Slack and Wise ch 2-4

Chapter 2 goes into detail about convenience and its connection to technology. Technology makes things more convenient by saving time, conquering space, and creating comfort. Convenience becomes a problem when the value of convenience and a desire to achieve convenience come to dominate technological culture. We strive to overcome problems in the most convenient way, but the body has limits. Even though there are limits, we still try to overcome them, and once they are overcome, we create new limits. 

“If death is the ultimate limit of the body, the ultimate technology will be the one that overcomes death” (Slack and Wise, 2007). People have gone so far to try to beat death by cloning and freezing people. Will it be convenient to live forever even with the new technology? 

Chapter 3 discusses technological and cultural determinism. Technological determinism is where technology is the driving force for cultural changes. Cultural determinism is where culture shapes technology. Under the idea, cultural determinism, there are different effects, foreseen and unforeseen, side effects and revenge effects. Hobson’s choice is an unforeseen effect where someone is forced to make a decision in an undesirable position. 

Chapter 4 discusses control and how people can not control things they make, like technology. The author references Frankenstein as an example of how technology can sometimes have a mind of its own. People have been trying to control nature by objectifying it. For example, forests are seen to some people as resourceful goods that could make potential money, where some see the forest as a home to wildlife. Once humans control nature they can start controlling each other. Jeremy Bentham created a prison called the panopticon, which was designed as a semi-circle with the control operator in the center. Therefore, the inmates are surveillanced from the center and never know when they are being surveillanced. This is one of the best ways to control because the inmates never know when they are being watched. The sociologist, Max Weber, described further development in technology of social control with bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is broken down into rational organization of an institution and collection of information. 

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