Technological Fix or Technological Destruction?

When it comes to technological fixes, Douthwaite believes that they are necessary to solve social problems. He states that “technology can thus be employed to buy us time during which we can attend to that fundamental, fascinating building block of the social sciences” (Douthwaite, 32). In saying this, it is clear that he believes that while technological fixes may not cure the problems in social sciences, the temporary solution it provides will give us enough time to come up with a real solution to these problems. Johnston seems to agree with this idea. In his article, he lists many “technological quick fixes” that either completely fix this problem or provide temporary solutions until a permanent one can be figured out. He states two of these such as using biotechnologies for fuel production, and oil-digesting microbes for oil spills and industrial waste (Johnston, 52). He also talks about how technology can prevent terrorism, such as “imaginative solutions” to plane hijacking, which includes low-tech lockable cockpit doors. Huesemann and Huesemann, however, clearly disagree with the ideas that Douthwaite stated. They dive heavily into the idea that there are irreversible consequences from becoming too dependent on technology, such as global climate change, which could, potentially, lead to the collapse of planetary ecosystems (Huesemann and Huesmann, 8).

              Technological fixes to social and environmental systems have negative repercussions because in order to fix something, they are often creating a different problem. Technology has to be created, and in created technology, something has to be taken from the Earth, or released to it. For example, cars were a necessary technological advancement as they allow us to travel longer distances in shorter amounts of time, but they also emit fumes and create pollution that is released into the world. However, unintended consequences should not prevent us from finding solutions to our problems because there are a million problems out there that NEED to be solved, whether they create consequences or not.

1 thought on “Technological Fix or Technological Destruction?”

  1. someone commented on my own post that these technological fixes are like putting duct tape over the real issues that need to be solved and I think your point about how these issues can be essentially paused with technology so that we can try to actually fix them really highlights this idea. you’re also right that these “pauses” can lead to bigger problems as well, the example you mentioned about automobiles is a perfect demonstration of this issue.
    I was a little lost when it came to the last part about how unintended consequences shouldn’t prevent us from finding solutions to our problems, just because that sentence made it seem more as if you believe technology is the solution to those deeper problems. I don’t know if you’ll see this or respond but I’m really curious about what your own opinions on using technology for fixing our issues is. I understand that the first part of this question is an analysis so it’d be cool to hear more about what your own thoughts are, or about which author you agree with the most

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