The readings covered this week dealt on the perceptions and judgments associated with technology and culture. My interest in technology is unquestionable and this week reading has given me a chance to explore the relationship the relationships pertaining to this phenomenon. According to technology and culture is of interest because it combines the human perspectives of what technology enables people to execute in everyday lives including the perceptions and judgments of how such undertakings affect them. The book provides a thorough analysis of causality, agency, articulation and assemblage, space, identity, politics, and globalization. All these features illustrate a relationship between technology and culture.
According to Daryl, 2005 technology present itself in many forms and means. From class conversation, radio and television, books, to media- reading, writing, reaction and response. Others include life changing and life threatening scenarios and more controversial topics such as media surveillance, genetic engineering, and execution by electric chair, global warming, and weapons of mass destruction among others. Technology matters in many ways. The controversial aspects are what are really at stake. The conversations regarding technology have elicited heated debates. For instance, the Jack Kevorkian machines made of intravenous bottles mounted on a metal frame that enables a patient to trigger it on and cause the flow of lethal substances that hastens death painlessly has left many questioning whether his technological invention is a matter of convenience for the suffering patient or whether Jack is a cold blooded murderer.
These machines are a representation of technology and form an instrumental part in the life of a human being. No matter which part of the dimension we align ourselves into, whether positive or negative, it remains a contentious issue.
Culture and belief are two important aspects when referring to technology. The fact remains there are varied definition of technology; technology may mean different things to different people. For instance, a means of communication between two parties located at different locations using electronic devices, better and efficient ways of delivering services to the consumer through mechanical infrastructure.
According to the dictionary, technology refers to making, usage, modification, and the associated knowledge, tools, techniques and methods of organization employed to solve a certain problem, improve an existing solution or achieve a certain goal. These definitions vary according to place, person, situation at hand and the end result. Upon asking my friends, one of the responses was the development of new machines, while another indicated the development of small ships called electorates. A more rational answer I obtain was from a colleague who indicated that “tech” means fast outcome while “nology” means study. No matter how many benefits we derive from technology, every one of us has a way of defining it to suit own situations. This is coupled by the argument that every element around human lives from culture to belief is built of diverse meanings.
Jennifer, 2005 explains the different ways that people understand technology change. People use causality to derive the meaning of technology. Showing two categories of causality: mechanistic and non-mechanistic, people reflect, think, write, react and arrive at decisions about technology based on these two mechanisms. Mechanistic perspective treats technology as an isolated object that could be studied individually without concern as to who created or used it. According to technologies are independent in origin and action. The effect of technology is independent of other factors. According to this perspective, technology is understood to come from nowhere and culture does not have an effect on it. Culture is made up of autonomous elements that are independent and self-sufficient.
Non-mechanistic approach according to defines technology as an independent object that has a direct link with circumstances and where it is improved and used. It refers to it as a non-isolated object that originate from outside the culture. The non-mechanistic perspective sees culture as a structure of connections that are not related in nature. Technology begins as part of these connections becoming an effective tool within the culture. Expressive causality, the ability to understand culture relationship through articulation and assemblage support technology as not separated from culture.
In my view with respect to these perspectives, I think that mechanistic perspective focuses on the technological aspects such as mass, velocity, and momentum more than the individual or groups who came up with the knowledge and artifacts. The thought that technology could not be related to any surrounding factors does not seem to solve the problem of technology and change.
In contrast to mechanistic perspectives, non-mechanistic approach combines technology and culture to derive an understanding of the change. This can be illustrated by some examples. Apple Company's success is attributed to marketing and advertising. Marketing is the human appeal that involves trust, identity and equity. The marketing drives are facilitated by technology.
Chapter ten provides a clear understanding as to why technology really matters. Technology is playing a crucial agency role in the lives of people and their families. Without it, people could be wasting a lot of time searching and tracing what they need in their daily lives. Technology has played the role of a mediator between what is needed and what is required. For instance, in the absence of a personal computer, a student will have difficulty in searching numerous hips of books for information to support his assignment. In this sense, it has provided the power to guide the students and at the same time mediating by linking the student with the relevant information to support the assignment.
The agency provides a valuable approach referred to as an Actor - Network theory. It involves actors, translation, delegation, and prescription. According to , actor is the factor that creates its own space and translates to its own language. Technology creates a space around itself and connects with other actors, it uses its own language to make it easy for users to write and communicate. Second, humans cannot execute everything by themselves and thus need to delegate some tasks to technology. Finally perspectives that include behavior, attitude and value come out here. For instance a headphone need to be connected to another device to work and without that device, headphones will be irrelevant.
Bruno Latour, 2010 gives a wider explanation of technology in terms of articulation and assemblage. The author proves that technology is not autonomous but connects to culture. Articulation refers to connection of elements in contingent. Taking language as an example, speaking involves connection of letters in some letters to create a word. Letters themselves will not make a significant difference without contingent connection that involve speaking and expression to other people.
Assemblage is a collection of articulation among practices, representations and effects. In the language context, its practice is applicable in human voices, actions, feelings, and beliefs. Thus, assemblage is a collection of articulation of elements for easy understanding.
Asking people around me whether technology has a space, the response was negative. Technology is a tool that aids in executing the tasks. The use of technology in everyday activities and the space that it creates is not a tool but can be referred as a means of progressing in life. It is spatially cultural and social through the communication conducted with others over the phone or a chat. Technology space is created and determined by the way of life and attitude change manifested by phone conversation rather than face to face encounter. These show how technology connects to culture in society.
In his words, the author describes the mechanisms in which identity reflects the use of technology. Identity determines how individuals adopt and use technology in their lives. Questions such as who are you and what you do explain the unequal delegation of tasks and technology perspectives such as race, gender, and class.
Initially, my take was that technology is political and after reading chapter fifteen, my beliefs were heightened. All technologies are political and whether they are used for good or evil intentions depends on the users. Technologies are created for short term, profit, production or war purposes. Television as an example is not only for entertainment purposes but also a control marketing tool and political weapon for the family. I encountered people in the US who thing that all Arabs are terrorist due to content from television.
Technology and globalization are two interrelated words in the current aged. According to technology is globalization. Sharing our own experiences with others around the world develop our culture acceptance. Global image building for places and people leads to respect and acceptance of others thereby reducing discrimination and promoting equality.
Bruno Latour, A. M. (2010). Actor-Network Theory: . General Books LLC,.
Green, L. (2002). Communication, Technology and Society. SAGE Publishing .
Jennifer Daryl Slack, J. M. (2005). Culture and Technology: A Primer. Matt Hill.