There’s a vast difference between the current society and the one before the mid-1990s, let alone after major events in the 20th century. What’s more, the commercialization of computers and smart devices, the founding of the Internet, and other new technology inventions have sped up the effects of technology on society. Breakthroughs are announced or introduced daily when it previously took months or years – we’ll remind you of the impacts it had on COVID-19. So, it’s obvious the two are linked, but how? Let’s examine how technology brings social change in-depth.
One of the most apparent social changes is a shift from agriculture and village-based living to factory manufacturing and convergence in cities. Besides a shift in employment, these 2 things also aided the process:
We feel the adverse effects of the invention of electricity and its subsequent widespread implementation from 1870 to 1930 to this day. At the time, society could suddenly use electric lighting to illuminate homes and keep businesses open past nightfall. It also reduced the number of fire-related accidents from candles, torches, or lanterns. Most importantly, it facilitated countless inventions with favorable effects on society.
We already explored transportation technology and concluded that the ability to convert mechanical energy into electric energy changed how and where we live. We could travel personally or send goods at longer distances, overland, sea, land, or underground. As a society, we also began shaping the Earth for our needs including altering, expanding, or building cities. Combined with electricity, it’s what all allowed for conception, then the daily operation of megacities, with populations of between 10 million and 40 million people, one of the pros of globalization.
Many indicators technology brings social change are connected to population:
Modernization refers to the process of adopting modern values and ways of living, and modern technology is, clearly, the primary benefactor. This includes adaptation to current needs, conditions, trends, styles, methods, or morality definitions, whatever they may be. Some particular examples include dressing style, cuisine, speaking, taste, preference, ideas, physical activities, relationships (dating and marriage practices), choices, etc.
Multiculturalism and human rights
Modernization, urbanization, and Internet access brought multiculturalism to the limelight by giving visibility to different cultures, ethnicities, and races, especially minority groups. These groups of people also have a voice through news, movies, TV shows, print media, or streaming services, broadcast locally or globally. They can also use social media to express their opinion, request fair treatment, celebrate their differences, and raise awareness about group-related issues. The same applies to people with physical or mental health problems, or of a different social class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and more. Pensions are another social change that society introduced recently, in the early 1910s and 1920s.
Another significant way technology brings social change is by uniting people under a common cause. This can be a political party, not-for-profit organization, government organization, or local, unofficial charity movements. Furthermore, the existence of online fund-raising campaigns often leads to revolutionary products or services that benefit society globally. Users also utilize them for humanitarian purposes – natural disaster relief, and aid to underdeveloped areas and third-world countries.
Crime rate reduction
We investigated the impact of technology on crime prevention in the past. We concluded that, despite autonomous or human-aided crime detection, a sizeable portion of help must come from people themselves through crime reporting. For example, discovered corruption often requires a human mind, while technology can acquire and organize data to help connect the dots and provide evidence after the fact.
We already presented indicators technology saves the environment, not only for societies but humanity as a whole. And because we’re the main pollutants, besides minimizing effects, technology can also draw attention to techniques we can utilize to reduce or eliminate contamination in the first place. For now, Earth is all we have.
We demonstrated the effects of technology in education, good and bad, and got enamored by the topic. This led us to analyze the benefits of technology to teachers and differently-abled students. The reason is obvious. The help modern technology provides to education has and will have a drastic impact on our society.
Industrial Revolution between 1760 to 1840 marked the first time we, as a society, had jobs replaced by technology. It made artisans and people proficient in traditional skills less relevant and emphasized massive factories and relentless productivity helped by technology. The process has continued and today, robots, automation, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and other branches of information technology are taking over our job positions. This obviously leaves thousands of people without work but provided job vacancies in other fields and areas, restoring the balance. Also, it dramatically contributed to urbanization and is the reason the middle class exists.
Among the ways technology can bring social change, the cutback on the number of wars is plain to see. Wars won’t disappear because they’re exorbitantly profitable, but modern warfare has had a hand in their reduction. Bioweapons, atomic bombs, and other weapons of mass destruction are the primary reason – their power is cataclysmic. So, countries are forced to seek peaceful resolutions, sign treaties, find intermediaries (United Nations, European Union, etc.), or even dismantle their nuclear programs.
Reproductive technologies have brought a significant social change in society. According to the 2020 research by UCLA Health, on a global scale, 15% of couples have trouble conceiving. Infertility is also among the leading causes of depressions, anxiety, and even divorce. To solve that via technology, society introduced things like fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation. Doctors can also perform artificial insemination (with the possibility of sex preselection), Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), and in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Adoption is also safer and more effective thanks to technological improvements, mainly in data analysis and communications. Also, couples can choose to use a surrogate mother.
Genetic engineering is a very controversial branch of technology. Scientists have successfully cloned animals, and, if deemed ethical, the practice of genetic replication can carry over to humans. Gene therapy, on the other hand, while criticized and dismissed by religious people, can potentially identify genetic markers in the DNA and eliminate them. This can bring the end to genetic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, cancer, and many others.