Technology & Society


We tend to think of “technology” as high technology: computers, electronics, algorithms.

It may be helpful, though, to keep in mind that technology refers to any application of scientific knowledge to practical purposes. Every tool is, in some sense, a technology. A pencil is an item of technology — both the technology that created it and the technology it allows (writing, for instance).

Consider, for instance, just how consequential the invention of the wheel was for human history. Think of all the ways that simple technology has affected societies for thousands of years now.

How do we apply scientific knowledge to the world? How does the world receive scientific knowledge?

Is technology neutral, or does technology have its own way of shaping the world toward particular ends?

Are some technologies inherently good and others not?

What responsibility do we have when creating new technologies? What responsibilities do we have as users of technology?

How might we get beyond simplistic ideas of technology and develop an understanding that will help us feel more empowered when confronted with the many complex questions that technology delivers in our ever more complicated society?


image: a primitive wheel


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Cluster Learning by Plymouth State University Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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