The Social Implications of Technology


Technology is the application of knowledge for achieving practical goals in an organised way. It includes both tangible tools such as utensils and machines, and intangible ones such as software. It concerns itself with how people create and use the tools of their trade, and the broader social implications of those tools.

The development of technology involves an ongoing attempt to bring the world closer to how one wishes it to be. This necessarily prioritises certain paths over others, and implicitly endorses some ends as more desirable than others. For example, as digital cameras proliferated, many people switched to them, deprioritising analogue photography and the culture of inefficient, but gratifying, darkroom workflows.

Increasing productivity: Technology allows businesses to automate tasks, which helps with efficiency and increases production. For example, bakeries can use technology to control their temperature rooms, making it easier for them to serve customers and maintain their reputation for quality.

Greater innovation: The use of technology enables faster communication and collaboration between teams. This can lead to more innovative products and services, and better decisions made by organisations.

Displacement of jobs: The rapid growth of technology is threatening the existence of many traditional professions, and bringing about a ‘tidal wave of displacement’. Organisations should develop strategies to manage this, or risk being left behind. For example, a nonprofit called the Emma Coalition educates employers and policymakers about the impact of technology on jobs. For individuals, there are ways to gain qualifications in IT that can help with finding work in the sector.