Connecting Technological Dreams With Social Activism | IWCMC

  • Connecting Technological Dreams With Social Activism

    New technologies are a godsend for some, a threat for others. Governments must take this into account. They should both stimulate innovation and protect vulnerable groups in society. Businesses will also have the need to use technology in all facets of their business including the use of the best link building service in their marketing efforts.

    Technology in society

    In the ‘real world, technology and society develop in tandem. People actively shape their lives and the environment through technology. Social practices enable some innovations and limit others. The founder of capitalism, Adam Smith, argued as early as the 18th century that division of labor spurred innovation. He gave the example of the pin factory. By dividing the making of a pin into eighteen simple steps, labor productivity could be significantly increased. This division of labor made it possible that those simple tasks could eventually be mechanized. In this case, social innovation – the redesign of the work process – stimulated technological innovation.

    Blindness to the consequences

    The effects of technology are therefore diverse, far-reaching, and difficult to predict. In a literal sense, this applies to the earthquakes that are the result of gas extraction in Groningen. After more than half a century of gas extraction, it has now become clear that our gas consumption has a negative impact on the living environment and the peace of mind of the people of Groningen. The people of Groningen had to fight long and hard to get the problem of earthquakes on the political agenda and to enforce a good approach to the earthquake damage. This shows that the good opportunities offered by technology often come with risks. In the way the government deals with the risks of technology and those who suffer from it, it shows its true face. Trust between citizens and government is at stake.

    Directors as true innovators

    Real innovation, therefore, requires technological and social innovation. Expanding technological possibilities and changing social, economic, and political practices go hand in hand. It is a process of trial and error, with winners and losers, where the losers – even if the negative effects are distressing – are not automatically heard. To be heard, the losers are condemned to social and political struggles. Government should always be aware of both the beautiful and the ugly faces of technology and take care of winners and losers. In the market, the losing companies go bankrupt and the winners are rewarded with increasing profits. Crucially, the profits of the car industry were not affected by the number of road deaths. The negative effects are felt deeply in society. Governments cannot leave losers to their fate.

    Digitization as an extension of our nervous system

    Today’s automobile is a typical machine of the first machine age. This industrial age produced machines that provide (mechanical) muscle power and thus expand the physical capabilities of man. The car expands our ability to move. From the beginning of the 20th century, this potential unleashed a complex whole of developments, with a major influence on our way of life, living environment, way of consuming and producing. The ‘innovation game’ surrounding the car is far from over. The icon of future mobility is now the self-driving car – ‘a driverless mobile’, which people trust to make the right decisions in traffic.

    Technology as an extension of man

    The architect Mitchell, the ‘father’ of the word ‘smart city, saw technology as an extension of man. [3] In his view, we have arranged our homes and living environments in such a way that they expand and enhance our physical and mental capabilities in countless ways. For example, Mitchell sees the water supply, the tap, the toilet, and the sewer system as extensions of our digestive tract. The bicycle and all bicycle paths are extensions of our legs. While the machines of the first machine age mainly expand our physical faculties, the thinking machines of the second machine age expand our cognitive faculties. Our current living environment was created during the industrial revolution. This living environment can be seen as a machine park: a collection of large technological systems (drinking water and sewage systems, transport, electricity, and communication networks) and devices; from trains and cars to central heating boilers. According to Mitchell, our bodies are thus connected to an extensive, external network of pipes, pumps, and overland transport routes, for the supply of water and food and for the removal and processing of waste

    Social challenge of digitization

    The digital techniques of the second machine age thus expand our technological possibilities enormously. According to the technological dream, this immediately results in a more beautiful world. But having become wise through trial and error, we know that for such a more beautiful world we have to work hard and that in addition to technological innovation, social innovation is also necessary. This has to do with the fact that technology also influences social processes. Digitization affects the way we live, how we communicate with each other, how our democracy works, what our work looks like, and how the economy functions. Internet shopping changes the streetscape in the center (fewer travel agencies, banks, and CD shops, more restaurants, and collection points) and increases freight transport. [4]Dating apps partly automate flirting. And digital platforms are the new economic organization model of the 21st century.

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