This video segment, adapted from A Science Odyssey, explores the far-reaching influence of technology in society. It reveals that opinions of technology span the ...
A Science Odyssey: "Bigger, Better, Faster"
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© 1998 WGBH Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
Adapted from A Science Odyssey: "Bigger, Better, Faster". Footage courtesy of Getty.
Technological research and development introduces new products and services to society, some capable of affecting the way almost all of us lead our lives. Many innovations come about as a response to society's changing needs. But technologies also have the power to shape the values held by a society -- inculcating a wish for more convenience or durability, for example, or for something smaller, safer, and easier-to-use.
Technology comes with tradeoffs, many of which are portrayed in the video segment. On the one hand, for instance, technology brought the World Wide Web to our classrooms and homes. Technology permits communications and travel from almost anywhere to almost anywhere else, and assists medical practitioners in their diagnoses and scientists in their research. On the other hand, technology's proliferation is also largely responsible for increased waste, pollution, and urban sprawl, not to mention a host of personal privacy issues.
Technology represents hope for a considerable segment of society. Rapid development and acceptance of technologies have led many people to assume that, in a matter of time, new ones will be developed to cure all of society's ills. But there are cautionary tales as well. The promise of computers was that the productivity increases realized by using them in the workplace would afford employees more free time to spend outside of work. As things have turned out, computer technology may have indeed increased productivity and made a lot of jobs much less labor-intensive, but many people work longer hours than ever before.