|Published online: May 22, 2014||Free Download|
This paper briefly reviews prior research on the relationship between technology and society which has shown there are reciprocal influences between scientific and technological areas and political, economic, and cultural fields. This paper shows how the choice of different independent and dependent variables has influenced former scholarly works. The paper defines technique, technology, and technological capital, and argues that we should differentiate products from technological capital accumulated in a society. Products are made by mobilizing social resources and organizing the structure of social relations in a manner that is required for their production. Their production is also made possible by resource allocations for accumulation and utilization of certain technological capital. There can be specific intentions inscribed in products and technologies; however, they can have disruptive consequences. Technological capitals—and products made using them—are organic parts of the dynamic feedback structures of societies; therefore, they are among the state variables influencing the trajectory of same societies. Moreover, since societies are open systems, technological capitals and products can act as determinants for the trajectory of other societies and nature. This paper proposes a dynamic feedback model which examines the system of social processes that influence resource allocations, set priorities and constraints for universities and research institutes, and affect what we know and what we don’t know. Social decisions on investments and resource mobilization for the production of a subset of products require certain social organizations and therefore, affect the society. The consequences of knowledge creation and production processes are new mixture of technological capital, organizations, and products. They simultaneously change the domain of possibilities for the decisions that are made in social processes. All of these variables—situated in a feedback system within a historical context—are influential on the social condition. The paper concludes that the inclusion of people and artifacts in our analysis should not distract us from noticing that non-human actors cannot be held morally responsible, and our decisions are the only variable that we may be able to change; therefore, for all the avoidable outcomes, the only factors that can be held accountable are humans.
|Keywords:||Technological Capital, Dynamic Feedback Social System, Responsibility|
Faculty, School of Business, Capilano University, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
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