Issues of Technology
Technology is the know-how and creative process that may assist people to ‘utilise tools’ resources and systems to solve problems and enhance control over the natural and made environment to improve the human condition.
Technologies can be the process of doing something, the resources used in doing something or the end result of the process.
4 main aspects:
Technology as applied practical or technical knowledge . The use of tools and skills to solve problems and to extend human capacities. Resources created to help meet human needs and wants.
Technology as hardware. Are tools, machines, instruments and gadgets used in combination with technical knowledge.
Technology as technique. Methods, skills and routines used.
Technology as organisation of knowledge. Process where technology systems are organised, controlled and managed in networks. Eg. Digital and satellite telecommunications, media, internet etc. These technologies however are not useful until they create some advantage to humans.
Reasons for the Development of Technology
We use technology as a means of improving the environment in which we live.
To Improve Upon Existing Technology- Technology is apart of and evolutionary process. Eg. Computers which were first invented in the 1950s have undergone many changes in design, efficiency and application. There have been 5 generations of change that have occurred to improve already existing technology.
For Economic Benefits- for manufactures and producers, this meant that they could produce goods cheaply, in large quantities and in less time and using less people. This has also expanded to the use of cheaper materials and quicker methods of production.
To Compete with Existing Technology- this is similar t economic benefits, companies compete with each other to produce the same goods, but at competitive prices.
For the Social Betterment- people strive to improve their current living conditions. This is done through the use of household, community and workplace technologies.
The Emergence of Global Communities- satellite has help connect people and has created a global community, satellites provide links with existing technology such as phoes and televisions and computers. The internet has narrowed the gap between people al over the world.
As a Response to Social Problems- scientific technology developments in the areas of medicine have assisted in areas of health. Security technology has assisted in business and homes and cars in the face of rising crimes.
Technology and Wellbeing
Technical wellbeing – is our ability to control the environment. Eg new building materials that keep homes cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Light and sound control, air filters and air conditioners etc.
Practical wellbeing – is how household and community benefits come from understanding, communicating and functioning effectively in the world we know. Improved methods of transport eg. Roads. Communication eg. Phone internet faxes etc.
Emancipatory wellbeing- is our ability to participate in a variety of situations. Technology creates challenges eg. ATMs, EFTPOS, computers etc.
Factors Affecting Access to and Accepting of resources
( Refer to your groups in context chapter as these have been covered)
The Impact of Technology on Lifestyle
Greater access to technology has resulted in a higher standard of living.
Technologies and the Family
Reproductive technology- contraception’s have given women more freedom of choice in their lives. Artificial reproductive technology (ART) gives couple the opportunity to have children if they cannot conceive. It is expensive however. Ultrasound technology has allowed for superior monitoring of the progress of pregnancies and give information about the condition of the baby. Adoption- more acceptable to be single parent. Decline in support from government.
Genetic engineering- is one type of modern bio-technology. It is the manipulation of living tissue to make products new agricultural technologies allows for the development of new varieties of plants and animals this provides better use of limited resources such as water and land. Plants can be designed to be pest and disease resistant.
Household technologies- are seen as a way of reducing labour and saving time in housework and domestic chores. Women reply on appliances like dishwashers, clothes driers and microwaves. Microwaves have changed the ways in which foods is prepared. Now that more women are entering the workforce there is little time for domestic chores like preparing meals and house cleaning etc. DVDs and VCR have all altered household activities to some degree. This can impact negatively in ways of communication and the time spent together as a family.
Computer and communications technologies- face to face communication is declining due to peoples busy lives. More used are mobile phones and faxes and via email and internet. This can mean a lack of communication.
Technologies and Communities
Building technologies- our basic need as humans is shelter; over the years the materials used have changed due to evolutionary technology. Architectural designs have improved through computer applications and programs like CAD.
Communications- telecommunication has changed the way we send and receive messages. Three key factors that have influenced communication are the computer, digital technology and the development of optical fibres. Digital technology means that more information can be carried then that of analogue technology.
Consumer service- barcode stores all the relevant information when ordering, pricing and distributing goods. The barcode is then scanned on a scanner which sends all the information to a central database. EFTPOS is effective- cashless sales. Internet and phone- banking and shopping. Etc
Entertainment- televisions and DVDs and VCRs provide high quality images at home or cinemas. Telephone can be used to book tickets at sporting or entertainment events. Internet provided communication through chat rooms. Negative effects. Families don’t interact with each other as much. People can become isolated in homes and exercise less. Health issues such as eyesight problems. Children maybe exposed to pornography etc. positives means people can enjoy activities like computer games etc.
