In today’s world, it is vital for society to focus on
both culture and technology to continue successfully advancing. Goyder describes
technology and society as a reciprocal relationship, where they act and react
to each other (1997). Two theories that can examine the relationship of
technology and society are technological determinism and cultural determinism. This
paper will determine the difference of the two theories of determinism and to
review the positive and negatives impacts of technology on society.
Technological determinism embraces the idea that
technological change will determine cultural change. Slack and Mcgregor Wise
state that certain technologies can define culture and completely change it (2005).
An example of technological determinism is mobile phones, they provide a means
of communication and connecting from anywhere at any time. They created a new
digital society gradually. With each new discovery causes a transition to a
different society. We are surrounded by technology all around us, there is
virtually no way to escape it. To function in society, some of these
technologies cannot be ignored. It is also without saying that technology is
created by humans, cultural practices shape these technological developments. Humans
developed technology and choose to use it. The choice of using technology and
experiencing its effects therefore lie in the hands of human beings.
Cultural determinism reverses the argument; it states
that the practices of the culture causes technological changes (Slack and
Mcgregor Wise, 2005). Culture is learned through ideas, meanings, beliefs and
values, determined by society. An example is online social websites and apps
such as Facebook. It provides a platform for social interaction. Society drives
to create and innovate new products to suit their preference. The success of
Facebook over other social networking websites indicate how society dictates
how social networking functions instead of social networking determining human
behaviour. Technology can’t succeed due to superiority alone, it depends on
other mechanism. A key concern with cultural determinism is that it does not acknowledge
the technological growth that affects society.
The advancements of technology have provided many
advantages in saving time and efficiency.
There are many different fields of technology that have
contributed to today’s society that include communication, education and
transportation. The advancement of technology has increased human capabilities.
Though there are many benefits of technology, but there are also negative
impacts society to consider. Some major concerns include health issues, lack of
social skills, and lack of privacy. Technology can be described as a
double-edged sword, but it cannot be ignored that technology has several
positive effects in different aspects of our lives.
Both theories provide a good argument that contain
truths and fallacies. Technological determinism overlooks major fact, those who
create technology; humans and are the designers behind its influence and progression.
Cultural determinism doesn’t factor in how technological growth affects
society. Mander explains how we relate to objects we create, we merge with it
and assume some of the characteristics (1991). Technological and cultural
determinism are two opposite views; therefore, it is untrue to say one is correct