to the peaceful use of nuclear energy but also to technology in general. Increasingly, people are beginning to think of technology as a monster run amok, a Frankenstein rather than a savior. The term normal accident recognizes that the very complexity of modern technologies ensures they will inevitably fail, though in unpredictable ways Complex programs cannot be tested for all possible eventualities. Therefore, when rare combinations of conditions occur, they have unforeseen consequences that are usually minor, occasionally amusing, sometimes expensive, and too often dangerous. A risk society is a society in which technology distributes danger among all categories of the population To many people, technology seems to be spinning out of control. From their point of view, it enables the production of ever-more goods and services but at the cost of breathable air, drinkable water, safe sunlight, plant and animal diversity, and normal weather patterns. Neil Postman refers to the United States as a technopoly. He argues that the United States is the first country in which technology has taken control of culture. Technology, he says, compels people to try to solve all problems using technical rather than moral criteria, although technology is often the source of the problems. www.notesolution.com
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