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Chapter 22

CHAPTER 22 detailed notes FOR 4.0

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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CHAPTER 22: TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT TECHNOLOGY: SAVIOUR OR FRANKENSTEIN? August 6, 1945: Americans dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 200,000 Japanese (mostly civilians) Bombing of Hiroshima divides twentieth century into two time periods: 1) The Era of Nave Optimism: Before the bombing took place People believed that technology could do no wrong TECHNOLOGY (as defined before the bombing): The application of scientific principles to the improvement of human life It seemed that technology was a one-way street to progress and technological advancements produced great tangible benefits Scientists were regarded very highly 2) After the bombing: Growing pessimism towards technology following the first nuclear bombing in Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico, and then three weeks later, the second, on Hiroshima J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the top-secret Manhattan Project along with 3 past and 7 future Nobel Prize winners designed the atomic bomb (Oppenheimer = father of atomic bomb) After this bombing, many people began to perceive all forms of technology as highly harmful Technology also gave rise to many other disasters form 1970s-1980s: 1976: Legionnaires Disease Outbreak Disease-causing pathogen spread through air-conditioning systems and aerosol containers caused 34 deaths 1977: Dangerous toxic chemicals discovered leaking into basements and drinking water of residents of Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, New York www.notesolution.com 1979: Partial meltdown of reactor core at Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania caused lethal radioactive water and gas emission into the environment 1984: Gas Leak at Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal India killed 4000 people and injured 30,000 (13 of which died later) 1986: Explosion of No. 4 reactor at Chernobyl Ukraine released 30-40 times the radioactivity of Hiroshima causing 10,000 deaths, mutations in humans and animals, and unusable crop land 1989: Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska spilling 42 million litres of crude oil, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, and killing many animals Charles Perrow: Defined these events as normal accidents NORMAL ACCIDENTS: Refers to the concept that the very complexity of modern technologies ensures that they will inevitably fail, but in unpredictable ways Ulrich Beck: We live in a risk society RISK SOCIETY: A society in which technology distributes danger among all categories of the population Some categories in a risk society are more exposed to danger than others Also a risk society does not only involve technological accidents, but instead also comprises of environmental threats (e.g. greenhouse effect, global warming, acid rain, etc) these threats are considered more stressful than technological accidents in a risk society Neil Postman: Refers to the U.S. as the first technopoly TECHNOPOLY: A society in which technology has taken over culture thus, technology obliges people to solve problems in a technical manner, as opposed to based on moral criteria Biotechnology: Involves mapping the human genome and genomes of animals and plants to give rise to genetically modified species sceptics maintain that this could prove to be the greatest technological threat TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE MAKE HISTORY www.notesolution.com
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