Finance and Banking- EFTPOS and ATM machines have made it more convenient, fast and accessible for consumer purchasing. They are easy to operate and make fewer mistakes. This means less face to face contact with banks when managing finances as you can also manage your finances via the internet.
Food- genetically modified foods- for many farmers improving their productivity they use methods like crossbreeding. The best offspring are used to created better characteristic for future generations. Preservation techniques mean that food has been prepared and can be put straight into a microwave for fast meals.
Health and Medicines- improved diagnosis and treatment of diseases means that people are living longer and the quality of their life has been improved. Equipment/technology such as MRIs and CAT scans and ultrasounds improve the speed and correctness of diagnosis and the monitoring of patients conditions. Immunisation has reduced the effect of catching contagious diseases eg. Chicken pox. Family life has been altered with genetic engineering such as IVF and GIFT and contraception.
Travel and Transport- fossil fuels used today- in the future new technologies will reduce the consumption of fuels. They will become more sustainable and renewable such as solar power and electric powered cars. Roads becoming congested- rail technology is being pursued, with faster trains travelling between cities.
Technologies and Work
Workers are classified in 3 areas
– Primary – farmers and mining
– Secondary or manufacturing – factory workers
– Tertiary or service workers – teachers, nurses, electricians.
Industrial Revolution resulted in less primary workers and more secondary workers.
Technology revolution has resulted in less secondary and more tertiary workers.
Job definition- Information Technology (IT) industry. More people working part-time and casual as well as more people working from home.
Structure of the workplace- mechanisation means fewer employees but those that are there are highly skilled employees. Means higher quality of product and improved productivity as most of the work is carried out but machinery. Automation is where the work is carried out by robots and computerisation.
Job satisfaction- results when people can make the connection with the effort they put in and the results coming out. However working with out of date technology can lead to reduced job satisfaction.
Efficiency- technology is becoming more efficient but at the same time more complex this complexity can often reduce the efficiency of the technology. It allows for better stock control, improved productivity increased competitiveness etc.
Employment and unemployment- more employees are working unpaid overtime. Development in technology has cause greater pressure to keep up to date.
Training and education- in many areas staff need to use training as a means of keeping their employment. Retraining is important and this can also improve job satisfaction. Jobs are no longer for life, any people will change their careers and jobs more frequently.
Issues Related to Technological Development
Equity- what is just or fair. Inequity in relation to technology, peoples access to it and the effect it can have on peoples lives.
Censorship – not all material on the internet is suitable for all viewers therefore it needs to be censored eg. Children access pornography.
Electronic Media- the media can have a positive or negative effect on society and individuals. The media can provide suitable role models. Eg. More women’s sports. Encourages younger girls to be more participant.
Privacy- Employees can be monitored to see which sites they are visiting a bit like the Big Brother scenario being monitored by security cameras in shopping centres to some is seen as an invasion of privacy. The Privacy and Personal Informaiton Act 1998 (NSW) protects the rights of people so that the information they give out is only used for the purpose it was collected for.
Computer Crime- is the illegal and unauthorised entry into computers. Computer viruses can cause a lot of damage such as data loss which can long term affect businesses etc.
The Environment- industrialisation has resulted in an increase in pollution levels. Degradable pollution materials that will breakdown. Non-degradable pollution is materials that wont breakdown i.e. plastics. Help by recycling and reusing.
Quality- quality of goods. Mass production may also cause deterioration of quality.
Technological change impacts on all of us
We have little power to avoid the changes that it creates in our lives
Technological developments create a cycle of change that becomes intertwined with our lives
Technology has produced machines which have taken away jobs that were once performed by humans
Machines are often cheaper in the long run and they don’t complain take sick leave or require holidays
Automatic tellers are cheaper and operate for longer hours and make less mistakes than human bank tellers.
Contraception allows women to have greater control over lives.
Some people are now choosing not to have families
More women are entering the workforce as a result of this and the effects of other technological developments, altering the nature of the workplace.
We are locked into a consumer society as a result of technology and the number of labour saving goods and services that are available to us
Communication systems, convenience food, leisure pursuits, recreation activities, faster and safer all alter the way we live
Retraining has become essential as a means of keeping up to date with technology.