Technology and Human Productivity: Challenges for the Future

Technology and Human Productivity: Challenges for the Future

Technology and Human Productivity: Challenges for the Future

Technology and Human Productivity: Challenges for the Future

Synopsis

The editors have assembled a collection of original essays offering a holistic view of how technology shapes the modern world. Consideration is given to several major issues, such as the dehumanizing effects of technology, which tends to objectify social life; the emphasis on productivity and the accumulation of material goods; and the intricacies involved in creating a responsible technology that would establish more socially sensitive principles, values, and beliefs. Technology is examined not simply as machinery, but as a procedure that can be used to define every aspect of social existence, and the book demonstrates how to bring about the changes that are necessary to remedy this alienating situation.

Excerpt

Eugene W. Smith and J. Larry Williams

The subject of technology, along with its attendant subtopics, constitutes a broad area of interest and concern. This book focuses attention on the relationship between technology and production in addition to issues raised by this association. Specifically, the chapters presented in this volume address the impact of technology on human productivity and the resulting changes in social order.

Technological growth has created cause for social reassessment throughout the years. the introduction of steel axes for "stone-age men" serves as a reminder for anthropologists and sociologists that any modification of a society's technological base may cause unexpected and even serious consequences for the cultural milieu. Simply put, as suggested by W. I. Thomas, technology is real and so are its consequences. Therefore, it is certainly irresponsible to proceed with the development of technology without pausing periodically to reflect critically upon its possible repercussions.

In order to benefit from technology, moral and ethical issues related to its growth and use must be given serious consideration. For instance, must the creators and users of technology share responsibility for any damage it may cause? What should be the proper motives of those who create technology: to make work easier, to create more leisure time for persons, or to open areas for exploration? What are the appropriate social and cultural restraints to be placed on the use of technology? These and other questions are not easy to answer because they raise additional problems that cannot be readily solved.

The complexity of the social order in which persons live today has increased dramatically because of technology. Today's society is a gesellschaft far more complicated than that considered by Ferdinand Tönnies, has a division of labor significantly more intricate than that envisioned by Emile Durkheim, and has become more bureaucratized than ever imagined by Max Weber. Although tech-

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