Saturday, September 2, 2017

Technology and Society

Examples abound of the ways technology cuts across vastly different political and economic systems. The sociologist Reinhard Bendix compared the American, British, and soviet experience in his work and authority in industry (1956) and found that the managerial concerns about the attitudes of workers and productivity were similar in all three countries. Even earlier, James Burham in The Managerial Revolution (1941) put the case for a convergence toward similar patterns of industrial organization in democratic, fascist, and communist societies. More recently such critics as Jacques Ellui have concluded even more sweepingly that technology innovation has its own dynamic that not only reaches across political ideologies but also represents a monstrous force that must be contained with the utmost vigilance if it is not to enslave people. This negative view finds expression in various ways, from calls for a complete halt in further technological development to suggestions of milder forms of controlling or taming technology.

Technology Assessment

Some observers insist that the real dangers from technology, such as irreversible ecological damage and widely fluctuating employment patterns, can be dealt with if the danger are known in advance. The U.S. office of technology Assessment (OTA) was established in 1973 to advise congress on the potential social and environmental effect of new technologies; on their likely costs; and on their impacts on already existing technology systems.

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