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Technology And Society Essay Outline

How technology effects our society? Is technology boon or bane for the society? Read the article to know the impact of technology on our society.

The technological growth taking place in the world today is doing so very rapidly and there are new advancements being made with each passing day and this is possible owing to the large number of extensive programmes of technological research currently being done by  a large number of researchers working within non-profit research organizations, business and universities. The developments being made today are very strong and are very pervasive forces in the business environment today. Technology can easily be referred to as the scientific knowledge to the practical problems we are experiencing in the world today. There is no denying that the impact of technology in the world today is huge and can be categorized Into how it effects our society today and how it influences the business activities and operations.

Impact of technology on society:

Technology has without doubt an impact on society. As a matter of fact, we experience this effect in our daily lives. It has an effect on the growth of the economy, our culture and our living standards. It is however important to note that the benefits are a double-edged sword with some being detrimental and other being beneficial. One should be very careful and get to know how the effects on society get to effect the business activities and operations.

Positive impact of technology:

Technology impacts on our daily lives. Our environments are all so full of technology to the point that most of the time we take it for granted and never actually notice the level of impact that it has on us until when we have no telephone, transport, water or electricity. Advancements in technology have greatly increased our living standards. Despite the fact that we are currently experiencing very high inflation rates and the rates of unemployment are very high, generally, people are feeding better, are dressing better and are as a matter of fact living more comfortable lives.

Technology also has a great impact on all the fundamental aspects of all our cultures including laws and how they are enforced, language, art, health care, mobility, education and religion. For instance the great technological improvements in health care have given a chance to doctors to treat their patients in an environment that is virtual through the use of mediums such as video conferencing which has also greatly benefited the legal environment as it allows the judges to still listen to the cases of hard core criminals who cannot be allowed to get into the court rooms due to security reasons.

Negative impacts of technology:

With every advancement that is made in the technological world, creative destruction results. For example, television impacts negatively on the movies and synthetic fibers impact the cotton fibers negatively. The coming in of new types of technology also results in a negative impact on the growth of the economy at times; television at times consumes all the productive hours that a man has in a day. Every new form of technology gets into the market together with long term consequences that are most of the time not foreseeable. For instance is there really a justification for nations coming up with bombs, nuclear weapons and missiles to maintain security?


Despite the fact that we cannot really ignore that there are a number of ways in which technology negatively impacts our society, for the better part it has greatly helped to make out lives better. Technology has greatly helped us to become more efficient thus increasing our productivity. It has also helped us a great deal to be able to save on many resources such as time and money and these are great benefits that cannot be ignored. It has also worked well in bringing unity into the world by turning it into a global village which has in turn helped people to more easily overcome their cultural, racial and continental barriers.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do share with us in the comments below.


