Technology and Society: A Bridge to the 21st Century (2nd Edition)

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9780130924759: Technology and Society: A Bridge to the 21st Century (2nd Edition)

For undergraduate/graduate level courses in Technology and Society, Ethics and Technology, Sociological and Technological Issues, Technology in a Social World, Social Issues in Technology, Sociological, Cultural and Technological Concerns. This anthology of scholarly and popular articles explores the positive, negative, ethical, and unethical issues faced by society as technology changes the world that we live in--on a personal, national, and international level. Unique in its depth, breadth, and variety of opinions and writings, it examines specific examples from the past and present (and hypothesized ones for the future), showing the complexity that makes "solutions" not so simple. A variety of interactive activities encourages students to think critically, analytically, and creatively, and challenges them to develop new ideas and to map out solutions to today's technological and sociological problems.

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Over time, the term "technology" has taken on the meaning of such things as swapping the plow horse for the tractor, the typewriter for the computer, and physical labor for automation. Technology has had the perceived effect of making life easier, with more leisure and less labor. Is that perception correct, or is it an illusion? Are we working harder because technology has freed us to do other things? Has technology enslaved us by making us dependent upon it rather than upon our own common sense? These are tough questions with complicated answers that may never be satisfactorily resolved, and it seems that with every technological development there is some backlash about what has been lost while society celebrates the gains.

In this second edition of Technology and Society: A Bridge to the 21st Century, the authors address the many critical questions and issues associated with technology and its profound impact on the individual and society. The text maintains an objective and informative viewpoint throughout, while discussing highly controversial issues ranging from organ transplant and tissue engineering to earth preservation and warfare technology. In every case, readers will be both enlightened and challenged to draw their own conclusions and to reach decisions about actions that should betaken.

A free Instructor's Manual (ISBN 0-13-092476-8) is available to instructors.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ISSUES EXPLORED IN THE TEXT

One of the underlying issues explored in Technology and Society: A Bridge to the 21st Century is whether we are in charge of technology or whether technology controls us. At what point does technological dependency cause social problems? And to what extent are we, as caring social beings, concerned about technological impact? This text encourages readers to analyze and reflect on technology's impact on the global village economically, politically, and environmentally. The new century will usher in an urgent challenge to resolve the conflicts among our technological, environmental, and social worlds. The ability to understand the impact of technology on our lives and on succeeding generations will be essential to reaching the goals of survival, peaceful coexistence, ethical living, safety, and prosperity.

The chapters in this text are designed to stimulate, inspire, and provoke awareness of technology's impact on society. They are supported by a variety of features intended to supplement and complement learning, critical analysis, and social awareness.

FEATURES

  • Flowcharts: One of the unique features of the text is the use of flowcharts as logical, interactive maps that emphasize the problems, possible solutions, and points of direction and significance of the chapters and case studies. Many of the flowcharts have been class-tested and we have found that students like them because they appeal to their kinesthetic and problem-solving learning style. The visual process of flowcharting the information presented in the readings seems to increase insight and critical thinking skills.
  • Internet Exercises: The Internet exercises enable students to (a) become familiar with the knowledge dissemination mode of the ever-expanding Internet; and (b) incorporate the Internet's multimedia resources to enhance learning.
  • Useful Web Sites: Considering the vast scope and rate of change of technological growth, it is difficult to cover all facets of technology and related issues of its impact on society. Therefore, each part concludes with a list of Web sites for the reader to use to supplement and enhance the content.
  • Questions: Each article concludes with questions to integrate knowledge and synthesize understanding of social issues impacted by technology. The questions also create excitement and wonderment about the tenacity of technology and its impact on the quality of life.
  • Statistics: Boxes containing statistics, percentages, and bar graphs enhance many readings. They allow the reader to comprehend the magnitude of the social issue presented from a numerical format.

ORGANIZATION OF THE TEXT

Part I encourages students to clarify and sort out the many ways we look at and define technology. It confronts the need for ethical behavior in the use of technology. By r0ading this section, students will gain a greater understanding of the personal and social responsibility that accompanies technological development and implementation. Readers are asked to consider the mismatch between people and this newly created world of technology. This part presents ethical theory and frameworks for ethical decision-making, which are understood more easily through the cases of Roger Boisjoyly and Whistle-Blowing.

Part II offers a brief look at the history of technology and its involvement in human development. It provides an extensive timeline, highlighting technology from the most primitive to the most sophisticated forms. It also features a glimpse of humanity at a time when technology and the skills to use it were few and far between. There's also a whimsical look at what new devices would have done to our ancestors if they had what we have and knew what we know.

Part III investigates the impact of technology on energy development and conservation. This section provides a survey of renewable and nonrenewable energy technologies and discusses the issues and challenges of economic growth within the domains of a sustainable environment.

Part IV presents a variety of ecological issues and challenges to help the reader understand how technological developments correlate to a healthy environment. The part begins with an overview of the major ecological risks for the 21st century, followed by three articles that provide a global view of the consequences of increased and intense resource use. Tables and graphs promote empirical understanding. Specific case studies address more specialized and local issues of the environment. We hope that the reader will understand the urgency and sensitivity of environmental decisions in the new century.

Part V offers a series of articles and case studies on the topic of population growth. This section gives the reader an understanding of the global exponential population growth that is facing the world and its associated problems, with some suggested strategies for improving this dilemma. Special problems of Third-World countries are included in this discussion.

Part VI, "Health and Technology," is a far-reaching survey of some of the greatest accomplishments of modern medicine and its greatest ethical concerns. A medical timeline illustrates the rapid growth of medical technology. It is followed by articles that persuade the reader to reconsider the use of some medical technologies; question the overuse of antibiotics; evaluate the use of animals for organ transplants (xenotransplants); and ponder physician-assisted suicide.

Part VII explores the state and impact of technology in developing countries and provides an insight into the intrinsic and extrinsic problems and their potential solutions.

Part VIII presents a time-and-space approach, enabling the reader to reflect on the issues presented in previous parts and to project their development and applications to the future. The purpose of this approach is to refocus and converge the thoughts across the "bridge of now" so that they guide us to the "bridge to the 21st century."

Part VIII begins by crossing over the bridge into the 21st century and envisioning a preferred future. Specific case studies of new technological applications that will affect our lives in health, medicine, and the military—as well as future predictions—guide this chapter. "Bridges to Your 21st Century Understanding" highlight special progress on topics mentioned above.

The book concludes with authors' commentaries presenting our own interpretation as we walk across the bridge to the 21st century.

The eight parts are organized in a pattern that encourages a developmental understanding of technology and its impact on energy use, population, ecology, social responsibility, medicine, Third-World countries, and the future. A psychologist, an anthropologist, an engineer, and a historian worked long and hard to make the book interesting. This diversity has added depth, scope, and encompassing views that we hope will play a positive and decisive role in the decisions you make regarding the use of technology in the future.

We hope that readers will better understand the complex relationship between technology and society, as well as the reasons that technological development sometimes causes society to worry and wonder about its impact—and that they will marvel, at the same time, at its potential for doing good.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We gratefully acknowledge the valuable input of the following reviewers: Julian Thomas Euell, Ithaca College; Raymond A. Eve, University of Texas at Arlington; Samuel A. Guccione, Eastern Illinois University; and Gerald Harris, DeVry, Chicago. In addition, special thanks are extended to Charles Stewart for his support.

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