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Effects of Technology on Society

The effects of technology on society can be described as the increasing interdependence, symbiosis, and inter-organizationiness of society and technology on each other. Evidence for this symbiotic relationship has always been found in the form of technological artifacts since the early history of humankind. In today’s modern society, where most of the world’s population resides in cities, it has become a part of life. The effects of technology on society include a vast technological development, resulting to increased material wealth, faster pace of living, specialization of certain tasks, and the increasing of the size of human populations.

Technological change in society and its impact to society has become more profound. There are numerous studies that provide evidence to the effects of technology on society. These studies have analyzed both the short-term and long-term effects of technology on society. They have also analyzed the changes in work characteristics, leisure time, and work demands. These studies have found positive effects of technology on society although there are also negative effects of technology on society as well. These include; increased complexity in society, increasing work demands, decline in labor quality, and increasing stress on health and safety systems.

These studies have found positive effects of various technologies on society especially when it comes to its effect on the economic standing of society. However, there are also negative effects of technology on society due to the increase in work-related conflicts over the years. A study about the effects of increased technological complexity in society showed that the level of societal conflict and violence is associated with economic and occupational complexity. Also, when employees are displaced from their jobs due to technology implementation, they tend to engage in violent activities.

These studies presented data to the effect of 7 prominent technologies in society in the past and in the present. These technologies are; computers, mobile communication devices, industrial machinery, electricity, telecommunications, personal digital assistants (PDAs), the internet, video games, and social media. The most common effect of these technologies was on work-related conflict. Other effects of technology on society include changes in leisure time and leisure activities, technological change, and attitudes toward particular technologies. These results were compared to the effects of the same technologies on institutions and policies in the United States.

The study was conducted by Gary Kiger and Sarah Crowe of the Department of Labor and Institute of Labor Statistics at the University of British Columbia in Canada. They examined the relationship between economic growth and the adoption of technological concepts in six countries: Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, Portugal, and South Africa. The study also looked at educational science, technological development, and economic policies surrounding technological policies. This article will focus on the last portion of this study comparing educational science and technology policies between the six countries.

Crowe, Kiger, and Smith first examined technological policies adopted in each country to determine if they fostered or discouraged technological development. They then conducted seven meta-analyses to evaluate the effects of these policies on a variety of technological aspects. The main results of the meta-analyses show that policy interventions addressing the concern of technological policies do not determent technological developments. Instead, the opposite, is true.

The authors then conducted five additional tests to determine whether these effects of technology on society are causal. The tests compare the effects of various policies on various technological aspects and find that they are all insignificant (p values of 0.01) with non-significant relationships (e.g. the relationship between technological developments and IQ is nonsignificant). They then conclude that the effects of technological developments on society are indeed causal.

The final chapter examines eleven different policies that address five different aspects of work characteristics. Again, all but one of the policies are insignificant (p values of 0.01), and there are significant positive relationships between the policy and IQ, educational attainment, entrepreneurial aspirations, etc. However, as was noted above, all of these relationships are insignificant and there is no significant relationship between policy and work characteristics. Thus, the authors conclude that it is not the technology per se that is driving changes in work characteristics, but rather the policies that are implemented to address these changes.

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