Research Analysis for Penguin

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Submitted By sluke360
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Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral.

Melvin Kranzberg, 1986

Technology is a powerful force in the modern world. It has been hailed as a way to cure everything from world hunger to bad breath. Nevertheless, technological development is not an unqualified blessing: Technologies frequently have negative effects for some people, at some times, in some circumstances. Some negative consequences are unanticipated, some are predictable, and some are intentional features of the design or implementation. But because technologies are rightly seen as indispensable for solving problems and improving the quality of life, societies invest in the design and development of technologies, hoping to shape and direct it.

This class will explore the relationship between technology and society to understand where technologies come from, how they are used, and how they may be shaped to create better futures. It is not a class where memorization is the primary goal. Instead we will develop skills for critical analysis and argument development. As we do this we will continually pose four important questions: First, where do technologies come from and why do they work as they do? Technologies are human creations, and so their forms and uses reveal the interests and purposes of the people, institutions, and societies that build them. Second, how do technologies shape our world? We will explore the variety of ways by which machines and techniques become embedded in society and thereby shape institutions, relationships, and values. Third, what kind of future do we want? Many of the articles we will read argue that certain values are of key importance to a just society, which challenges us to consider which values we should hold most dear and defend. And fourth, how can we make decisions about technology that will get us to the future we want? Once we…...

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