The Relationship Between Science and Technology: An Introduction
Science and Technology Studies is an emerging discipline that seeks to understand the interrelations of science and technology. Up until now there’s been little cross-regional interaction, perhaps reflecting the lack of cohesive interdependence in this sector. More recently, however, more policy-makers, business leaders and academics have started talking more about a more interdependent approach. A closer examination of the society shows that, in many cases, people are increasingly turning towards science and technology for answers to tough questions. This new attitude is largely a product of our globalized economy. Technological advances are constantly challenging traditional institutions of knowledge and belief systems, leading to increasing skepticism about the validity of certain scientific theories.
The main challenge faced by contemporary society is how to deal with the gradual replacement of scientific knowledge by more vague generalizations about how things work. How to counter the impact of changing technologies on society? Is it possible to build a firewall to deflect the disruptive forces of change? These are some of the questions that arise from a more complex perspective that goes beyond technology, forcing us to reexamine our assumptions about knowledge and the process of information transmission.
The knowledge problem is closely related to the problem of knowledge creation. Without a properly developed critical education system, we face a major obstacle to achieving goals and countering threats. At present, too many students come away from college with a limited grasp of how science and technology actually work. They tend to see science and technology as isolated from socio-cultural issues and as a technocratic phenomenon with no connections to everyday life. As a result, they tend to distance themselves from the challenges that face our world. They become receptive to political rhetoric, economic signals and religious convictions that serve to legitimize powerful interests while ignoring the real drivers of social change.
The problem is made worse by the fact that most students in higher education are ill equipped to engage with new technologies. Most colleges and universities offer little more than a standard curriculum that has developed over the past century. The subject matter is still dominated by the discipline of science and technology. In addition, many colleges and universities still require students to develop technical savvy through training and certification. For these students, technology has often served as a diversion from or an adjunct to their studies.
The resulting problem, according to research conducted by ethicists David Brinkley and Barrychard, is that when people come to work with new technologies, they tend to think of the technology as a source of novelty and challenge, as opposed to its role as a means of understanding, control and coordination. As a result, they become less attentive to the social aspects of technology and, because of this, are unable to apply the knowledge and insights gathered from a more traditional scientific enterprise. As a consequence, they do not become engaged with the problem of knowledge creation.
The solution, according to Brinkley and Barrychard, is to move the problem of knowledge creation back into the realm of the social. Social science has long tended to focus on the problem of creating knowledge as the product of particular cultural and historical legacies. By contrast, Brinkley and Barrychard argue, science should move the problem of knowledge creation back to the cultural and social contexts in which it actually takes root. By doing so, they argue, it will be able to better deal with the problem of knowledge since knowledge and its creation have multiple causes and origins in the social world.
One way to move the problem back to the social is to acknowledge the fact that knowledge creation is influenced by culture. By taking the social factors into consideration, it will become easier for people to understand the relationship between science and technology. For instance, Brinkley and Barrychard point out that scientists have been challenged by the impact of science on society. For example, the increased use of technology in the automobile industry has increased pollution. By analyzing the relationship between science and technology, a clearer perspective on the role technology plays in society can be developed.
Understanding the relationship between science and technology is key for developing effective strategies for educating the public about science and technology. In addition to providing information about science and technology, these texts can also provide interesting and critical insights into the relationship between science and technology. Moreover, by considering the social impact of science and technology, students will be able to understand why certain technologies are chosen over others, how science and technology have affected society, and what lessons we can draw from the science and technology enterprise to enhance our civilization.