Part II: Key Questions for Technology
Which tried and true questions about technology continue to puzzle those who think deeply about technology? Which new questions about technology are arising that haven’t been addressed before? What can writers learn from theorists and historians in the academy about how we frame our questions about technology and society?
Man and Machine
How is technology—the ability to extend one’s skills and abilities with tools—the thing that makes us most human? How does technology sit in opposition to our humanity? How does what we consider to be a technology in a given age change over time?
- Donna Haraway, “A Cyborg Manifesto,” 1991213
- Sara Hendren, “All Technology Is Assistive,” 2014214
- Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics, 1948215
Determinism Versus Social Construction
To what extent do technologies have inevitable trajectories? How do technologies constrain possible uses, and how do users and designers shape technologies’ directions and embed ideologies and values within them?
- Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” 2008216
- Stephen Marche, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?,” 2012217
- Wiebe E. Bijker, Thomas P. Hughes, Trevor Pinch, and Deborah G. Douglas, The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, 2012218
- Langdon Winner, “Do Artifacts Have Politics,” 1980219
- Andrew Feenberg, The Critical Theory of Technology, 1991220
Objectivity and Positivism
How do technologies both remove human influence and bias, and formalize other assumptions and biases in their design and application?
- Tim Hwang and Madeleine Clare Elish, “The Mirage of the Marketplace,” 2015221
- Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, 2013222
How and why do moral panic narratives dominate critical responses to technology? How can they be easily spotted, anticipated, and avoided to move discourse beyond fear-based criticism?