Culture and Technology
Technology – it’s something we use every day to communicate with family and friends, keep up with work projects and more. It’s also an integral part of most businesses and helps us stay competitive, create new products and services and meet customers needs on time and on budget.
Ultimately, though, technology is not neutral: it implicitly endorses certain routes and ends above others. For example, when digital cameras emerged, many people shifted to them, deprioritizing the analog photography pathway and its associated behaviors (analog film, darkrooms) in favor of the more efficient, gratifying, and democratizing route offered by digital cameras. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to understand that any technology has this power of prioritization.
In addition to promoting particular routes and ends, technological development has the capacity to distort or even displace culture itself. This is because technology, like language, ritual, values, commerce, art, and religion, is an intrinsic part of a system of social activity. Technology shapes and reflects cultural systems, while at the same time providing its own interpretive framework and facilitating cultural change. Ultimately, scholars must free themselves from the narrow instrumental conception of technology and learn to see it as a complex process that must be guided by a moral compass. The article explores this idea and examines what it means to be human in a world where technology is constantly reshaping our lives and making some of our old habits obsolete.