Introduction to the Internet (Internet & Society) Week 2 Spring 2011 G. F Khan, PhD
Group Project • Before starting the class lets talk about your group project team • Please Introduce your team • Name of the team • Members
Goals and Themes • Theoretical approaches to studying the interactions and relationships between 'technology' and 'society’. • How does society make technology? • How does technology impact society? • Technological determinism, • Science and Technology studies - Social Shaping of Technology • The ‘Socio-technical’ • Politics of technology • Roles of Users and Producers and Intermediariaries • Shaping the Internet: the Internet is not a fixed and finished product.
What is the Internet? Discuss • A Technology • Lots of technologies • Means of communication • A multi-cultural community • A huge Library/ Gallery • A parallel universe • An unlimited supply of free music • A market place • A business • An Infrastructure • A revolution in society, economy and politics • A new form of culture • A big party • An American tool of world domination
Technology and Innovation questions • What is technology? • Why is it created? • How is it created, how does innovation happen? • How does it change society and the economy? • Who controls it, and can it be controlled or managed? • How is it related to power? • Who benefits and can innovation be democratic?
What is technology? • “Technology can be most broadly defined as the entities, both material and immaterial, created by the application of mental and physical effort in order to achieve some value” • It includes technical methods, skills, processes, techniques, tools, and raw materials (Wikipedia, 2011)
What is Innovation? • Creating and successfully applying some thing ( product or process) new • From Idea to market • R&D Production Commercialization (Linear Model) • Innovation V.S Invention? • Invention is the first occurrence of an idea for a new product or process; while innovation is the first attempt to carry it out into practice. • Innovation is the actualization or realization of an invention inform of societal benefit, commercialization, or market entry
How are technologies or ‘artefacts’ (things), such as the Internet, created by society?
Technological determinism • A theory of Technology Push • Technology comes from inventors and science. • Invention and inventors ‘heros of technology’ • Technical Research and Development are the drivers of economic development • Linear Model: R->D->product->manufacture->usage • This approach argue that: Major social, cultural and economic change based on technological revolutions (e.g. printing, seed drill, steam engine, petrol engine, antibiotics, microprocessor, genetic engineering) Source: Martin, 1994
Technological determinism • Implications • Radical Technology is immutable and changes world • Social organisation based on technology • Technological fixes to social problems • We can conduct Impact Analysis of the effect of technology on society
Market and Policy determinism • “Demand Pull” e.g. see the previous figure • The free market stimulates entrepreneurs to innovate according to demand • Innovation • Technology • Use • Marketing • Organisation • Ignores radical invention and science • “Accidental” invention • Deliberate search for the Disruptive • Technology will follow policy • But cannot pull technology out of thin air • Path dependency - technology builds on past decisions
Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) approach • Technologies are “socially constructed”: things are changed to fit the meanings that different groups in society give them: • Meaning = goals, interests, preferred uses etc • This is possible since technologies have “Interpretative Flexibility” – many meanings • Relevant Social Groups shape technology • How do technologies become fixed into stable forms - “Closure” • Social, not technical issue.
‘Actor Network Theory’ ANT • Semiotic approach - based on meanings/concepts, but integrating the material. • Latour, Callon, Law etc • Technology and society not separate things • The material (nature, technology) and the social (human) can both act in similar ways e.g. exert power over others: Material and ‘human’ can be interchanged. – Think of examples • Heterogeneous Networks of human and non-human are created and hold together in ‘trials of strength’. • However even stable networks : coalitions of social organisation and technologies are ultimately fragile.
Social Shaping of Technology SST • SST is conceived as a 'broad church' encompassing a variety of scholars, with differing concerns and intellectual traditions, including For example: • Industrial sociology- Studies the direction and implications of trends in technological change, globalization, labourmarkets work organization, etc • Evolutionary economics- Evolutionary economics deals with the study of processes that transform economy for firms, institutions, industries, employment, production, trade and growth within, through the actions of diverse agents.. • Economic history- is the study of Economics and specified economies from a historical perspective • Sociology of science- is the study of science as a social activity, especially dealing "with the social conditions and effects of science, and with the social structures and processes of scientific activity
Social Shaping of Technology SST • Socio-technical: don’t separate analysis of the two. • Technology emerges from interactions of actors: it is negotiable • Dynamic v. static • Innovation is complex and can be chaotic and unstable • When and how does technology reach closure and become entrenched, standardised, commodified, and embedded in social structures? • Innovation can be constrained in techno-economic paradigms. These can be broken. • It can be irreversible. • We should not be afraid to open the ‘black box’ of technology
SST • Innovation is an on-going, interactive process involving multiple actors: • Much innovation occurs in its implementation and use in different social, economic and technical contexts. • Society shapes technology and technology shapes society: • Co-evolution of society and technology.
Conclusion • The Internet, like all technologies, is not something fixed ‘thing’ shapes society, the economy, culture in a way that can be predetermined. • The Internet is part of society, and changes with it. • It can ‘solidify’ power and relationships, or make new relationships and social structures possible.
Do exercise and writing on your own Facebook (or other social media) lives How do you present yourself? Similar to your real life? What is private? What does your network say about you?-too much posting? How many friends you have How many you know face-to-face or in real life? etc Next Class- Every student must talk for two minutes about
Next-Class • Information Society and network society • Ideas and Evidence for ‘New Age’ • Economic • Occupations • Societal • Cultural • Individual
References • Martin, Michael J.C. (1994). Managing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Technology-based Firms. Wiley-IEEE. p. 44. ISBN 0471572195. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology