Technology is the collective sum of human knowledge and skills, developed over centuries, which is currently or has been designed to some extent by humans. It is considered a living thing. Technological change results from humanity’s ingenuity, application of knowledge, and interaction with the universe through technology. Today, we have machines for everything from food preparation to our cars. But what if there were no machines, no food, and no cars? Would life still be possible, or would we still have to get by with the things we have?
The definition of technological objects was first defined by American philosopher define technology as “the improvement of a method of operation generally recognized as existing.” In his view, this improvement is not random but is “the accumulation of new and useful information.” The accumulated information may be in the form of new scientific knowledge collected over time or in the form of new practices, inventions, or discoveries. The gathered information and procedures can be viewed in many different ways by different people. For this article’s purposes, we will focus on the human ability to collect and put together helpful information and the overall impact of gathering and putting together such information on society as a whole.
Technological systems are constructed and put together to serve human needs. Such objects and practices are then passed on from one generation to the next, and the general public is not privy to any of the underlying plans or details. The lack of transparency surrounding such technological objects and practices leads to the increasing “digital divide.” The digital divide refers to the fact that much of the knowledge about, and behind, technological objects and practices are not understood by the average person, making the public less aware of and more likely to accept the existence and effects of such technical things and procedures than they were in previous generations.
Technological change and the associated changes and innovations do not generate more widespread awareness among the public as education and communication technologies have done in previous generations. The lack of communication and education about such trends contributes to the growing “digital divide.” A recent Pew Research Center study found a wide gender gap regarding the extent of Internet use at home. Besides, men are far more likely than women to own and use at least a computer and to have Internet access at home, a trend that continues to grow.
Another significant contributor to the increasing “digital divide” is the disparity between how specific segments of society use and spend their technological resources. Children, for example, are vastly more likely to spend their time online than their parents are. As a result, many children live without the skills and technology available to lead a technologically responsible life. Various studies have found that internet service providers are less likely to offer broadband internet services to some areas than to offer them to other parts of the country because of the digital divide.
Some technologists argue that technological objects help human beings understand their place in the world. E.g., computers help people organize their thoughts and communication to create meaning and value. However, techne critics argue that educating and communicating also produces such understanding and that technological objects do not guarantee that individuals will develop such understanding. Additionally, some techne critics say that because education and communication technology have become so ubiquitous, individuals have lost the ability to distinguish “old” and “new.”
On the other hand, proponents of technology use argue that people would lose access to knowledge produced and exchanged in a civilized society without it. Proponents say that a healthy economy will only function properly when there is access to high-quality jobs and a strong economy. Without the widespread use of net neutrality, companies could choose to load their content or websites with advertisements to consumers who desire their products and services without providing equal access to the same content and websites to those who do not wish to see them. For example, if a company loads its website with ads for pornography, it could be considered acceptable by some while offensive to others.
Opponents argue that there is already enough privacy invasion in the current marketplace. Moreover, they say that a “digital divide” has been growing and has reached a critical point where, without technological change, there will be little to no protection against harmful content. Furthermore, the internet’s increased speed has decreased the time that customers can connect. The result of the increased digital divide has been a slower overall rate of broadband adoption.