Draw from the sociotechnical debate to discuss the emergence of two technologies - one developed before 1920 and one after - using two concepts from the module

Topics: Sociology, Technology, Science and technology studies Pages: 6 (2124 words) Published: February 16, 2014
Technologies can be considered as structural constraints. Similar to all structures human beings have created, they can limit or enable human actions. Technology can be defined as the creation, adaptation, usage and comprehension of mostly machines which are known to make life better and assist in solving a problem (Wright, 2008). In addition to that, technology is also used to perform a specific function. The use of technology by human beings can be dated back when they began creating simple tools from natural resources. From using fire to prepare their food which led to the increase of food production to the use of the wheel which aided in moving from one place to another and environmental controlling, human beings are known to use technology to their advantage. Recent technology for instance the internet, the printing press and the mobile phone have made communication easier. It has enabled human beings to be able to communicate and interact freely within the global boundaries (Wright, 2008). Beyond this common role of technology and its mechanism, technology usually varies. Two vital phases of technology development are what can be termed as ‘traditional technology’ which was invented before 1920 and ‘modern technology’ which has been invented past 1920. In discussing the emergence of technology drawing it from the social, technical debate, this paper will focus more on the technological advancements witnessed in the mass media or the printing press. In addition to that, this paper will make reference to technological and social determinism. Technology, before the rise of computers, can be considered as belonging to the traditional era of technology. At that time, mass media typically involved the use of one to many receivers; the receivers were anonymous; the communication channels were one way, and lastly there was an evident difference between the producers and the receivers. Some of the technology being used for instance the telephone usually connected one individual to another. This type of orientation is known as the one to one orientation (Kunz, 2006). However, in the case of the mass media, the form of communication was from one sender to multiple receivers. An example is the newspaper business whereby the news company issues out a newspaper to be read by many people. In this case, the sender is the newspaper company while the anonymous receiver is the reader of the newspaper. However, digitization and the internet usage has changed the boundaries of communication and defined the parameters to be used in the ‘new’ era. Therefore, this means that referring it to the ‘new’ technology as it significantly eases of the characteristics of the ‘old’ technology (Kunz, 2006). In referring to digitization, any content that can be stored in the form of 1s and 0s in the computer are known to be digital (Flew, 2008). There are various ways to deliver the digital content. Some of the ways include the CD (Compact Disk), the DVD (Digital Video Disk) and the television broadcast signal. An instance is a music CD which can be compared to the phonograph record. In the case of CDs, they usually have lower audio quality but usually suffer from scratches. Moreover, multiple copies of the CD can be made on a computer unlike the phonograph record (Flew, 2008). Amidst all these, significant changes came to be observed when the media became connected to the internet. The internet thus became the communication platform of all digital communication where various devices such as computers, mobile phones and wireless laptops can be used. The growth of the usage of the internet, mobile devices and digital media has contributed to understanding mass media in many ways which has led to the traditional technology being abandoned and people embracing the ‘new’ technology (Hutchby, 2001). Technological determinism is one of the most influential theories that have been used to explain the relationship that exists between the...

References: 1. Charles A. B, (1927) Time, Technology, and the Creative Spirit in Political Science,” 21 Am. Political Science Review 1, 5.
2. Croteau, D & Hoynes, W (2003). Media Society: Industries, Images and Audiences ((third edition) ed.). Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press. pp. 305–307.
3. Flew, T. (2008). New Media An Introduction. South Melbourne. 3rd Edition. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
4. Green, L (2001). Technoculture. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin. pp. 1–20.
5. Hutchby, I. (2001). Conversation and technology: From the telephone to the Internet. Cambridge: Polity.
6. Kunz, W M. (2006). Culture Conglomerates: Consolidation in the Motion Picture and Television Industries. Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 2.
7. Mackenzie, D. & Wajcman, J. (1985) The Social Shaping of Technology, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.
8. Mayberry, M. (1991). Conflict and Social Determinism: The Reprivatization of Education. Chicago: Viewpoints.
9. Wright, R.T. (2008). Technology. Goodheart-Wilcox Company, 5th edition.
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