from Chapter 3:
and Technological Change, 3rd ed.
ideas and examples referenced below are notes compiled by Robert Keel and Shannon
Mayer in their reading of Volti's, Society and Technological Change,
6th edition, Worth Publishers, 2010. They are intended for classroom
SOURCES OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE
do technologies emerge when they do? Why not sooner or later?
The Great Breakthrough
History of technology
linked to single revolutionary inventions:
- Light Bulb
- Air plane
often connected to genius of individual
Entrepreneurs who take
invention and convert it into a commercial success are also important, though
less recognized than inventors themselves.
Despite the "Great
Breakthrough" --> Technological advances are achieved slowly, over time
"...few great successes
stem from one bold-stroke strategic thrust. More often, they result from one
half-good idea that is improved upon incrementally. These improvements are
invariably the result of a lot of little people paying attention to the product
, the customer, and the marketplace."
Research--> often viewed
as the key to technological advances
- Lays the groundwork for
new technology for actual production
- Research would mean nothing
w/out the ability to develop product
- Penicillin- (1928- A.
Fleming) discovered mold
- Large-scale production
of Penicillin required development of new technology
- New, larger vats to grow
- Development of Anti-foaming
- Prior to development
of new procedure--> Penicillin $20/dose -->
- After $.55/dose
Technology is a system
of events not a single event
often occur because of the availability of complementary technological developments
that allow for the resolution of fundamental problems."
Technology takes time to
come to full fruition: Internal combustion engine-->
- Timing of spark that
ignited air-fuel mixture not set for optimal efficiency
- This was continually
improved upon, resulting in greater performance
- This development occured
Development of technology
isnt confined to one area different areas influence one another
- Developments can also
be shared between fields
- Turbo-jet relied heavily
on designs, components, and processes already developed for steam turbines
- Sometimes complimentary
process that help advance technology are, of themselves, not technological
at all--> attitudes and opinions often need to be changed for technology
- Farmers in New Mexico
(1940's)--> reluctant to use hybrid corn crop even though hybrid gave better
- The taste and texture
of tortillas made from hybrid corn was disliked.
- Reluctance to change
culinary patterns stopped growth of this new technology.
The Social Context of Technological
- A focus on "individuals
as reason for technological change" is insufficient -->
- Surely human ability
has been evenly distributed throughout history.
- Yet technological advance
more apparent in some eras than others
- What kind of social system
is required if inventive ability is to flourish?
- Available supply of resources
does not ensure development of technology.
- In order for technology
to exist there must be a demand for it.
- Improving the horseshoe
was important when the horse was main mode of transportation.
developed as upper-class (middle?) grew that desired such technology,
or rather, the by-product of such technology a photo.
- Belated demand for technology
also a factor
- Xerox (Chester
Carlson)- introduced in 1930's and was shunned.
Two types of technological
of existing way of doing things
- Truly revolutionary
Market Economies and Technological
- Technological advances
usually reflect societys general configuration of wealth and power.
- Europe- Middle Ages-
Church is the power great technological advance-- Gothic Cathedral.
- Europe-15cent.- rise
of capitalism and market system development of ships
- Market economy stimulates
- Market economy promises
- Market economy has
- Market economy can
produce auxillary items necessary for technological advance
Planned Economies (China,
- Less likely to have significant
- Basic tension between
system of economic management and the requirements for technological innovation.
- Planned economies rely
on prediction and routine Technology is unpredictable.
- Planned economies are
often rigid dont allow for innovation, which is key for technology
Market forces are not the
only source of technological innovation
As with most
things in the social world, the need for technology is very much:
Owner: Robert O. Keel: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, December 31, 2010 16:06