Technology progress – curse or blessing?

Technology sometimes evolves so quickly that it seems we have no control over its development. Their progress does not follow a technical but above all a social logic. What seems safe today may already be obsolete tomorrow.

New technology is constantly penetrating everyday lives: While inventions such as the railroad, the car, and even the telephone took decades to establish themselves across the board and to become a natural part of work and private life, the computer and the Internet made it to a large extent shorter time. Technical change is accelerating and with it the social change it has triggered.

Technical constraint?

Modern societies seem to be driven by technical innovations: You can hardly avoid them, but experience them as a kind of practical constraint that dominates you and dictates how you should use them. And companies such as Forex broker are literally forced to keep up with the enormous pace of the technological arms race, which is constantly generating innovative products.

The social construction of technology

A good example of this social logic is the history of the electric car: at the beginning of the 20th century, the electric motor was the most common form of drive until it was ousted by the internal combustion engine. Technically speaking, a lot spoke in favor of the electric motor. There were sufficient technical expertise and industrial know-how in the emerging electronics industry. In spite of this, an alliance of different interest groups finally pushed through the internal combustion engine. In addition to the wealthy townspeople who used the car for pleasure tours, farmers and country doctors, in particular, benefited from the mobile power source.

Technology assessment – a look into the future

The sociology of technology focuses on the social processes of technology construction and thus contributes to a deeper understanding of the interaction between technology and society. It also shows design options. It makes sense to think intensively about the possible social consequences of technology in the early stages of technical innovations. This is where the technology assessment comes in: It develops future scenarios – with the participation of experts and laypersons – and tries to anticipate possible opportunities and risks of new technology.