COURSE TITTLE: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
UNIT CODE: CCS 007
NAME: PATRICK WANJALA WEKESA
REG NO: C01M3/31415/2015
DATE: MARCH 2018
INSTUCTOR: PROFESSOR KARORI MBUGUA
TASK: CORSE WORK/ TERM PAPER
UNIVERSITY: UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI COLLAGE OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
MODE: MODULE 111
DATE OF PRESENTATION: MARCH 2018
1. Write an essay on;
“Science and technology have done more harm than good. Critically discuss.
Science is defined as a systematic way of acquiring knowledge on a particular field of study. Science is essential to us as it helps in gaining knowledge, through an organized system of observation and experimentation.
Furthermore, technology can be defined as the products, tools and processes used to accomplish tasks in daily life. Technology can also mean the application of science to solve a problem. Technology encompasses of the application of engineering and applied sciences to solve human challenges of human lives.
It is worth noting that technology involves human knowledge that is used to create products and artifacts with the help of innovative tools, systems and materials. Technology applies in different foeld namely; communication, manufacturing, securing data and transport.
Kuhn (1977) suggests of a radically different way of thinking about scientific methodology and how scientific grows. According to him, science does not progress via a linear accumulation of knowledge. He further urges that science undergoes intermittent changes, in which the nature of scientific inquiry within a given field is abruptly transformed. According to Kuhn, scientific knowledge grows in the following way.
Prescience Normal science Crisis Revolution
It should be noted that science directly impacts the society and its understanding of the world. Scholars urge that no particular end to scientific discoveries and the field is constantly evolving depending on the latest findings. It is well established that the basis of science is that it’s not influenced by moral or religious considerations. Research of all kinds is based on facts and results from carefully crafted studies.
Kuhn postulates that science evolves and is applied in all aspects of everyday life ranging from transportation to even the increase in genetically modified foods, affecting everything that people eat as well as the ecosystem. Technology has greatly impacted the field of medicine and introduced new materials like plastics, which are widely used in hundreds of applications.
It is well known that advancements in science and technology have brought myriad benefits to the society thus impacting it. For example evolvements in medicine research have made doctors to come up with cures for deadly diseases. For instance, in the 18th century, doctors made milestone when they come up with treatment for small pox (Byrum 59). This invention of treatment for small pox helped to save many people who could have died.
The invention of computers has also brought about change in terms of improved living standards by simplifying many tasks in the society. Currently people can access financial and other multiple services at the comfort of their homes. For instance online flight booking, Mobile banking services and working online are some of the benefits brought by computers.
The impact of science and technology on humankind has been transformative on many levels. In particular, the birth of the Internet and its use by society has changed the way people communicate, learn and understand the world. Alongside the consumer aspect of technology, the advances in science and technology have also made great changes in the medical fields.
It’s worthwhile to note that while most advancement is seen in a positive light, there have been negative consequences to science and technology on society. For instance there are new types of technological crimes that were not possible before, and some argue that it homogenizes communities and cultures. Also, people are developing a dependence on technology and devices, which have been likened to heroin-like addictive behaviours. Below are some of harm of science and technology;
a) Loss of individuals privacy
With the introduction of technology, it also opened doors for public scrutiny. For instance, introduction of Samsum’s range of new smart televisions may be recording user’s private conversations though this is just that our home appliances may be spying on us is becoming less a paranoia and more real concern.
The question that comes in our mind is will we rush to embrace the digital era or do we say goodbye to privacy forever? It seems these worries will continue to the further or people embrace technology and leave out worries on their privacy. Though these worries are good and people try to think whether it is the government is the one spying on every aspect of their lives or just monitoring and recording by the governments who want to know what people are up to, conglomerates investing their spending habits, or even banks making sure we aren’t living above their means.
b) Application of technology at workplace hence fostering permanent connection
In the current society each and every organization tries to survive technologically by digitalizing its operations. This is new as compared to older days when standard working hours consisted of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. It should also be noted that work was forgot until the next morning or after the weekend. This is not the case in the present society we live in today; currently people are connected and use machines to work. People carry laptops to their homes and work while at home. Today is very difficult to differentiate working hours and family time because with the connection of the technology staffs work all through. This means that as the society as a whole becomes even connected it’s obvious that work intrudes into homes and family lives hence there is no time for the family.
With the connection at place of work it means that staffs are monitored while at work and even in their homes. The companies therefore rule every aspect of the employees by knowing where they are and what they are doing at any given time. There is also the potential workaholic lifestyle that will follow human creativity. Even today most Kenyans spend most of their time working to earn extra money and there is possibility that this will continue in future leading to a multitude of health and social problems for example burnouts and stress associated to overworking.
c) All data have become digital
In the past data was stored in physical files in stores however in today’s society is not a secret that digital is the talk of the day. In the past the popular method of recording information was on paper and printed photographs however due to digital approach this is becoming less popular and people have embraced the digital approach.
It should be noted that there is danger of all the hard drives being wiped this to mean that it can be easier to delete some digital data that destroy the physical version. This comes in handy with the risk of increasing advanced technology becoming incompatible with today’s hardware. This may further be introduced to schools where children will be taught to type instead of writing. Will this then replace pencils and pens completely?
d) Total working style i.e. machine based workforce
Improvement in technology always poses the risk of introducing machines at work place that perform jobs of human beings. For instance, manufacturing companies use technology to perform jobs that are intended for human.
With new developments in the field of robotics being made every now and then, it has been estimated nearly half of all US jobs will be vulnerable to computerization within the next 20 years and Kenya will not be spared.
In the past employment areas which were once considered ‘human only’ are now being taken over by the machines. About third years ago a self-checkout was taught impossible, now there are almost half a million worldwide, enabling one member of staff to run to six checkouts lanes at a time.
e) Decline in human interaction
Though it is celebrated with the introduction of social media however it worth noting that advent of social media made society anything but social. Work, market, purchase and other sorts of human interaction have gone social. The questions that lingers in our minds would be; would you prefer to purchase something online or using a machine rather than talk to a fellow human being? The second question would be is texting always better that speaking over the phone? This is explaining why technology is accused of killing the art of human interaction, it is true.
The question to ponder about is non technological social interaction, it can result in some unforeseen problems. There are high chances of biological effects that may arise from lack of human interactions.
f) The over-reliance on technology
Even though technology unquestionably has the capability to progress us as humans, however becoming over-reliant on it may actually reduce our intelligence. For instance, today drivers blindly following GPS instructions into rivers and ditches, people who cannot spell without the use of a word processor, and those who cannot perform simple math problems without the use of a calculator.
Eventually the human race may lose the skills it has gained over the years; with almost every aspect of our lives totally reliant on technology. The problem will come if that technology ever fails, or turns against us.
g) The increase in technology-related illnesses
There have been few issues as controversial as the link between human illness – specifically cancer – and modern technology. While the overwhelming amount of evidence suggests that the use of cell phones and wi-fi does not increase the risk of cancer, there have been some studies suggesting the opposite is true.
While the future versions of wi-fi and cellphones may only pose a minimal threat to user’s health, it is the environmental dangers which may prove the biggest risk to humans: the technotrash which is produced from constantly renewing our gadgets, the using up of natural resources as demand increases and prices drop, the pollution that comes from the manufacture and use of these items. Unless more effort is put into developing ‘green’ tech, this could become a large, if initially unseen, danger in the future.
h) The Singularity
The singularity is the term used to describe the hypothesised moment when technology becomes so advanced it radically changes civilization as we know it. This could be from an artificial intelligence reaching a level of super intelligence we cannot imagine, human biology and technology becoming so intertwined that we become almost part machine, or even if we achieve the ability to upload our consciousness so that we essentially live forever.
The danger of the singularity comes from the risk that we may stop being human altogether. Could there come a point in the far-flung future where technology really does advance to such a point that we cannot imagine the consequences? Or is it just something in the fevered dreams of technophobes?
i) Manufacture war weapons that lead to mass killing
Scientists have used the advancements of science and technology to manufacture military weapons. Some of the chemical weapons used during wars have caused many innocent people to lose their lives (Vonnegut 64).
Science and technology have brought negative effects to the society since harmful weapons were produced during World War and World War II. They are also used in human experimentation, and harmful effects were caused due to the use of computers.
Military scientists have utilized advancements in science and technology to make war equipment. During the World War I, scientists who had the most advanced war equipment were politically stronger compared to their enemies. Machine guns were introduced during the World War I. They had the ability of killing very many people in a battlefield. United States was among the first countries to use machine guns in battle. These guns were driven by gas and they had the ability of firing hundreds of rounds per minute. In addition, military scientists were able to make airplanes that could be used in battle. Examples of these aircrafts included bombers, long-range bombers, and fighters (Ross 61).
j) The gray goo scenario
Professor Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Clive Sinclair, many top minds are now warning of the future dangers which uncontrolled advances in AI could bring.
Part of the reason people don’t take the threat from AI seriously is the number of times it has been showcased in fiction. Movies such as Terminator have made this threat appear as worrisome as aliens invading.
Yet every year huge advancements in the field are made, and without careful controls in place, the chance of creating a super intelligent AI will increase as time progresses. If this happens, not only may it consider humans a lower form of life and therefore expendable, but it may even create more AI’s, making the human race obsolete.
More and more, smart devices, appliances and homes are replacing the traditional, non-technological counterparts. There is a move towards advancing Smart Cities, which are believed to be the way of the future. One of the most talked about topic surrounding science and technology is the subject of artificial intelligence (AI). The world of AI and robotics is exploding while people are still considering its implications and ethical considerations. With the introduction of robotic police and increasingly intensified surveillance procedures, some people question the direction of science and technology, and whether it is good or bad for the future of humanity.
1. Kuhn, T, The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change, Chicago; University of Chicago Press, 1977.
2. McClellan, James E and Dorn, Harold. Science and Technology in World History: An Introduction. Maryland: JHU Press. 2006. Print.
3. Orwell, George. 1984. Boston. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1983. Print.
4. Ross, Stewart. The Technology of World War I. Minnesota: Heinemann/Raintree, 2003. Print
5. Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1891. Print.
6. Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle. New York: RosettaBooks, 1963. Print.