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Science, Technology and Change

Science, Technology and Change

Difference between Science and Technology
Social Change and Technology
Social Effects of Technology


There is no dispute over the fact that technology brings far reaching and fundamental changes in our social set up. Our modern society is the outcome and product of modern technology. It is due to technological advancement that we come close to each other and our way of living, thinking and behaving has changed. Technology had helped considerably in urbanizing our society. Every technological invention changes the very outlook of our life. Division of labour, trade unionism and specialization which are very common these days and are rapidly influencing and changing out social order are the outcome of advancement of technology.

In the words of Ogburn, technology changes society by changing our environments to which we in turn adopt. This changes is usually in material environment and the adjustments we make to the changes often modify customs and social consequences are the technological results of technological change such as new organization of labour,the expansion of the range of social contacts, the specialization of function and the encroachment of urban influences on rural life. Today there is no aspect of human life which has not been influenced by technology. Therefore technology is very important factor of social change.

Difference between Science and Technology

Kingsley Davis has tried to distinguish between the science and technology .According to him science is that part of the cultural heritage which represents a systematic knowledge of nature and technology is that part which contain the application of this knowledge. Science is not necessary for at least rudimentary technology. Then another distinction between the two is that the ends of technology are empirical which can be practically demonstrated. These ends are purely instrumental but that is not the case with the science. Another point of difference between the two has been pointed out by Kingsley Davis when he says that technology encounters less conflict with morality in one sense because it is always aimed in achieving a utilitarian goal. Without the goal the technology would be meaningless. Therefore the usefulness of technology is always apparent, whereas the usefulness for the search of truth is not so apparent.

Social Change and Technology

Our technological inventions and discoveries are very rapidly developing and advancing and as such these are in more than one way influencing and directing the course of our social change. Each new invention and discovery is just a chain and not an isolated factor. Its influence on social life is effective in bringing many more changes. Industry decides about our social life. Life is an industrially developed and advanced country is bound to be different from social life of a country with an agricultural economy. Technology gave birth to factory system and individual means of production were replaced by factory means of production. Most of the work in the factory was automatic with the result that slowly manpower became surplus which changed the course of our social thinking. At the same time the factories provided employment to millions with the result that the people began to leave their ancestral land and migrated to cities.

The places which were till recently isolated became full with people and people settled down in the areas around factories and in order to meet their demands for daily needs new class of traders began to do brisk business. All this resulted in rapid social changes. But a very effective social change due to machine and industry came because of the emergence of a capitalist class which owned and dominated industry and controlled machine. It began to exploit the people who found employment in factories and thus the capitalist and working classes emerged in the society. The change which was thus injected in the society is continuing.

With industrialization new movements came before the society. In order to champion the cause of the workers union system emerged and new ideologies and philosophies such as socialism and communism began. Thus the introduction of machine in industries brought about many social changes. According to Maclver and Page, 'Attitudes, beliefs and tradition which once were thought to be the very expression of essential human nature have crumbled before its advance. He further says that the swift transitions of our industrial mechanized civilization have not only been followed by far reaching social changes but very many of these changes are such as appear either necessary accommodation or congenial response to the world of machine.

Due to technological advancement means of communication have very quickly and rapidly changed. The quick means of communication change the very course of social life. The newspapers, radio, television and mobile, telephones have changed the very ideology of our very society. Man has conquered time and space.

Technology has equally influenced the means of transportation. It has made the system very fast and rapid and social contracts have become very easy. It has made international trade possible and also countries have come closer. Globalization is the order of the day. Mobility of population has become very easy and fast bringing new social problems and changes the very face of the society. Due to intermixing of the people better understanding grows.

In the agricultural field also technology has its own role to play. It has developed new agricultural tools which have resulted in increased agricultural production. In the words of Macler and Page the achievement of the immediate objective of agricultural technology has led by an inevitable nexus to change of an entirely different order.

Social Change and Technology

Technological changes have both direct as well as indirect effects. There are certain inevitable effects of technology which include division of labour, specialization of functions, influence of urban life and establishment of more contracts. But the indirect effects are unemployment, quarrels and disputes between the employers and the employees and cut throat competition. Technological inventions have changed the values of our life. In the social life new fashions have emerged and the concept of equality of man had developed which has given rise to the idea of democracy. Materialistic outlook had developed and instead of morality wealth is being given highest consideration everywhere. Religion was a social affair has totally become a private affair. Secularism is the order of the day and instead of quantity stress is being laid on quality.

Life is becoming more and more complex and complicated and personal relationship is being replaced by impersonal relationships. Family is now not required to perform many of its traditional functions which have been mechanized. Technology has weakened the control of head of the family over its members and components of family have started disintegrating. The marriage bonds are also weakening leading to increase rate of divorces. New political ideas have developed with the result that in some case there has been political instability while in others such stability has been introduced. In the economic field new relationships and changes have come in employer-employee relations. Due to technology there has been rapid urbanization and many problems of social life have emerged.

Technology has brought about social changes in many other ways as well. Traditions, emotions and sentiments are being tested on rationality. The people have become rationalistic and realistic. Primary groups have been replaced by secondary groups and life has become mechanized. In our society many conflicts and competition have been introduced due to technology.Coorperation is on decline and jealousy and hatred are on the increase. In the words of McIver and Page it is scarcely too much to say that every major problem of modern society is either initiated by or at least strongly affected by technological change.
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