Role of Technology in Social Change
Technology is transforming the world at a rapid rate while individuals, as well as organizations, are endeavoring to utilize it to facilitate their productivity. Apart from enhancing communication, technology has become a major source of income. Technology, particularly the Internet, has transformed the face of commerce due to enhancing access to products in the market (Majumdar, Guha and Marakkath 108). The mobile telecommunications system has enabled millions of low-income consumers to access affordable products without encountering financial risks. Technology has managed to create an impact on social change that no other combined efforts have managed to achieve.
Cultural factors have significant effects on the direction of technological change. The belief that human beings should not be sacrificed to provide medical treatment has led to the progress of medical technology. Use of technology in development of deadly war weapon was influenced by the need to satisfy basic needs through invasion and protection of territories (“Factors of Change” n.p). The rapid rise in population has pushed for an increase in crop cultivation, which consequently resulted to invention of machineries for tilling land and planting seed crops. To enhance access to the market, roads were constructed while vehicles that could move with speed and carry heavy loads were developed.
People who are isolated through location or poor roads and communication networks are likely to change faster than people who are always in contact to each other. Before industrialization, people used to travel long distances by foot or in sailing vessels, but technology enabled people to travel faster and communicate with ease. Nowadays, the world has become a small village that an individual can cover within a day. Internet has made people to change their lifestyles though communication, carrying out business deals, and social interaction. People’s attitudes have changed because of exposure to other cultures and information.
A rapid changing society is likely to embrace technological changes due to its attitude towards change. Such society is quite critical of retrogressive culture; hence, any form of social change is always welcome. Technology has been utilized to change individual’s behavior. For instance, a highly centralized society is encouraged to exercise decentralized system through mobile apps or Internet information. Theories concerning effects of computer games in instilling violence on children and TV programs in children’s cognitive development are some of behavioral changes resulting from technology (Lin and Atkin 62).
Some of the disadvantages of technology in influencing social change are that it led to loss of human freedom, as well as destruction of human settlement (“Factors of Change” n.p). Rise in certain types of technology has become a threat to the atmosphere, water, and other life support systems in the earth. Use of machinery in tilling the land and exploration of minerals on the earth’s surface has resulted to destruction of human settlement and pollution of atmospheric air. Such destructions have long term implications, which include famine and deaths from inhaling contaminated air.
Technology has constructed a global community where people are abandoning their cultures and embracing the new culture of communication and economic development. While we are currently experiencing the impacts of social media, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology, individuals should hold the belief that such technologies will not be as destructive as they tend to be. Upcoming technologies should be perceived as more intimate and capable of instilling positive social change (Dator, et al. 120). Technology has become a by-product of civilization, but if left to run without check, it can create destruction to human nature. Individuals should only embrace aspects of technology that bring positive social change.
“Factors of Change.” Sociology Guide, Social Change (2015). Web. 20 Nov. 2015 http://www.sociologyguide.com/social-change/factors-of-change.php
Dator, Jim, John A. Sweeny, Aubrey Yee, and Aaron Rosa. “Communicating Power: Technological Innovation and Social Change in the Past, Present, and Futures.” Journal of Futures Studies,17.4 (2013): 117-134.
Lin, Carolyn A, and David J. Atkin. Communication Technology and Social Change: Theory and Implications. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007. Print.
Majumdar, Satyajit, Samapti Guha, and Nadiya Marakkath. Technology and Innovation for Social Change. , 2015. Internet resource.