05+Path+Dependence

05+Path+Dependence - SOSC111 Science Technology& Society...

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Unformatted text preview: SOSC111 Science, Technology & Society Lecture 5 Path Dependence and Socio-Technical Networks Technologies are not isolated things Technologies are not isolated artifacts. They form interlocking networks of artifacts and knowledge. We say that technologies are “embedded” Technologies are thus embedded within particular material and knowledge networks There appears to be a logic to the path of technological development When technologies appear to develop on their own, we call it technological momentum Cannot be stopped? Path Dependence Another result of interdependence is that technological decisions will limit future options . Given limited resources and inflexible social systems, society is often tied to going down a specific technological path. This is called path dependence . Time Artifact A OR Artifact B Time Artifact C Artifact A Artifact D OR OR Artifact E Artifact B Artifact F Time Artifact C Artifact A Artifact D OR OR Artifact E Artifact B Artifact F Time Artifact C Artifact A Artifact D OR OR Artifact E Artifact B Artifact F Artifacts & Knowledge Artifact A Knowledge A Artifact B Knowledge B Artifact A-1 Artifact A Knowledge A Knowledge A Artifact A-2 OR Knowledge A Artifact B Artifact B-1 Knowledge B Knowledge B Etc. Artifact A-1 Artifact A Knowledge A Knowledge A Artifact A-2 OR Knowledge A Artifact B Artifact B-1 Knowledge B Knowledge B Etc. Artifact A-1 Knowledge A Artifact A-2 Knowledge A Artifact A-X Knowledge B Our Computer Keyboards An interesting story about path dependence is the computer keyboard It has the same set of keys – in the same pattern called QWERTY – as those of old-fashioned typewriters Why? QWERTY When originally developed, the QWERTY arrangement was an optimal match between human speed and the maximum speed that a typewriter could operate without jamming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =hCzk0rdPu-A In the following decades, typewriter mechanisms improved, and new key and faster key arrangements were also proposed. Artifact (Typewriter) Technique (QWERTY) Artifact (QWERTY) Technique (QWERTY) Artifact (Other type of typewriter) Technique (Scientific keyboard) The QWERTY technique, however, had become a standard technique. Its dominance prevented the acceptance of faster typing systems. Artifact = Typewriter Technique (QWERTY) Artifact (QWERTY) Technique (QWERTY) Other Possible Artifact: Scientific Keyboard, or TypeMatrix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi1V3_X1gy4 Path Dependence for Videos In 1976, two competing technologies for videotapes were available: SONY’s Betamax (launched 1975 ) Matsushita’s VHS (launched 1976 ) At the time, Betamax represented a “better...
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05+Path+Dependence - SOSC111 Science Technology& Society...

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