Huesemann, I think we have a problem

  1. The claim asserted in Douthwaite’s article is that technology should and will solve our social problems. The three examples he provides of economic justice, driving while intoxicated, and war are what he states will be subdued by the implementation of technological advances (Douthewaite, 2). Johnston’s critique of this argument is that technology is a “band aid” solution to social issues and that it inadequately solves problems (Johnston, 53). Our last article by Huesemann and Huesemann directly clashes with Douthwaite because they focus on the implications of technology on nature(Huesemann,5). They disagree largely with Douthwaite’s entire article because they state that there are far greater costs on the environment than the benefit of technological gains(14).
  2. Technological “fixes” can be detrimental to society because they often have implications that we do not consider beforehand as Hueseman X2 state (Hueseman 8). This supposed fix can also lead to a cut off of communication and dialogue with others because we simply create another tech solution instead of engaging in conversation with all parties involved. On the first day of class, Prof Reidy said that technology will keep advancing, even if we stop a certain sector for a few years it will eventually grow. With this consider, I don’t think the question is should unintended consequences prevent us but HOW we will fix them when they do arise. We aren’t just going to stop evolving, even though some of the authors for the reading wrote as if they knew the solution to this tech problem, they provided nothing but criticism, the exact thing preventing our society from actually growing and being productive. Working together to anticipate problems or actively working on the issues of climate change for example, that the technological advancements perpetuate would be the best working solution for this problem. The inherent issue is not the tech but the humans behind it.

5 thoughts on “Huesemann, I think we have a problem”

  1. Technology has solved problems, but it has also created new ones. The streetcar example, in which engineers redesigned streetcars to improve safety, was an issue because streetcars had been invented. He fell victim to the naive confidence in technological fixes mentioned in Johnston’s article. I disagree with the use of the “band-aid” metaphor, though. A band-aid covers wounds that will eventually heal without any other assistance. Technological fixes often cause wounds that require a “helping hand” to repair. A more accurate metaphor for the technological fix would be opioids like hydrocodone, quickly relieving extreme pain, but with dangerous side effects. Yet, we don’t think about these risks when prescribed the medication, despite being informed of the dangers. Like technological fixes, it seems as if we only care if the solution does good things for us in the short term. We don’t care what the issues in the long term are.

  2. I really your stance on the issue which is that we will not stop advancing as I wholeheartedly agree with that. My approach to the consequences differed in that I figured that we should really study the outcomes of these technological fixes and try our hardest to prevent them from occurring. However, I understand this is not always possible due to the long term effectiveness of some of these consequences. I believe we need a combination of both putting time and effort into preventing such issues and realizing that we need to be able to solve problems to consequences that will arise. This all comes down to, as you stated, the fact that we are not going to stop advancing technologically.

  3. I really enjoy your point about the fact that unintended consequences really shouldn’t stop us from advancing technology, but more about how we should figure out how to fix the consequences, or at least lessen the problems that arise from them. I definitely agree that we aren’t just going to stop evolving. We have been evolving forever and we aren’t just going to become complacent with where we are in life and stop advancing and trying to make our lives more efficient. The world keeps moving forward and so do we. Instead of trying to stop advancing to protect the environment, we need to think forward to the ways we can prevent the issues that arise from technology.

  4. I disagree with the band-aid metaphor because the consequences caused by something needing a bad-aid are unintended or surprising, while the technological fixes cause the cut the band-aid is covering up to continue to bleed more. I do however agree with you on the point that humans will definitely continue to evolve because of how dominant we are in the world and our ability to essentially manipulate the gene pool. As technology continues to advance we will have to advance to continue understanding new found complexities within our existing technology arrive. I do think that this idea of technology advancing faster than we can as slightly terrifying because we are so unable to see the unintended consequences of our curiosities. No one knows how every situation will go and as more options of situations, problems arise in choosing the right one.

  5. I’m not so sure. “It’s not the tech, but the people,” presupposes that technologies are value free. But they aren’t!

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