Technology: It’s The Best We’ve Got

Jeff Douthwaite makes a very compelling argument that took almost no time at all to read, which was of course very much appreciated. He makes the idea of the “technological fix” seem like such a warm and pleasant cure-all for just about any ailment that plagues mankind that it would be difficult to argue with him. However, I think that the Huesmanns and Johnston would each have a little something to say about Douthwaite’s ideas. Johnston discusses the technological fix from the views of people like Alvin Weinberg, who believed that technology could solve problems with war, health issues, and the environment (Johnston, 2018). He then goes back through and states the issues with using the technological fix, saying it has been viewed as “a ‘band-aid’ solution to problems” (Johnston, p. 53). This lack of confidence in the technological fix certainly contrasts Douthwaite, and I think that Johnston would use his practical approach to critique Douthwaite’s article. The Huesmanns on the other hand, take more of a nature-oriented approach, and give us a miniature Biology lesson in the process (because who isn’t always in the mood for a little Biology). They point out that although mankind tries its hardest to detach itself from its dependence on nature, “there is, in fact, no such separation” (Huesmann, p.5). The Huesmanns would critique Douthwaite’s article by pointing out our reliance on nature and the fact that we cannot use technology to run from all of our problems.

I believe in the “technological fix” on many levels, but I think that in the majority of circumstances, it can only solve problems on the surface level. This accounts for many of its shortcomings and negative consequences, since the underlying issues with human behavior and actions aren’t really taken care of. However, we should not let these shortcomings stop us from using technology to solve problems, because in many ways, putting a quick layer of technological paint over the rusting surface of society’s major issues is the best solution we have, at least temporarily.

2 thoughts on “Technology: It’s The Best We’ve Got”

  1. Hi Madalyn!

    I really enjoyed your response to the required readings. Douthwaite’s article was very easy to read and his point was well articulated in the short piece. I agree that, on the social side, technological fixes only cover up the surface of issues. There is so much more that goes into social issues that technology and science simply can’t account for unless we start to get into artificial intelligence. Technology can’t recognize all angles of an issue at once. Science and technology are very matter-of-fact and one dimensional, only allowing for a symptom to be relieved rather than the source of the issue. However, I do believe that there are cases, such as in medicine, where science and technology are able to hit a problem at it’s source and eliminate related future problems. Awesome post, Madalyn!

  2. Hey Madalyn,

    I also really appreciated the length of Douthwaite’s article, it was straight to the point and easy to understand where he was coming from. I also believe that, even though using technology to solve problems can result in negative repercussions, we shouldn’t stop using it because I believe the positive effects outweigh the negative. Technology may not be the best at solving social problems right now, because of all the factors that play into social issues, but it can help us solve many different issues that are happening in the world. In some situations are only choice is to use our technology, even if that means having to deal with more problems in the future. Like you said, its our best option temporarily and we would be fools not to use it to our own advantage. I really enjoyed your response to this week’s question, Thanks for a good read!

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