According to Murphie and Putts (2003), technology helps improve even economic activities, which are a key part of the human culture. For example, it has improved cultural activities like tourism via easier and faster means of transport such as aircraft and ships. In addition, technology has influenced prominent sports events such as Olympics and World Cup. Sports activities such as soccer have developed more in terms of infrastructure and even the fans because of construction of larger stadiums and mass media promotion respectively. Furthermore, use of modern drug testing methods and equipment helps curb cheating. This also helps fight drug abuse as a cultural ill in society.
Technology has become central in teaching and learning in today’s education system. Education has become a norm and a necessity for one to survive in these times. Technologies have enabled construction of better infrastructure and use systems that are more efficient in institutions. For instance, online finance system for payment of fees and online booking of rooms.
The relationship between technology and culture can be approached in different ways. Murphie and Putt (2003) consider how we live with technology, how we conceive it, and how it affects people’s day-to-day lives. Analyses of the relationship between technological changes and social and cultural transformations have been done, and different theories have come forth. Technological determinism is whereby technology is the main force of improvement of the society. Changes in technology are independent of the cultures of the society. According to this viewpoint, a new kind of society, with new cultures, can arise from good technological innovations. For example, the introduction of social networks such as facebook and twitter has led to the creation of a new kind of society with its own cultures. According to Mackay, Maples, and Reynolds (2001), technology determinism is whereby developments in technology are considered as the main enhancers of social change and transformation.
Cultural materialism, on the other hand, seeks to appreciate the role of social need and political intention as factors that determine improvements in technology. (Murphie and Putts, 2003).This approach, also called the social shaping of technology considers the changing society and all its aspects. Technology is merely a window of opportunity which society may or may not decide to take up. However, physical technology cannot be ignored as a constraining factor to growth of culture. Extreme forms of social and technological determinism should be rejected (Mackay, 1997).
Technological changes have led to the reorganization or redefinition of work with information work quickly rising above traditional industries like manufacturing. Online jobs are extremely common, and even large industrial companies have their own websites for faster growth. There has been a change through time from primary industries to secondary industries to service industries. Mackay (1997) calls this Bell’s post-industrial society. Physical strength does not count, but the availability of information or technological advantage is crucial.
Digital cameras have enabled people to be able to capture the ordinary and momentary episodes of their lives and share them with others. This has further led to the development of a fresh culture in the form of social networks such as facebook and twitter, where photos are attached to user accounts. Digital cameras have enabled the preservation of the culture of many a people. Images can be captured then archived, reproduced, or distributed via the internet (Stanco, Battiato, & Gallo, 2011). Similarly, digital cameras have made family ties stronger. Moments such as a normal family dinner are captured. A person does not have to hang around for the film to produce the photo and, therefore, the output can be seen immediately.
Tourism is majorly due to the interplay between technology and culture. Digital cameras have enabled the promotion of tourist destinations by making them look real and, therefore, a strong advertising force. According to Burns, Lester and Bibbings (2010), digital images help define and clearly show possible experiences obtainable from desired destinations. Tourists can take an unlimited number of pictures and share them with their fiends, potential tourists, on their blogs and facebook accounts.
The mobile phone is another technological invention that has largely affected the human culture. Mobile phones have been an accessory in promoting social networks since most of them are internet enabled (Goggin, 2009). They have also promoted day-to-day economic activities such as trading. This is because money transfer is now possible through mobile phones. Banks have consequently lost out as the main agent of money transfer as was culturally their role.
Governments have taken up technological innovations for a more open system of governance. Electronic ballots have helped alleviate the problem of massive election irregularities. Broadcasting of church services on televisions has substantially affected people’s culture as pertains to how often they actually frequent the church. This is because the television creates a virtual church, which is more convenient since a person does not attend church physically.
The use of the internet as the centre for marketing newly released songs has significantly affected how people dress and what values they uphold (Bell, 2006). Young people often dress to be in tandem with what is fashionable. This is often dictated by the music videos in YouTube.
Technology is, therefore, not merely the new machinery and gadgets that scientists, researchers, and IT wizards design. It is an integral part of the human society determining who people are and what they do. In view of technological determinism and cultural materialism, the production and consumption aspect of technology is understood. Technology is not an autonomous object, but an ever-changing practice with certain roles and influences every area society.
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