This portion of the Course Project provides an analysis of the chosen technology’s influence on society considering all of the following components:
o How has this technology been received, accepted, or rejected? Why? Is it feared or favored? What is the attitude toward change? How are the developers trying to sell the technology to the general public? Look at attitudes, feelings (emotions), behaviors, personality, and the ways humans change as a result of this technology. What is being thought, and why? Is the human mind impacted? How? Are interactions between people changing as a result? Who is included or excluded, and why? Use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Piaget, or some other theorist. What psychological needs are met by the technology (e.g., cell phones once granted status and now promote a sense of belonging or connectedness) or created by the technology? Consumerism?
o Look at groups and organizations that have arisen and prospered because of this technology. Are these groups supportive or antagonistic, and why? (An example is genetically modified foods [GMOs] and the backlash against the Monsanto corporation. Another is cochlear implants that allow the deaf to hear yet reduce the deaf population that calls itself a community.) How does the technology change society, or how does society change in response to the technology? What factors in society led to the development in the first place? What do class, gender roles, race, norms, and the like mean in this context? Who will benefit from the technology, and who might be harmed (this might also belong in the ethics and morals section)? For example, prosthetics enable people to participate more fully and actively in society (some people compete in triathlons and marathons), and war has brought about the need for advances in prosthetic technology as casualties with missing limbs return home to the United States. Look at the workplace, new companies, and/or jobs created, jobs lost (or save this for the economics section, perhaps). Look at roles—subgroups, people’s interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Consider crime, healthcare, and schools. Surveillance cameras, for example, have recently been installed in New York City, and the result has been a decrease in the amount of crime, purse-snatching, pickpocketing, and so forth. Yet some fear the big-brother effect of always being watched and tracked, as well as concerns over “who will guard the guards.”
o This is a really important section. Consider the elements that comprise the culture and subcultures. Compare the United States’ use of the technology with that of other nations around the world. What is it about Americans that brings about innovation, or has America declined in terms of technical innovation, scientific research, and development? Look at advertising for the technology, the use of celebrities or stars or heroes, the applications (e.g., sports and nanotechnology), and the values represented by the culture. What has priority, and why? An example: IBM was spelled out in xenon atoms. Why were these letters chosen instead of something else? What new words have been added to our vocabulary from this technology? Horseless carriage was used long before the term automobile. Wireless preceded Wi-Fi, and webcasting preceded podcasting. Broadcast was a term adapted from agriculture long before it was used for radio and television.
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