Technological fixes or technological terrors?

Douthwaite’s outlook on technological fixes is a very positive view as he believes they are necessary when it comes to solving social problems. Although this can be very true, it is not always the case. Michael and Joyce Huesemann write in the first chapter of their book, “Techno-Fix”, that there are some technological fixes that can have devastating long term effects. These effects are sometimes hard to discover right away as many are not present until many years after the fix is implemented. This means that we should question new and exciting technological fixes when it comes to these problems. However, it does not mean that we shouldn’t embrace them. A large example of these long term negative effects due to technological fixes is climate change. All of our industrial factories, vehicles, mining operations, etc. were all implemented into society to solve problems or make everyday tasks easier. However, many years down the road we had no idea the effects of these advances would be such a global problem.

Technological fixes have negative repercussions due to many different reasons. Not every technological fix comes with these destructive repercussions, but the ones that do can be a real problem to society. As I mentioned before, factories can produce harmful exhaust into the atmosphere which in turn creates the problem of climate change and the warming of the Earth. On the flip side, technological fixes on a much smaller scale tend to not have consequences. For example, Johnston explains the technological fix of enclosed streetcars. It was as simple as getting rid of a platform that people would cram onto which caused people to fall off and create a hazard. This fix worked wonders and had no real repercussions. I do not believe unintended consequences should stop us from trying to find technological fixes for our problems. However, I do believe that large scale fixes should have a large team of people studying any possible consequence to said fix, but nothing should stop us from trying to better our world.

1 thought on “Technological fixes or technological terrors?”

  1. Hello Blaze!

    I really like how you stress that not every technological fix is inherently bound to cause widespread issues later on, as my post and a few others that I have read are generally quite pessimistic towards tech. fixes across the board. With that streetcar example, we can see that some changes are just too small in scope to really negatively affect the environment. Using this new perspective, I would posit that when gauging the risks and benefits of a potential new tech. fix, the scope and area of impact for the fix should heavily weight the risk of that project. If we were to consider a new coal plant, that should give us much more pause compared to something like a new house being built. Thanks for helping augment my perspective on this!

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