HUMN 432: Science, Ethics and Technology
Midterm Exam Essay Questions
You must complete all three essays. These essays are worth 50 points each, so please take the time to think through your answers and review them before submitting. You will be randomly assigned one question from each group.
These essays should be a minimum of THREE paragraphs in length each. They should contain a clear thesis statement in the first paragraph (an answer to the question!). Make sure your explanation is clear and that you provide specific examples. Any quotes from the readings or external materials must include quotation marks and an in-text citation. Failure to identify quoted material could result in a 0 for the exam and a formal academic dishonesty charge.
(TCOs 1 & 2) Why does Cowan believe it is important to examine technologies in the context of technological systems? What advantage does this broader perspective give to planners? Give a specific current technological example (not it the reading) in support of your answer.
(TCOs 1 & 2) Landes argues that there were cultural differences between the East and Middle East and the West that affected the development and application of some technologies such as the clock. Did these differences also affect the way these cultures approached information technologies such as the printing press? Can you make a comparison with the different approaches taken by Eastern and Middle Eastern and Western cultures today and current information technologies?
(TCOs 1 & 2) Do you agree with the assertion that we are now living in a third-great technological transformation-the Knowledge Revolution? Have computers truly changed our lives so much that we can call this a revolution like the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century? Support your answer providing specific comparisons from the two periods.
(TCOs 4 & 8) Explain in your own words your understanding of Wajcman's critique of technological determinism. How does her reasoning compare with Winner's argument that technologies can actually reflect political relationships? Provide examples.
(TCOs 4 & 8) Both Winner and Joy explore the issue of technology and control. How would you compare their two views of current technological development? Focus the comparison on a specific technology, such as genetically modified organisms.
(TCOs 4 & 8) Identify two authors from your readings and compare their views on the impact of technology on a culture. To what degree does each author see the technology affecting social change? Were there special interests involved in the decision making concerning the development and use of the technology? Provide specific examples.
(TCOs 3 & 4) Has the development of digital technologies democratized the art of photography? How has this affected our appreciation of the photographer as artist and photography as an art form? Explain using specific examples.
(TCOs 3 & 4) How have changes in technology affected the recording industry and our understanding of what it means to be a professional musician? How have changes in technology affected our access to recorded music and the control exercised by traditional distributors? How will all these changes affect cultural trends and our expectations of music as an art form? Provide specific examples.
(TCOs 3 & 4) How have changes in communications technologies affected how we write and what we write? How do wikis and blogs compare to traditional forms such as textbooks and newspaper editorials? Please be specific.