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Fall 2016 ENGR 392 / EE - IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON SOCIETY Tuesdays 5:45-8:15 H 605 INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Brandiff R. Caron OFFICE: EV Building 2.249 PHONE: 514-848-2424 ext. 5130 EMAIL: brandiff.caron@concordia.ca OFFICE HOURS: TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS, 3-4pm or by appointment. INTRODUCTION How can we come to terms with the role technology plays in our lives? Scholars and intellectuals from many different fields in social sciences, managerial sciences and humanities have attempted to answer this question. Drawing upon several of these disciplinary strands, this course will be an exploration into the relation between technology and society – its scope, its players, and its dynamics and processes of change. Why is such an inquiry of prime importance for engineers? For at least two reasons that are tied to the place of technology in our lives. First, our contemporary society is saturated with technology. We see it everywhere, around us – on our person, in our landscapes, our cities and even beyond planet earth. In many ways the interaction between any two individuals in contemporary society is often mediated with technology. Second, technology despite its many benefits is controversial. On a number of fronts – environmental, medical, and nutritional – it has become quite common to greet technological change with scepticism if not outright distrust and hostility. In the face of this close yet controversial relation with technology, as individuals engaged in technological development, we need to develop an understanding of technological change and its relationship with society that is informed, balanced and a product of thoughtful reflection. That is the primary motivation for this course. In order to satisfy these learning objectives I will be leading a discussion-oriented course, where all students will be required to participate in class discussions. To facilitate student learning I will require students to purchase one text book and also access and read the supplemental readings available on the Moodle site for the course. This course emphasizes and develops the CEAB graduate attributes of Ethics & Equity, Communication Skills, and Impact of Engineering on Society and the Environment. The Communication Skills attribute is defined by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) as: An ability to communicate complex engineering concepts within the profession and with society at large. Such abilities include reading, writing, speaking and listening, and the ability to comprehend and write effective reports and design documentation, and to give and effectively respond to clear instructions. More specifically, students will be assessed on their abilities to: • Identify audience needs, interests and level of knowledge • Frame supportable, significant theses and arguments • Develop appropriate expository and argumentative strategies • Identify and utilize relevant, high quality resources • Create drafts and revisions • Respond to critical feedback The Ethics & Equity attribute is defined by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) as: An ability to apply professional ethics, accountability, and equity. More specifically, students will be assessed on their abilities to: • Differentiate between ethics, morals, values, and law • Apply ethical reasoning to resolve professional dilemmas • Distinguish professional ethics from ethics in Canada and Quebec • Define and categorize concepts such as Trust and Loyalty • Identify duties and obligations in the Professional/Engineer’s code • Apply professional ethics in case studies • Describe accountability to multiple constituencies: engineering profession, public, client • Apply accountability to professional context • Describe professional obligations against discrimination • Appreciate gender dimensions of equity • Identify economic disparity as a challenge in globalization and sustainability The Impact of Engineering on Society and the Environment attribute is defined by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) as: An ability to analyze social and environmental aspects of engineering activities. Such abilities include an understanding of the interactions that engineering has with the economic, social, health, safety, legal, and cultural aspects of society; the uncertainties in the prediction of such interactions; and the concepts of sustainable design and development and environmental stewardship. More specifically, students will be assessed on their abilities to: • Recognize relevance of societal impact of engineering to improving innovation • Categorize wide range of engineering & society relationships, including economic, social, health, safety, legal, and cultural aspects • Demonstrate familiarity with evolution of technologies • Analyze impact of engineering on society and environment • Diagnose appropriate models in engineering design for optimal social and environmental impact REQUIRED TEXT: Technology Matters: Questions to Live With by David E. Nye, 2006, The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. There are several places online where a virtual copy of the book may be purchased. There are several copies of the book on reserve at the Concordia library that may be checked out for 3 hours at a time free of charge. SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS: In addition to this text book there will be many assigned readings that will be available online at the course Moodle page. Students are expected to complete all readings prior to coming to the class session for which the reading is assigned. In a