Alternatives to Technological Determinism
(Ideas here are drawn from "Technology and Human Affairs" by Larry Hickman
and Al-Hibri, 1981)
- Previous discussions of TD create a pessimistic image of
Humans are virtually helpless, the "value" of efficiency drives everything,
so that even the rejection of a technique involves the application of a new
technique. There is no plan and no control.
The technological system (technological rationality) has absorbed all- culture,
politics and the economy. "Freedom" itself has become part of the oppressive
reality of modern technological society as we define the range of choices
available to us only within the artificially constructed rational system-
Alienation. Only those outside the "system" can effect change over it- and
they are cut off (Transcendence).
But there are those who modify this harsh image:
Pacey: Tempers the determinist thesis. (1)The geometrical forward drive
of technological rationality is not smooth and uniform. (2)The human actor
(can) shapes history. (3)Interactivity is the key. The problem may well be
political- the image of autonomous technology leads to the hegemony of the
- "The Making of
- The issue is technocracy, the system of experts and their "rational
plans for efficiency. Technology is, perhaps, benign. The solution to
the problem is not radical choice, but human construction- community building.
- Technological "man" is like someone dependent on a powerful drug. The
"pusher" is the technocrat who continues to feed and expand the addiction.
Escape is difficult- but possible through community of individuals work
- Technology is not "beyond control", but it is "out of control" and can
still be 'recalled.' It is a cultural rather than a political process
- "Zen and
the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
- Technology confronts us with a double danger: Rejecting it without understanding
it leads to oppression and accepting it without critical understanding
leads to domination.
- One must both understand and use technology in order to effectively
Galbraith: "the autonomy of technology resembles ignorance"
History (and technology) proceeds along a rather preset course, yet human
freedom consists in understanding the processes of change and actively
The significant thrust is that through a critical understanding of
the process of technological development, the human actor can participate and
control the course of change.
Construction of Technology
Owner: Robert O. Keel: email@example.com
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 16:01