Beneficial Pitfalls: The Consequences of Our Technological Advancements


It can be argued that technological advancements throughout human history have increased the convenience of everyday life. But have these advancements in technology fixed social problem across the globe? This is the question this weeks articles attempt to answer. Douthwaite believes technology is crucial to solving social problems but Johnston and Huesemann and Huesemann argue differently. They believe instead that though technology may appear to solve problems on the service; in reality, technology causes unintended consequences to society that negates or far outweighs its benefits. They believe that science and technology is a zero sum game where for every benefit that technology adds to society, it in turn offers a negative consequence that balances out the positive. This they believe is the reason why technology is not the societal fix-all. Huesemann and Huesemann might even argue that technology is not a solution at all. It instead is the root to social problems or even a social problem itself. “A brief survey of major problems facing humanity today suggests that most of them were created by the application of science and technology and that the greatest challenge will be to overcome our ignorance in dealing with these self created disasters.” ( Huesemann and Huesemann, Pg. 15)


The reasons for technology’s unintended repercussions are hard to identify. Though we can often times measure and observe science in a quantifiable way, science in its nature is unpredictable. We can observe its results and we can estimate what those might be but we cannot inherently know what the outcomes before they occur. By the time we are made aware of the outcomes, irreparable damages may have already been done. This is the nature of science and technology. “It is a mistake to believe that any benefits of technology can be obtained without cost” (Huesemann and Huesemann, pg. 8) However, this does not mean that we should stop our search for technological solutions to our problems. To say that our solution to scientific and technological pitfalls would be to stop advancement would be a completely ignorant answer. Technology has given us the most valuable resource on the planet, that being time. We now can use that time, once spent on labor, to use for solving today issues through social means apposed to science. Science does not solve the problem, it in turn can give us time to solve those problems that plague society.