Leo Marx Does Improved Tech

Leo Marx Does Improved Tech - Catriona Cornett STS 101...

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Catriona Cornett STS 101 10/10/04 Technology and Progress In studying the societal impact of technology and its development, the question of whether or not new technology can always be considered “progress” arises. Progress, as defined in the American Heritage Dictionary, is “Movement, as toward a goal; advance” and “Steady improvement, as of a society or civilization.” It is clear that some advances in technology make things more efficient and can improve the accuracy of tasks. However, when one looks at the societal impact of increased technology, it is apparent that not everyone considers new technology to always be “progress.” This can be seen in the Luddite uprisings in England and through the changing views of progress since the Enlightenment. In addition, the many factors that cause a society to use or reject a new technology show that improved technology does not always result in an improved society. Other factors include varying standards for technological innovation and possible negative consequences resulting from the introduction of a new technology. In the early years of the 19 th century, workers in England began to lose their jobs due to the introduction of automated weaving machines. The workers had made a living by hand weaving items, and the new machines threatened their way of life. Unable to compete with the improved efficiency and cheaper cost of the machines, the workers in England formed a revolutionary group to combat the new technology. This group, known as the Luddites, stormed into factories and expressed their disproval of the machines by violently destroying them (“The Luddites” Video). This type of reaction shows that new and “improved” technology does not always advance society in a way that improves the lives of its citizens. While the technology was good for the owners of
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the factories since they could make a cheaper product in less time, the workers viewed the new technology as a detriment to their way of life since they lost their jobs and could no longer support their families. Even in today’s society, skilled labor is often replaced by machines that can complete a task more cheaply and efficiently. This type of progress can only be considered technical, and not societal. Technology that replaces the need for human labor does not always propel society in a better direction, but rather can threaten
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course STS 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '07 term at UVA.

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Leo Marx Does Improved Tech - Catriona Cornett STS 101...

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