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Category: 01. 9/5 What is STS? (Page 1 of 2)

STS of the Past, Present, & Future

Science and technology are, and will continue to be, an ever changing field of study that define the very principles we construct our daily lives on. It is possible to wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, and clean your mouth with toothpaste because of the chemical combinations and experiments conducted in science. Furthermore, we can get up in the middle of the night, and not have to wother about making it to the bathroom because technology enables us to turn lights on and off. It is possible that we are constricted to the limitations that science and technology place on our lives. Something is always thought to be impossible until a new scientific theory or technological invention is created that says otherwise. Going to the moon was never thought to be possible until science and technology combined to refute that statement. Henceforth, the importance of science and technology can be recognized in your daily actions and, the potential of science has far too many benefits than it does problems.

Everything we do as a society is built upon and carried out by advances made scientifically or technologically. Miguel de Unamuno once said that “Science is a cemetery of dead ideas”; I found this quote to be extremely captivating. What Miguel is saying is that science is an ever lasting element of society that grows the same way in which he do. Scientific theories exists for years, and people live their life based upon these ideals, until one day, someone discovers a new theory. Scientific ideas come and go; it is a study where we fail so many times trying to create or discover something new. Ideas come and go, and die in the field of science everyday, yet there is nothing abnormal about that. Science is so amazing because although problems exist and new theories are nearly impossible to uncover, the potential behind what is yet to be discovered can have an impact on people’s lives in a far greater light than anything else. Science may prove to be a graveyard for many theories or potential inventions, yet the ones that survive and carry on shape the daily lifestyle of the millions of people that inhabit this world.

What is STS?

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3. ~Alice Kahn

Technology is such a weird thing. Over the past decade, the progression of technology can be seen as mans greatest gift while also posing a threat to man kind. With every new update, new tablet, new phone and new software we become more and more connected with the idea of technology. We have become so engaged with what is in front of us that everything else seems so small. Continue reading

Technology: A Double Edged Sword

Technology has undoubtedly advanced society on a broad scale. The creation of the internet has connected the world in a way that was impossible before and technological advancements in medicine have saved millions of lives. Given the magnitude of these enhancements, it is easy to overlook the negative impacts technology can have on our lives. Nevertheless, there are many problems created by technology that need to be acknowledged.  Continue reading

What is STS?

Technology’s influence on society cannot be underestimated. From movies to classrooms, technology is always present and always changing our perceptions of communication. Our generation grew up with technology in our everyday life. Looking at the younger generation, it seems as though technology is even more central to their life. Video game leagues are more popular than ever, and it is hard pressed to find too many young children that are not already exposed to technology. This brings light questions on where the balance between technology and society is going forward. A clear issue between the balance of human interaction and technological is imminent.

C.P. Snow once said, “Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.” This quote describes the conflict that technology brings to society. On the one hand, it creates many advantages to make everyone’s life more efficient and more manageable. We can gain knowledge at the click of a google search or the ability to know what is going on across the world with one tweet.  Technology has connected the world together. For instance, there are 2.2 billion people on Facebook today all across the globe.

Yet, while we are closer to people across the world, we are not present in the world today. A lot of human interaction has been replaced by technology in the workplace, school, and social settings. Growing up in a time where it is easier to send a text or email can alter how we view interaction. As we become more and more reliant on technology, we are losing aspects that drive human connection. We are continually missing the need to talk face to face. As we become more reliant on technology, we must find that balance that keeps us, humans. Finding that balance between Science, Technology, and Society is a scary truth we must discover.

 

Past, Present, and Future of Communication Tools

After interning as a Software Engineer, it has become  imperative to reflect on intended and unintended side effects of the software industry. From using a popular cloud-based communication platform to an email service for work, the effects of software can be intentional, but also unpredictable.

Slack is a cloud-based platform for communication and collaboration within organizations and has been adopted by many technology companies. As an avid user, I find Slack pleasant, easy to use, and very reliable in terms of performance to communicate with members of my company. However, many users of Slack may not know that the idea for the platform resulted from developing a games application (Glitch). The founder of Slack, Stewart Butterfield realized how problematic it was to communicate within the organization and decided there was an opportunity to develop a solution. Thus, while trying to develop one product (games application), Butterfield realized there was a greater need for another product and pivoted.

“This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man – if man is not enslaved by it.”  —Jonas Salk

Slack’s founding story—trying to develop an application for one purpose and then stumbling upon another more pressing problem to solve—is not uncommon. This is how many of the modern technological companies were found, which alludes to Jonas Salk’s quote above. He starts out with a positive tone, insisting our time now in history is “pregnant” and abundant with new innovative technologies. This is accurate because our current technological ecosystem provide an array of communication tools like Slack, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, etc to chose from. Salk, however ends the quote insidiously by suggesting although technology has simplified our day-to-day lives, it has in some ways enslaved us. This negative effect of technology is also accurate as workers are enticed to work additional hours. Tools like Gmail or Slack can be frequently checked for new emails or messages from work.

The ability to reach any employee at any second of the day is a powerful tool for companies. Any problem that arises can be directly communicated to the person and ideally taken care of at that moment. Obviously, this can become exhausting for employees. A 2008 Pew Internet & American Life Project report found that 50% of U.S. employees who use e-mail on the job check their work e-mail on weekends and 34% also so do while on vacation. A multitude of companies have been sued for this matter, expecting employees to reply to emails, like T-Mobile and Version.

While an abundance of tools have emerged with the intent of providing a simple and reliable communication platform, their long-term effects have plagued workers. Slack emerged from developing a games application and realizing the greater need for easy communication. However, companies that adopt Slack and other similar communication platforms may expect their employees to be responsive 24/7. The rise of communication platforms is two fold: accessible and easy communication channels, but also overworked, burned-out, and dissatisfied employees.

Sources: 

https://www.fastcompany.com/3026418/this-story-about-slacks-founder-says-everything-you-need-to-know-about-him

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/overtime-pay-mails-lawsuits-continue/story?id=8366893

Chasing Your Shadow

Science, in the very act of solving problems, creates more of them. ~Abraham Flexner, Universities, 1930

 

The above quote offers the idea that each scientific breakthrough humanity makes, further complicates our understanding of science. This phenomenon, while seemingly contradictory, is very true. Each time a new discovery is made, numerous questions arise from it. Continue reading

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