The Need for Humanity in Technology

Douthwaite contends that despite the inherent nature of technological fixes being short in scope and duration, they ultimately are needed to compensate for the unpredictability of human nature and behavior. While he stands by this assertion regardless of any social consequences derived from said technological fix, Johnston and the Huesemanns represent those who are adamant about recognizing, considering and addressing human values and the societal, long term and distant repercussions of using technology as a type of band aid. Johnston does appreciate the potential and short-term positives that come from technological fixes as a method of pushing off the need for a permanent solution and truly assessing the nature of the problem, however, the Huesemanns assert that “the belief that humans can improve upon nature…has been shown to be false by science itself” (Huesemann, p. 5), therefore pointing out the paradox of attempting to cure society with technology.

Stemming from the interconnectedness of the world, there are profound implications for the application of technology, whether it be immediate, drawn out, distant or manifested in unexpected manners (Huesemann, p. 2). Unfortunately, as of yet, it has seemed that scientists and engineers are either incapable or uninterested in fully assessing the true root of issues and or the consequences of temporarily covering up said issues. Although it would be difficult to quantify, it would be very interesting and telling to determine the percentage of current issues that new technology is being created to address that are caused by human technology/ ”advancements” in the first place. For example, the up and coming technologies that are being created to address human pollution of the oceans and or climate change, both issues that are related, if not fully caused by human advancements and solutions to prior issues such as food distribution and transportation. The ultimate question stemming from this thought process is what will the cascade be from this new technology that temporarily fixes these new human created issues. Due to this concept, essentially summed up as socio-trophic cascade, I feel that while unintended consequences should not necessarily halt the attempt to find technological fixes, there is a definite need for deeper analysis of the reasons behind social issues and assessment of the full scope of these technological fixes that truly weighs the benefits and negatives for all types of life on the planet and in all facets of human society such as politics, economics, religion, ethics and so on.



4 thoughts on “The Need for Humanity in Technology”

  1. Technology can be very helpful in many different ways, whether for entertainment, learning or for actual assistance. But there are also major consequences that come with inventing new technologies and their uses. I agree that new technology should be made even if there are possible future consequences, but if those consequences have a possibility of being drastic at any time, than the technology should be revised for safety measures, or not made at all. I also agree that when making new technology, possible consequences that stem from that new technology should get much more attention because of the many irreversible effects that often take place after a new technology is introduced. I also think that there should be larger committees that examine technologies and think of future consequences before those technologies are made ready for the public, instead of releasing the technologies for primarily monetary purposes.

  2. I definitely agree that we should be more aware of where our technological advances lead us, and the consequences of where we end up as well. However, I would not say that most of our current woes are the results of previous misguided technological fixes. While many problems have been created by such solutions, many have also been solved by them. I would definitely say that the world today is a better place than it was a hundred years ago, or even decades ago, and that is in large part due to technology and the people behind it. We should learn from past mistakes, and more carefully address our future problems so that we do not create more than we solve, but we should still hold onto some of that optimism of the past, and not get too discouraged if a problem seems unsolvable.

  3. Ms. Utter,

    Your post has neatly summarized the positive and negative impacts of a technological fix, and posited several interesting and well though out queries about how society will move forward with or without our technological dependency. I would agree particularly with your comment on the interconnectedness of society and technology and I would suggest that a long term fix would require the interdisciplinary cooperation of scientific and cultural professionals. I would also agree with your suggestion that analysis of the effects of scientific innovation and technology could provide valuable insight into finding a possible solution.

  4. Committees? Cultural Professionals? I’m not sure who these people are, or when they come in to save the day?

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