Douthwaite was very optimistic about the solutions to social problems through advancement in technology (technological fixes). Other experts such as Sean F. Johnson, Michael Huesemann and Joyce Huesemann were not as convinced. Johnson stated, “Modern problems cannot be reduced to mere engineering solutions over the long term; human goals are diverse and constantly changing (Johnson, p. 54). Likewise, Huesemann and Huesemann stated, “…the negative and sometimes irreversible consequences brought about by the application of science and technology are not only inherently unavoidable but also intrinsically unpredictable (Huesemann et al., p. 15). Both writers are getting at the point that technology fixes may temporarily solve current social issues, but the long-lasting effects and consequences are unpredictable. The problem with relying on “soft sciences” (such as research surveys done by social scientists) and technology to determine solutions for global issues is the fact that human actors are not always rational and public opinion can often change as well as societies goals. The advancement of technology may wreak havoc on society in the long run as well as the environment.
One example of this is the advancement of communication technology. In the early 1800s, the only way to communicate was through a letter in the mail which was a slow process. Later in the 19th century, the telegraph was invented which could send messages much quicker by electronic signals through railroad lines. Now, these days we have cell phones where we can call and text from almost anywhere immediately. The person who invented the telegraph could have never envisioned the future of people texting and driving. Texting and driving has a significant social impact by causing vehicle accidents and even death in severe cases. However, cell phones have also helped people in the dangerous situations to call and get help. Even if technology has unintended consequences, it should not prevent us from using it to find solutions to our problems. In most cases, technology had helped relieve social issues and the pros outweigh the cons.