discussion-oriented class, the quality of the class is related to the quality of the discussions generated in class. I will lead and direct discussions, but it is the duty of students to continue the conversation forward. Without having read the readings you will find it harder to say something intelligent and this will eventually disadvantage your performance in this class. CLASSROOM RULES Lecture– I will generally begin class with a lecture. These lectures will highlight some of the important points from the readings for the day. There will also be important information presented in lectures that will not be found in the readings. Your duty will be to come to class having read the readings assigned for that day, ready to ask any questions you may have. Diligent note-taking will also be necessary in order to perform well on the tests. I would like to specify the following rules for orderly functioning of the lecture. a. If you have a question about what I said or what another student said, raise your hand and you will be given the chance to ask your question. In class discussions will be conducted in a respectful and non-discriminatory fashion. b. I will be taking attendance. I expect you to take your education seriously and attend class regularly. If you miss any class, gathering the notes for that class is your responsibility. I will not entertain any emails asking for lecture notes. c. Continued disruptive behavior will be penalized. Disrespect towards the instructor in class, arriving late to class and leaving early from class on a regular basis will be noted and penalized. Talking to your neighbor during lectures or talking on the cell phone in class also counts as disruptive behavior. Please close your laptops in class. I will not allow students to use laptops in class unless you are making a presentation. d. If you think you will find it difficult to keep up with the class or have any special needs that I should know about, come and see me during office hours. e. Homework assignments should be submitted on the time and date mentioned in your syllabus. In case of a family emergency or other extenuating circumstances, I will accept assignments that are submitted late. But if I see a regular pattern of late submissions, I will penalize your late assignments. Academic Integrity – The work students complete for this course will be their own, which is to say that cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Any written assignment that borrows from other sources without giving proper credit or that is plagiarized in whole or in part from another source (including other student’s work) is grounds for an “F” on the assignment, or depending on the severity of the infraction, is grounds for an “F” in the course. Concordia University recognizes as a punishable offence “any form of cheating, plagiarism, personation, falsification of a document as well as any other form of dishonest behaviour related to the obtention of academic gain or the avoidance of evaluative exercises” (Code of Academic Conduct, Section 16.3.14, Paragraph III). For questions about the University's policy on cheating and plagiarism, please consult the Undergraduate Calendar at http://registrar.concordia.ca/calendar/16/sec16.html Academic Support – The university acknowledges that students have diverse education needs. The university tries to accommodate a wide variety of such needs. Please do not hesitate to contact the following if you think you have a special need:   Advocacy and Support Services http://supportservices.concordia.ca/studentadvocateprogram/ Centre for Mature Students http://relish.concordia.ca/cms/      Concordia Counselling and Development http://cdev.concordia.ca/ New Student Program http://newstudent.concordia.ca/ Office for Students with Disabilities http://supportservices.concordia.ca/disabilities/ Concordia Counselling and Development – http://cdev.concordia.ca/ Student Learning Services - http://learning.concordia.ca/ This course will assume a complete knowledge of the English language. We will, at times, be dealing with some very complex and abstract concepts. Students who do not have a superb grasp of the English language may find it difficult to keep up with class discussions and take notes properly. For these students, I highly recommend seeking extra help from the Counseling and Development Center (linked above). Lack of familiarity with the English language will NOT be considered as a legitimate excuse for poor performance. If you have any special needs please contact me to discuss your situation. ASSIGNMENTS 1. Reflection Essays (20% of your grade): You will be expected to write four short reflection essays during the semester. These essays should be about 12 pages, double spaced. I will not be assigning any special topics for each essay, your duty will be to reflect on the readings in the last week or two and write an informed opinion about the readings. I DO NOT WANT A SUMMARY OF THE READINGS. I want to read your opinion about the readings and your reasons for arriving at that opinion. It will be helpful to focus on the key technological concept for each week’s reading. (See supplemental handout on reflection essays.) 2. Reading Quizzes (10% of your grade): There will be five pop-quizzes throughout the semester. These quizzes will be unannounced and will take place at the beginning of five random classes. The quizzes will be testing you on your familiarity with the reading(s) assigned for that day. They will be very simple one or two question quizzes. These quizzes will be very very easy…if you have done the reading. 