Technology and Social Change from Sociological Perspectives

Introduction

Technology

This refers to all aspects (machines, skills and knowledge) that are used by people to make life easier and better. This means that technology refers to material and non-material aspects that make human life to continue despite the challenges that people face in the society (Jordan, 2014).

Social change

It refers to the transformations that shape the behavior, traditions and beliefs of individuals in a given community. These changes are identified in the trends, preferences and availability and affordability of issues that make life better. Social change takes place in phases and is identified by observing the behavior of different generations.

Relationships

The relationship between technology and social change is that these aspects are interrelated and rely on each other. Technological advancement transforms the social lives of individuals (Sussman, 2014). The introduction of computers, mobile phones and the internet has made life easier. People no longer need to travel to distant places to keep in touch with their friends and relatives.

Impacts of Technology on Society

Communication

The introduction of personal computers, cellular phones and the internet simplified communication in the society (Shanley, & Asch, 2014). Today, businesses do not have to rely on traditional forms of communication to advertise their goods or services. Traditional forms of communication like letters and telegrams have become obsolete except in rare cases where organizations have to keep the hard copies of transactions. Human interactions have become easier and more frequent because people communicate easily regardless of their locations.

Saves time, money and energy

The use of modern technology makes all work easier because of its efficiency, speed and precision. People who plough using tractors can do more work than those who use their hands or hand ploughs (Sussman, 2014). A type writer does less work than a computer or printer because of the improved speed and precision of the latter. Modern technology makes work easier and reduces the need for human labor because most machines multitask.

Improvement of the quality of life

The quality of human life has improved since the introduction and use of modern technology. Health specialists use modern technology to diagnose and treat diseases. Cases that require urgent attention are addressed easily through the use of airplanes that are quick and can access most regions.

Laziness

Modern technological devices like mobile phones, the internet and computers have made people lazy and affected the quality of their relationships. Most students prefer indoor games to field activities and this means that they spend most of their free time watching television programs or playing computer games. They no longer visit their relatives or friends but instead keep in touch with them through social networks and mobile phones.

Sociological Perspectives

Equilibrium model

This model evaluates the tendency of the society to fall back to its previous phase when there is a slight disturbance of its normal practices. Social anthropologists believe that evolution of policy and conflict is necessary to bring change in the society. However, these changes may fail to produce the excepted outcomes and that is why societies struggle to go back to their previous practices. This approach cannot be used to study social change and modern technology.

People transform their technologies to fit in the new ways of life (Shanley, & Asch, 2014). They do not go back to traditional practices because they are slow, ineffective and unreliable. Talcott Parsons believed that a society can determine its equilibrium and accept changes that do not affect this balance. However, it will reject all issues that interfere with the equilibrium of key elements that dictate its activities. Changes in technology affect the social lives of individuals and it is difficult to maintain the former without affecting the equilibrium of the society.

Digital divide

This refers to the gap between the old and new generations. The new generation has access to computers and other modern technological devices while the old one does not have. Digital divide is described based on the level of development in a region. Most people, especially those living in the rural areas in developing nations do not have access to modern technology (Jordan, 2014). Digital divide determines the society’s pace of social change. Societies that have young people are likely to change compared to those with old ones. Urban centers are more likely to experience social change because of using modern technology in almost all aspects of life.

Cultural lag

Sociologists believe that societies take longer to evolve and catch up with technological innovations. They believe that societies experience social conflicts and problems because people do not adjust their lifestyles to match with the innovations of the day (Sussman, 2014). Parents may disagree with children who want to spend their time indoors playing computer games. Teenagers think that it is fashionable to have an expensive stylish mobile phone and tablet.

Recent Emerging Form of Technology (Cell phones)

Benefits

Cell phones are the latest technological devises that have revolutionized how people communicate and do other activities. They use these devices to make calls and send messages. These aspects make life easier because people do not need to travel to see their friends or relatives. These devises are used to share pictures, songs and videos and this adds excitement in life (Shanley, & Asch, 2014). Some mobile phone service providers have introduced money transfer services that do not involve visiting banks and enduring the inconveniences associated with banking halls. Medical practitioners use these devices to make follow ups and ensure diseases are managed properly.

Consequences

Mobile phones contribute the highest percentage of electronic dumping and this threatens the health of the environment (Jordan, 2014). Cyber crimes are promoted through mobile phones and cases of kidnapping involve these devices. Moreover, children misuse mobile phones by sharing adult contents and wasting study time playing games, listening to music or watching videos.

Conclusion

Social change and technology are inseparable because each of these elements affects the behavior of the other. The society adjusts to avoid modern technology from having significant impacts on the culture and practices of the people. Digital divide and cultural lag are common issues that determine the success of using a technology to improve human life. Modern technological devices have advantages and disadvantages; therefore, people should be careful not to risk their lives when embracing modern technology.

References

Jordan, B. (2014). Technology and social interaction: Notes on the achievement of authoritative knowledge in complex settings. Talent Development & Excellence, 6(1), 95-132.

Shanley, M. L., & Asch, A. (2014). Involuntary childlessness, reproductive technology, and social justice: the medical mask on social illness. Signs, 40(1).

Sussman, G. (2014). Digital India: Understanding Information, Communication and Social Change. Journal of South Asian Studies, 37(2), 362-364.