Carefully Considering The Technological Fix

All three articles addressing the use of technology to fix societal problems include the observation that these fixes narrowly view the problem, rather than seek to solve the complex root causes. Douthwaite himself, an advocate for technological fixes, includes in his definition that they attempt to find answers “without any attempt to modify or alter the underlying social or human problem” (Douthwaite, p. 31). However, while Douthwaite asserts than even a temporary solution makes for an important contribution, Johnston and the Huesemanns heavily criticize the use of technological fixes because of the issues that arrive from the shortsighted implementation of technology. Johnston explains how narrowing the causation of a societal problem risks rendering minority voices silent and solidifies the current status quo. Additionally, he included the opinion that utilizing technological fixes could conceal the ultimate source of societal issues (Johnston, p. 53). The Huesemanns focus on the natural implication of technological fixes; namely, that because humanity is a part of nature, anything we put out into the world will have either a positive or negative effect. There are consequences to rapid technological growth which will irreversibly transform the environment (Huesemanns, p. 9). Based upon these ramifications, Johnston and the Huesemann would critique Douthwaite’s belief that temporary technological fixes are worthwhile progress.

Technological fixes have negative repercussions because they are short-term solutions to long-term problems. The unwanted consequences which arise from technological fixes do so because they have been overlooked by narrowing the scope of the problem. Discouraging technological solutions is certainly not the answer, because technology is the most evolved and nuanced method of developing solutions, but the problems that are being addressed need to be carefully considered and analyzed in order to minimize the negative consequences which arrive from them. In essence, the best way to address technology is not with prevention, but with consideration.

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