Fixes Or Fantasy

The argument that technological fixes are necessary for solving social problems is not a highly contested one, but there are some dissenting opinions. Engineers are the future problem solvers of our society according to Dr. Alvin Weinberg. Professor Johnston would also agree with technological fixes as a whole. As long as they are produced with consideration of certain conditions that he claims may become problematic. The main issues professor Johnston argues are of the longevity of the plans-, unintended consequences, and the cultural shifts of society. Unlike Weinberg, Johnston would argue that the idea of technology undoubtedly fixing everything is a bit bombastic, but that the advancements made in society are worth the pursuit. Michael and Joyce Huesemann would strongly disagree with technological fixes for society. They argue that the unintended consequences are unavoidable due to the unpredictability. As such, they claim that any technological innovations would have possible detrimental effects on society. The hilarious quote of “constant vigilance” against all effects of technological advance seemed to border on paranoid.


Technological fixes to social and environmental systems have negative repercussions from the unintended consequences that can come from the cultural shifts surrounding those “fixes.”  A great example would be the creation of the internet, while it was made to increase productivity and access to information, the majority of the world uses it mainly for porn. I would guess that this was not one of the intended uses during its creation. The idea of not creating technological innovations because we are scared of the outcome is overly cautious. The discussion of risk in class helps define this perfectly, scientists have known the true mortality risk of many things in our society today, but people persist in continuing their risky behavior. It is almost laughable to tell people not to do something just because it is dangerous.


Leave a Reply