Large Scale Systems, Essay Example

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Words: 1367

Essay

The transition to a higher reliance on technological systems and its relationships with society and social institutions

Introduction

Human life on earth today is greatly associated to technological advancement. Technology plays a crucial role in every day life and hence is of great significance in today’s world. It is also true to say that human life is confined with in the walls of technology. This clearly indicates that technology today is not a simple matter associated to certain individuals but is a very complex system to which our lives are associated. This confronts with various dimensions of responsibility of both human beings towards technology and technology towards human beings. Thus technological advancements gain more significance in human life today (Mitcham). One of the most recent advancement of technology is information technology which is fast changing human face. It is through technological advancement that we have been able to eliminate or escape from various natural threats.

Even with such benefits technology also possess certain issues and the greatest threat is likely to arise from with in. As society becomes more dependent on technological advancements there is more chance for them to be affected by that. Even a small issue with in technology is likely to create worst results to human life. It is a known fact that nuclear reactors are of great use to human population in various forms. Nuclear power is one of the most commonly used products from such reactors. When some thing go wrong with one of those reactor due to natural calamity or any other reason it is likely to kill massive population or can even eradicate a large society from earth.  It is here that responsibility to technology and its significance gains prominence (Floridi and Sanders). It is the only method by which technology can be used in a positive method by avoiding mistakes as far as possible and thus be used for human development. This paper tries to analyse responsibility to technology and its significance u

Role of technology and responsibility

Natural calamities were the biggest threat faced by human beings hundred years back. Today’s society is called as risk society and the fear of risk is associated to interventions of technology. This is because such interventions are at times likely to cause disastrous consequences. This may be due to simple mistakes leading to unsuspected interconnections in a world which is over dependent on technological environment created by human beings. According to Mitcham (128) “Nature is less and less immediately present to human experience, and more and more mediated by a complex manifold of geometrical enclosures, artificial materials, large-scale structures, processing systems, consumer products, and electronic communications media.”

It is due to technological advancement that human beings were able to succeed several natural threats and this is the reason behind today’s prosperous society. Thus with technological advancements we have been able to confront with various problems that might arise quiet unexpected. This has also increased the responsibility of human beings towards technology. Such responsibility is becoming more acute and complex than ever. What is to be fixed is the normative framework that must be applied to technology (Mitcham). Along with that there are few other questions that need answer like who is to be held responsible in case of a technological failure. We are also supposed to figure out certain norms that are applicable to this responsibility. At the same time methods to evoke this responsibility too is to be understood.

According to Ulrich Beck (156) today’s society is a laboratory where no one can be held responsible for experiments and its outcomes. He considers the situation as that of organised irresponsibility. No one is ready to take the responsibility.  Technology though evolved as a concept evolved to become an environment and is now gaining the role of a determining factor in today’s society. This is why responsibility to technology becomes so significant.

Character and significance of technology

Technology was there even in primitive society. During early days technology was developed for helping human. In modern world human beings are changing according to technological advancement. Some technologies like telephone and internet have become so common. It has become an integral part of human life with out which today’s society will not be able to survive. Every function of human being is associated to technology. It can be considered as a common house where human beings are living today, a habitat for today’s society. It has become so complex that failure of a single system is likely to affect all technological infrastructures. Even finance system, social legislation, tax system, communication networks and technological research are forming apart of this complex system (Floridi and Sanders). Thus it has acquired a systematic character with mutual influence and interconnection.

What is to be understood is that technology today is not autonomous. In order to remain responsible to technological advancements it is necessary to understand the same as a part of social construction process. It is to be understood that technological innovations are introducing a new technological discovery to society which makes it necessary for society to adjust to it. Thus innovation is not only transforming technology but human beings itself. It affects human relationships, norms, economy, values etc (Winston and Edelbach). Thus responsibility of human society to technology is of more importance than any other field.

Even under such a situation technological development is providing with choices. It can also be said that technological advancement is demanding more choices. Before or during the process of innovation no one is concerned about the acceptance of same by society. It is for the society to accept it or reject it (Beck). Thus this freedom provided by technological advancement increases the responsibility of human being to choose the best which can not cause any harm to society. But at the same time some technological advancement might not be acceptable for every one. Even if it is so they are forced to live in a society that has accepted such a technology (Poser and Li). For example there are so many societies that are against nuclear power while it is accepted by society and is in existence.

This fact is of little concern in today’s society as majority is in favour of technological advancements. Thus what determines acceptance of technology is the power confluence. Thus it is evident that people of technological society is guided by a world view and not individual view. It is evident that once we accept a thing forcefully or otherwise, ethical or traditional approaches are not of great concern to us. Thus with advancement of technology traditional values and morals are also facing a major drift. We have moved much far from traditional situations and actions associated to it (Luppicini). With the advancement of society with technology new morals and norms are also to be developed which must be capable enough to guide human beings in a much more complex society.

Conclusion

Shifting of society from traditional to technological requires major change in human responsibility. As technology is the driving factor of today’s population new norms and values are also to be formed accordingly. Technology is the driving factor of society and hence human beings are to be more responsible towards technological advancements. Society is forced to accept technological advancements if majority agree to it. Gradually it becomes part of human life and thus traditional values lose its significance. Further more technological advancements have become more complex and even a single failure in any system is likely to create major impact on society. This has increased the significance of human responsibility towards technological developments. It is only with such responsibility that we will be able to escape from a major disaster that is likely to occur from these advancements.

Bibliography

Beck, Ulrich. Ecological politics in an age of risk. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997.

Floridi, Luciano and John Sanders. “On the morality of artificial agents.” Minds and Machines (2004): 349 – 379.

Luppicini, Rocci. “Technoethical Inquiry:From Technological Systems to Society.” Global Media Journal — Canadian Edition (2009): 5 – 21.

Mitcham, Carl. “Why Science, Technology, and Society Studies?” Bulletin of Science Technology Society April 1999: 128.

Poser, Hans and Wenchao Li. The Ethics of Today’s Science and Technology: A German-Chinese Approach. London: LIT Verlag Münster, 2008.

Winston, Morton and Ralph Edelbach. Society, Ethics, and Technology. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2011.

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