Academic Master

Sociology

Technology and Social Change

The current human generation has adopted a culture that cannot survive without technology. We use scientific innovations and depend on them in our daily activities, and the dependence we have on technology keeps on rising each day. We use technology to travel, communicate, learn, do business, medicine, and entertainment. Scholars define technology as the scientific art that creates and innovates industrial machinery and devices from scientific knowledge. The innovations of technology ease society’s mode of operation. However, technology has also caused us concerns about its results in the community. Social change is one of the most significant effects of modern technology. The alteration of normal behaviours, values, and culture is known as social change, and some other factors such as the industrial revolution have also resulted in social change (Harper & Leicht, 2015).

The evolution of information and communication technologies has led to the launching of personal computers. Since the introduction of IBM personal computers in 1981, our societies have been altered in a couple of ways. Most of the alterations have brought about positive impacts on the communities with very few consequences. First, computers have enabled quick processing and sharing of data and information all over the globe. Personal computers have also equipped society with the ability to conduct research and experiments in different sectors such as transport, medicine, and the military. Online businesses have also been a result of the technology of these devices. However, despite all these positive impacts, the efficiency of personal computers has led to unemployment in society (Earl & Kimport, 2011). Employers replace employees with computers to reduce operational costs and ensure efficiency in production.

Similar to personal computers, cellular mobile phones also affect society from different perspectives. Mobile phones have by far eased the process of communication through phone calls and SMS. They have significantly reduced the use of letters and telegrams. They offer a fast and cost-effective alternative for society to communicate. Modern mobile phones hold application that significantly impacts society. For example, the electronic money transfer apps used by various institutions enable the safe transfer of money from one region to another (Toyama, 2015). Many youths have been addicted to the use of the different social media applications supported by modern mobile phones to the extent that some of them need rehabilitation.

The enormous impact on society is due to the use of the internet. Internet impacts range from online businesses, e-learning, advertisements, and information access to the creation of online communities through social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter. The online communities have led to positive impacts such as crime detection and prevention, fashion and design, and growth in the music and entertainment industry. The internet has facilitated sharing of information and data files through features like electronic mail (e-mail). Consequently, the internet has led to the degradation of social impacts. Pornography and sharing of nudes are some of the adverse effects created by the internet (Harper & Leicht, 2015). Unhealthy incitement of the public through social media platforms also adds to the negative impacts of the internet.

The advancement in technology has brought up concerns about the equilibrium model, digital divide, and cultural lag. The equilibrium model deals with the alterations that occur in one part of the society and how other parts of the community must adjust accordingly to cope with the modifications. The failure of some parts of the society to adapt accordingly leads to vulnerability in the equilibrium model and many complications may arise. The social equilibrium model dictates the haves and the have-nots of technology in every community. The example internet users have numerous enjoy several advantages such as online applications for jobs, health care, and academic opportunities. Some businesses, for example, Amazon only offer online services to their customers who order and pay through an online channel. The restrictions on online services result in inequality in society as the have-nots are neglected in the various sociological aspects (Earl & Kimport, 2011).

The digital divide is another sociological branch that relates to technology. The digital divide refers to the difference evident in communities, individuals, and regions that have access to modern technological facilities and those that have limited access to the facilities. The digital divide is most apparent between the city dwellers and those in rural areas, the educated and uneducated, and at the international level between the developed countries and third-world countries (Toyama, 2015).

Some technological advancements result in changes in society that occur much faster than the ability of the society to alter its culture to adopt the changes. This situation is known as the cultural lag, and it can lead to stress, and moral and ethical dilemmas for the communities affected as they develop social norms to adapt to the new technology (Toyama, 2015). A perfect example of cultural lag is early childhood development. Many parents, especially the elderly, do not understand how children require video games and tablets during their early years.

The use of modern technology has also influenced social epidemiology, health, and the environment. Social epidemiology is the study of the social distribution and social determinants of health. Technology continues to help social epidemiology in the find the cure for different diseases affecting society. Advanced knowledge and research carried out with the help of technology have helped cure illnesses such as mental illness, drug, and alcohol addiction, and many more. As for health, technology continues to play a crucial role in maintaining our well-being. Today, every health center utilizes a scientific tool or drug (Harper & Leicht, 2015). Advanced healthcare facilities use technology to treat complications such as cancer through chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Stem cell treatment is also an example of the advanced use of technology in treatment. Despite these advantages, technology has also resulted in health complications such as loss of hearing and eyesight due to the use of headphones and the straining of eyes in looking at computer and device screens. As for the environment, technology has come up with new ways to help conserve and protect the environment. The use of modern fertilizers and irrigation schemes are also some of the efforts by technology to positively impact the environment. Some of the adverse effects of technology on the environment include air, soil, and water pollution by hazardous chemicals (Vecchiato & Roveda, 2010).

Every country in the world is making efforts to provide reliable and sufficient electrical energy to its citizens, and nuclear power is the best option that the nations are exploiting. Nuclear energy technology will produce adequate electricity yet it will also have devastating effects. For example, the Fukushima nuclear accident in China destroyed property worth millions and fear of radiation complications.

In conclusion, technology and human beings cannot be separated. Human beings have evolved in recent years to incorporate the use of technology in every aspect of their lives. This paper explains the role technology plays in our societies and how it impacts social change. The connection between technology and significant sociological branches such as the equilibrium model, digital divide, and cultural lag has also been addressed in this paper. The impacts of technology on social epidemiology, health, and the environment also add to the items covered by the article. Scientists continue with their research, and they are making huge steps towards advancing technology and reducing its negative impacts.

References

Earl, J., & Kimport, K. (2011). Digitally enabled social change: Activism in the internet age. Mit Press.

Facer, K. (2011). Learning futures: Education, technology and social change. Taylor & Francis.

Harper, C. L., & Leicht, K. T. (2015). Exploring social change: America and the world. Routledge.

Toyama, K. (2015). Geek heresy: Rescuing social change from the cult of technology. PublicAffairs.

Vecchiato, R., & Roveda, C. (2010). Strategic foresight in corporate organizations: Handling the effect and response uncertainty of technology and social drivers of change. Technological Forecasting and Social Change77(9), 1527-1539

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