APS301 Living in the Labyrinth of Technology: Chapter 1
1. Explain technology-based connectedness and why prior to industrialization it was
indistinguishable from culture-based connectedness.
technology-based connectedness --> network of flows of matter + energy
prior to industrialization, the social division of labour assigned entire activities required to
maintain and evolve a way of life to individual people, thereby creating social roles like
farmers, bakers, etc
o as a result, technology-based connectedness generally corresponded to the social
organization of a way of life
Technology based connectedness is anchored in the biosphere
Indistinguishable before because it was rooted in culture based connectedness
Interdependencies based on kinship and social ties (not on markets)
culture-based connectedness controlled technology-based connectedness until
the result of a technology depends on the function of the technology and the surroundings of
2. Using the concept of cultural cycle, explain why the interaction between technology and the
host society is a reciprocal one.
"homo faber" = man the maker
Externalization through behaviour objectivization internalization renewed
The culture cycle is a central aspect of living (wake up in morning, reestablish relationships
with others and adapt to new situations of that day, re organize brain mind, go to sleep,
„people changing technology‟ and „technology changing people‟
Activities that change the technology a society possesses and affects the technology based
connectedness of that society
This changes how life is rooted in the biosphere.
Changes to technology based connectedness affect culture based connectedness (rebuild
Technology changing people - surroundings influences a person‟s life.
Technology becomes universal – all cultures forced to adapt to a way of life based on
People change technology to create a new way of life – technology changes people, forces
them to change culture and adapt to the technology-based one.
3. Explain the difference between the way materials flow through the networks of flows of matter
associated with the way of life of a society and the way they flow within the biosphere. What is
the significance of these differences?
The way materials flow through the networks of flows of matter associated with the way of
life of a society is that it is in a linear fashion
Take from the biosphere, change, waste is produced.
In the biosphere, everything works in cycles, oxygen cycle, nitrogen cycle etc. In the
biosphere, there is NO waste; the output of one thing becomes the input of another.
The difference is that although a linear flow of materials seems to work now, ultimately, it is
Materials flow is a closed system Nature produces flows in closed cycles (transformations) to supply the flows for the linked
A „self-purifying system‟
4. What are the primary differences between the network of flows of energy associated with the
way of life of a society and the network of flows of energy within the biosphere? Explain the
significance of these differences.
2. Non-sustainable (becomes non sustainable when we take so much at such a high
rate that the biosphere does not have time to replenish itself, Ex. Fish)
Everything we do is connected via energy flows
Planet depends on cycles
If you take out more than can be produced, ecosystems could collapse
Output, energy back into space via low energy heat.
5. Explain how the flows across the society-biosphere boundary can be classified in terms of
their availability for human use.
o Sustainable – if cycle can produce enough of material to regenerate, rate of human
consumption is less than or equal to rate at which the biosphere can regenerate
o Non-sustainable – some are a partially sustainable, and partially non sustainable,
human consumption is greater than the rate at which it can be regenerated
o Continuous – into networks of flows of energy in a way that odes not affect human
use ( not on present scale) Ex. Sun
6. Why does the technical division of labour separate the technology – based connectedness
from the culture based-connectedness of human life and society? Explain how it strengthens the
former at the expense of the latter.
Converts portions of a technology based connectedness integral to the culture based
connectedness of a society into a relatively separate socio-technical entity structured around
a sequence of endlessly repeating steps
Strengthens TBC in 5 ways:
1. workers assigned narrow tasks that can be optimized
2. production plan can be created and optimized
3. task can be assigned to either people or machines
4. industry can use unskilled workers, reduce labour cost
5. workers are isolated (no socialization), more time for production
These changes result in increased efficiency, productivity and profitability
Weakens CBC in 5 ways:
1. workers became unintelligent
2. workers had to suppress their brains, lose creativity
o Result is nervous fatigue and psychological issues
o Emerging skills aren‟t actually skills, the people learning to do the steps didn‟t figure
out how to do it
o Suppression of self 3. Control:
o Method Control – how you do your work
o Timing Control – how you pace your work
o Demand of factory increase as opposed to craftsmen
o Monetary demand increases
o Problem solving demand increases
o workers faced increased demands of having to tend to, monitor and fix the machines
5. isolation of workers eliminates social support
o Created a growing gap between TCB and CBC
o Workplace is separated from daily life
o Change in the relationship with the biosphere
o Throughput of matter and energy increased
7. Effect of industrialization on the tech-based connectedness of a society
All things involved in technology are based on/suspended in CBC and TBC
Industrialization has 2 components:
o People changing technology
o Technology changing people
Up until industrialization, most of society‟s CBC controlled TBC
Industrialization caused people to work with technology in order to increase an output of a
Technology became very important in society
People were forced to adapt to the technology and remove themselves from their cultures
as they moved to their new way of life.
8. Principle economic adjustment
Capital becomes most critical factor of production