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Technology Possess Inherently Political Values

One theory of technology puts forth the idea that technical things, or artifacts, have value-laden qualities. Furthermore, some of these value-laden qualities may include political values. As a consequence, any sharing of that artifact between different people would entail a sharing, and perhaps a spreading, of those same political values. But what does this mean?

Put another way: oftentimes, introducing new technologies into different cultures require their people to adapt or change their lifestyles, including the sphere of life we might call the political (that is, how and where they work, how they build cities and infrastructure, how they form organizations and institutions, and select leaders, etc.).

For this assignment, consider whether or not some technology (of your choice) possess inherently political values. Do research on how that technology has influenced the political behavior of another country’s people outside of the US and Canada, regardless of where that technology was first designed and developed.

Required Reading/Citation: Langdon Winner, Do Artifacts Have Politics?

In your write up, be sure to:

1. Describe the relevant factual details of the case you will be discussing (i.e., the technology, where it was first developed, how people are using it in another country, etc.).

2. Take a position on whether or not the technology possesses inherently political qualities. Explain.

3. Take a position on whether or not it was ethical to introduce the technology into the country you chose.

4. Give an argument for how you reached your conclusions and defend your position appealing to the theories of technology discussed in class and readings.

Exceptions

Please do not use GMOs, Uber/Lyft (rideshare services), AirBNB, nuclear power or nuclear weapons, or any form of timekeeping devices as examples in your paper. Furthermore, please restrict your choice of example to the history of the 19th-21st centuries.

 

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