The Impact of Technology on Society

As Libby Larsen said in her note for the song “Jazz at the Intergalactic Nightclub,” “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” Indeed, in modern society, communication and technology are intrinsically linked, being the main drivers of societal change. This presentation aims at demonstrating that drastic changes in communication technology have led to a fundamental shift in social order and organization. Technological development and societal changes go hand in hand. These developments occur in the communicational domain, thus leading to the formation of the information society. Thus, the main driver of changes in society is communication production, distribution, and integration.

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Science and Technology Studies, STS, have demonstrated the most rigorous research on the interdependence of society and technology. Their development goes hand in hand with the construction of social life (Cole & Bertenthal, 2017). To grasp these processes, a concept of co-production was introduced (Flinders et al., 2016). Technology shapes and changes society and vice-versa.

At the turn of the 80s of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries, we observed the qualitative leap in the revolutionary development of various media and the development of high technologies of information (network) coverage of various spheres of society. This shift presumed that every member of society should acquire the skills and abilities to receive, process, and distribute (broadcast) all kinds of information streams (Martin, 2017). Often modern society is referred to as information society, which exhibits drastic changes both in the speed of information exchange dissemination and in the technologies of its management (Martin, 2017). The main turning point was the development of the Internet, which largely contributes to the accelerating process of globalization and the unity of cultures of economic and geopolitical spaces (Martin, 2017). At the same time, it leads to an impressive increase in information confrontation in all spheres of human activity: social, political, economic, and cultural.

Thus, indeed, technology is communication. The primary outcomes of the communication technologies developments have led to drastic changes in the global social organization. First, it is the digitalization of knowledge with its specifics of storage, search, processing, transfer, automated use, and modeling. Second, it is the construction of widely developed communication networks within individual countries and between regions, countries, and even different continents. Finally, it is the creation of large information spaces and network resources, in particular, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, as well as the global network project programs.

Being co-produced, society and technology construct each other and influence each other. The most recent fundamental shift in the social order is caused by the developments in communication technologies, leading to the formation of the information society. Today we all are embedded in interrelated networks of communication. Thus, we can see how much technology impacts society. In particular, today, the changes in communication technologies influence changes in the whole world. One cannot escape from the fundamental changes in society caused by technologies. As Frank Kaufman put, “Technology improves the lives of people who can avoid being dominated by it and forced into debilitating addictions to it.”

References

Cole, S. A., & Bertenthal, A. (2017). Science, technology, society, and law. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13, 351-371.

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Flinders, M., Wood, M., & Cunningham, M. (2016). The politics of co-production: risks, limits and pollution. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 12(2), 261-279.

Martin, W. J. (2017). The global information society. Taylor & Francis.

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