Technology and Culture Entwined

Douthwaite says technological fixes will temporary fix society’s problems. Sean F. Johnston counters this argument the best of the other two authors by giving detailed examples of how technology has negatively impacted society. One of his first points is that the “technological fix” fits right in with consumer culture. This shouldn’t be overlooked, because companies are preying on our desire to be contemporary, and technology is always new and improved. Johnston goes on to say that the faith in technology as a cure-all is myopic. “Societal confidence in technological problem-solving consequently deserves critical and balanced attention” (48). This quote is incredibly relevant in today’s society with the increased use and reliance on social media as a tool to express ourselves. In my opinion, a lot of the low self esteem and depression of young people comes from their desire to be accepted on social media platforms. Later in his article, Johnston mentions utilitarian ethics, which he says can disfavor people that are not identified as beneficiaries. In the Techno-Fix article, the authors give examples such as climate change and other irreversible changes that dispute Douthwaites temporary fixes.


“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” (4) This is a quote from naturalist John Muir in the Techno-Fix article, which definitely answers the writing prompt. The negative repercussions of societal and environmental fixes are more abundant than ever today because technology is improving on an exponential scale. “In contrast to these slow rates of biological and cultural evolution, the rate of current technological change is orders of magnitude greater…” (10). There are always going to be unintended consequences to any technological improvement, but we could definitely be doing a better job at studying these consequences beforehand. Modern technology has separated us from the environment, even to the point where we are generating our own in virtual reality environments. As was mentioned in the lecture on Tuesday, reductionist logic fails to fully encapsulate all the problems that may arise from a specific action and its implications on society, in this case, a technological fix.

1 thought on “Technology and Culture Entwined”

  1. Hi Sean.
    I agree with you that we definitely could be doing a better job at studying the consequences of the technological improvement beforehand. The technology has moved faster than we could imagine, and this has caused some consequences. Because of this, the technological fix, in my opinion, can fix temporary problems in society, but as Douthwaite also mentions, they are not the solution. There might not always be consequences to every technological fix, but we will certainly see many unintended consequences.
    You overall touch on important parts of the reading, and I genuinely think it is a great post!

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