3. Quizzes (40% of your grade): There will be two in-class quizzes in the semester. These quizzes will try to test your grasp of key concepts, your ability to analyze and your familiarity with the readings and lectures. The second quiz will be cumulative. 4. Project (20% of your grade): There will be one project in this class. The focus of this project will be on developing a technology model for a social entrepreneur case that you can pick. However, I would like to discuss the topic with you before you start doing the research and writing the report. The report for the project will be about 2000 words and will include a bibliography. 5. Class Engagement (10% of your grade): I will be gauging how well you participate in class discussions and your general level of interest in class. You will be graded based on your participation in class, your demonstrated interest in the subject and your regularity in attending class. If you choose to hide your face behind a laptop in class, or have not opened your mouth in class, or even do not come regularly to class you can be sure you are not getting a mark for this section. I will use the following numerical base for your letter grade: A+ (90-100%) Exceptional B+ – (77-79%) C+ – (67-69%) D+ – (57-59%) F <50% Fail A B C D R – (85-89%) – (73-76%) – (63-66%) – (53-56%) <20% Repeat A- – (80-84%) B– (70-72%) C– (60-62%) D– (50-52%) NR Grade not Reported COURSE OUTLINE Week 1: Introduction Tuesday, September 6th Introductions Week 2:Defining Technology Tuesday, September 13th Readings: (1) Nye. Chapter 1 (2) Nye. Chapter 2 (3) Leo Marx “Does Improved Technology Mean Progress?” Technology Review, 1987, p 33-41. Week 3: Technological Determinism Tuesday, September 20th Readings: (1) Nye. Chapter 7 (2) Langdon Winner, “Do Artifacts have Politics?” In L. Winner (ed)Whale and the Reactor, A search for limits in an age of High Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press REFLECTION ESSAY #1 DUE Week 4: Technology, Gender & Equity Tuesday, September 27th Readings: (1) Patrick Hopkins, “The Intersection of Culture, Gender, and Technology,” D. Johnson and J. Wetmore (eds) Technology and Society: Building Our Sociotechnical Future. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp 195-203. (2) Anna Vitores & Adriana Gil-Juárez. “The trouble with ‘women in computing’: a critical examination of the deployment of research on the gender gap in computer science.” Week 5: Technological Somnambulism Tuesday, October 4th Readings: (1) Langdon Winner, “Technologies as Forms of Life,” In L. Winner (ed)Whale and the Reactor, A search for limits in an age of High Technology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (2) Robert Pool, 1997, Beyond Engineering – How Society Shapes Technology, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 149-61. (3) Nye. Chapter 3 (4) The Lightbulb Conspiracy!!!!! REFLECTION ESSAY #2 DUE Week 6: Engineering and Public Policy Tuesday, October 11th Readings: (1) A. Colombo, B. Karney, “Why Engineers needs Public Policy Training & Practice,” Journal of Policy Engagement, Vol. 1, 1, pp 9-12. (2) Lawrence Lessig. Code is Law. http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/01/code-is-law-html (3) REVIEW FOR QUIZ 1 Week 7: Technology Assessment Tuesday, October 18th QUIZ 1 Week 8: & Entrepreneurship and Development Tuesday, October 25th Readings: (1) S. Kline &D. Kash, “Do We Need a Technology Policy?” IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Summer 1992, pp. 18-25. (2) Josee Van Eijndhoven, “Technology Assessment: Product or Process.” Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Vol 54, 269-286. (3) “Great Hybrid Car Cover-up,” http://www.hybridcars.com/history/thegreat-hybrid-car-cover-up-of-74.html (4) J. Novy-Hildesley. 2010. “By the Grace of Invention,” innovations, Winter 2010, pp 7-24. Week 9: Globalization and Engineering Tuesday, November 1st Readings: (1)Jose Goldemberg.1998. “Leapfrog Energy Technologies.”Energy Policy, 26, 10, 729-41. (2)Simone Cecchini, “Tapping ICT to Reduce Poverty in Rural India.” IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Summer 2003, pp. 20-27 (3)Dean Nieusma and Donna Riley. (2010) “Designs on Development: Engineering, Globalization, and Social Justice.” Engineering Studies, 2:1, 2959. REFLECTION ESSAY #3 DUE Week 10: Engineering and Social Justice Tuesday, November 8th Readings: (1) Thomas Friedman, “It’s a flat world after all.” http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/03DOMINANCE.html? pagewanted=1&sq=technology%20globalization&st=nyt&scp=7 (2) Byron Newberry, “Engineering Globalization,” IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, Fall 2005, pp. 8-15. (3) Michael Joseph Gross. (2012). World War 3.0. Retrieved Sept. 1, 2012 from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2012/05/internet-regulation-war-sopa-pipadefconhacking Week 11: Sustainability Monday, November 15th Readings: (1) Nye. Chapter 6 (2)Beder, Sharon. “The Role of Technology in Sustainable Development.” (3) Steven Peck. “Industrial Ecology: From Theory to Practice.” Available at http://www.newcity.ca/Pages/industrial_ecology.html. REFLECTION ESSAY # 4 DUE Week 12: Engineering and Democracy Tuesday, November 22nd Readings: (1) Wilding, Ethan. “Framing Ethical Acceptability: A Problem with Nuclear Waste in Canada.” 2012. Science and Engineering Ethics. 18:301-313. (2) Gutmann, Amy. “The Ethics of Synthetic Biology: Guiding Principles for Emerging Technologies.” Hastings Center Report 41, no. 4 (2011): 17-22. (3) David Dickson. “Science and Its Public: The Need for a ‘Third Way.’” 2000. Social Studies of Science. 30/6. Dec. 917-23. (4) REVIEW FOR QUIZ 2 Week 13: Conclusion Tuesday, November 29th QUIZ 2 PROJECT REPORTS DUE IN MY OFFICE BEFORE 5:00pm on Monday, December 5th.


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