Theory and Practice in the Study of Technological Systems Essay

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1. Why does Cowan believe it is important to examine technologies in the context of technological systems? What advantages does this broader perspective give to planners? Give a specific current technological example (not in reading) in support of your answer.

Cowan believes it is important to examine technologies in the context of technological systems because current technologies rely on the interdependencies of many technologies other than nature or the technology alone. Individual technologies are now dependent on other forms of technology as well as the individuals that design, create and operate the technologies, to operate and perform a specific function(s). According to Cowan, technological systems “complex networks that are, at
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32), therefore printing was not a priority. In the West, specifically Europe, the demand for books, papers, government records and documents ensured the success of the printing press, and scribes were unable to keep up with the demand. In the Middle East, Muslim countries were opposed to the idea of printing, specifically the Koran (p. 33).

Today we can see different approaches with today’s current information technologies, such as the Internet. In the West, technology is available to everyone and is not fully controlled by the government. On the Internet, we can freely (for the most part) write about anything we want and give every side to a story. In the East and Middle East, this luxury is almost non-existent. In China, the government controls the Internet and people can serve jail sentences for violating laws regarding the Internet. In the Middle East we can see other forms of technology control in the form of censorship of social media and the increase of terrorists communication and how anti-terrorist sentiment is dealt with. There is also dissemination in the Middle East. Although there is censorship in the West, it does not compare to the control the East and Middle East have and the severe consequences for trying to circumvent government control.

3. Do you agree with the assertion that we are now living in a third-great technological transformation – the
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