The Social Dimensions of Technology


Technology is an important part of the development of civilization. Its roots can be traced back to the beginning of human culture. Its use began with the creation of simple tools to help people move around.

Technology includes manufacturing, finance, design, research, and management. It also includes art and craft. Among its wide-ranging applications are health, education, and communication.

Technological innovation is strongly influenced by social forces. A key factor is consumer acceptance. Many businesses rely on technology to deliver products and services on time and within budget.

Technologies are largely responsible for urbanization and economic interdependence worldwide. A variety of international organizations contribute to the development of rules and norms for new technologies.

A debate on the social aspects of technology dates back to the 1970s. Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World, a dystopian novel that criticizes the power of industrial technology. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four addresses similar issues.

New technology has a number of positive benefits, but it may also have adverse consequences. The costs of a new technology will vary over time, and its uses will likely have social, ecological, and political impacts.

The social dimensions of technology are not always easy to untangle. Governments have limited incentives to engage in such matters. However, a variety of nongovernmental organizations, such as the Technische Uberwachungsvereine (TUV) perform regular tests of technology systems to assess their risks over time.

Technology is a complex social enterprise that has shaped the nature of the cultural system. Although its impact is inherently unpredictable, truly profound waves of technology have had a powerful influence on humanity.