What is technology?

Are these "technologies"?







I like to think of technology as tools, artifacts that serves some purpose.. It's a super general idea and it has a lot of different implications. One of these implications:

Technological Determinism

In the recent study of science, technology, and society (yes this is a field), scholars have debated about this idea of "technological determinism." This suggested that technology acts as an outside force on our society and that people have no control over what happens to it.

This butted heads with the idea of social constructionism—that society is in control of how technology is made and how it will impact our society.


Let's take a look at a case for each of these arguments.

The World in 1900


Imagine you're living your life in the 1900s. You walk to your work building where you tap away on your typewriter and record data through punch cards. If you're wealthy, maybe you can catch a horse carriage on your way home.

World War I is here. You get drafted for the war. Warfare looks similar to what it did in the 1800s. You ride in on horses and swords.


Then, you come back.

Langdon Winner on Robert Moses



Do artifacts have politics? A bridge is just a bridge, right? We use it to get from one side to the other. Where's the politics in that? Meet Robert Moses, master city planner of New York City in the mid 19th century. Moses was in charge of many city planning projects throughout NYC and was also well esteemed and appreciated by the public.

However, he was also critiqued by many about his work and personal beliefs about race.