Ethics in an Age of Tech
Ethics in an Age of Tech ECS 188
Popular in Course
Popular in Engineering Computer Science
This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ashleigh Dare on Tuesday September 8, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ECS 188 at University of California - Davis taught by Phillip Rogaway in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 57 views. For similar materials see /class/187708/ecs-188-university-of-california-davis in Engineering Computer Science at University of California - Davis.
Reviews for Ethics in an Age of Tech
Report this Material
What is Karma?
Karma is the currency of StudySoup.
You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!
Date Created: 09/08/15
ECS 188 Clint Stevenson and Stephanie Liu Lewis Mumford s Technics and Civilization is both a chronicle and a critique of the development of technology alongside society Mumford sees the development of modern technology as having occurred in three distinct phases greatly oversimplifying one could say that the phases represent the shift from wood and waterquot to coal and ironquot and finally to alloy and electricityquot The work is also intensely concerned with the relationship between war and technology Though the book was written in 1934 its insights transcend the decades and are surprisingly applicable today An issue concerning us right now Mumford talks at length about the influences of war on technological advancement in fact quotat every stage in its modern development it was war rather than industry and trade that showed in complete outline the main features that characterize the machinequot 1 We may be inclined to say that warfare ratherthan necessity is the mother of invention The large majority of new discoveries and inventions aren39t discovered by quirky inventors in their basement labs Instead we have research and development teams working in large corporations with grants from the US Military It is somewhat unsettling to think that many of our brightest minds are hired to further their fields under the watchful direction of our military Of course many inventions developed by the military make their way into civilian life arguably completely separated from its intended martial use The most obvious example comes from ARPA Advanced Research Projects Agency the Internet The Department of Defense was very interested in developing a way for computers to communicate with each other so that they could have command and control over information during wartime 2 The wide and varying effects of the Internet on our society are still to be seen and history will probably tell us that it is a great boon to us bringing many people together making the world smaller However it should give us pause especially since half of us as computer scientists will be working for the military in some shape or form We live in a country where much the creative forces are driven ultimately by violent goals How would things be different if projects were funded with world peace as the end objective After giving broad insights about how technology has affected society in general the author begins tracing its roots by cataloguing them into approximate phases Mumford calls the first stage in the development of modern technics the eotechnic phasequot This phase refers to the state of technology generally between 1000 1750 AD although this first phase peaked in the United States around 1850 The eotechnic was the water and woodquot phase water as its source of power and wood the materials it was built on Mumford begins with this phase because several inventions created during the period laid the foundations for the state of technology in his day His socalled primary inventionsquot are mechanical clocks the telescope cheap paper print the printingpress the magnetic compass and the scientific method chosen because they made a rapid expansion of scientific and technical knowledge possible The mechanical clock was important for another reason however it made the actions of men coordinated and regular preparing mankind to be compatible with the machines of the future Machines need constant attention from engineers maintenance personnel and operators They must be serviced regularly and in the case of assembly lines must be scheduled to run in chronographic synchronization with other machines The universal synchronization made possible by the clock allowed people to interact with machines regularly and at the appropriate intervals The eotechnic phase also saw important developments in glass the convex lens gave us reading spectacles adding years to the length of time a human being can read in his life It enhanced our ability to study the stars and allowed us to see bacteria for the first time Glass also improved chemistry it s light malleable transparent and does not easily react with most substances It even changed the self it was in this period that windows and mirrors became a reality The pronounced existences of self consciousness introspection and mirror conversation are due largely to the mirror lndustrial processes involving machines started to take root in the eotechnic phase The most important advancement was the shift in sources of power from human and animal power to water and wind power This change saved a great deal of labor and led to the obsession with efficiency and costsaving that characterized the period that followed the eotechnic phase the paleotechnic phase By the end of the eotechnic phase our mode of thinking our means of production our manner of livingquot 6 had changed into something which had assimilated the presence of the machine We had begun to harness the forces of nature in the mills and textile factories and there was a need to consolidate and systematize the great advances that had been madequot6 The paleotechnic phase responded to this need A seemingly inexplicable burst of invention started around 1750 yielding machines such as the steam engine and the blast furnace which made massproduction and industrialization possible The capitalists of the era sought only to maximize production and profit regardless of the cost Forests were destroyed to make way for railroads and provide materials to support mines poisonous industrial and biological wastes were carelessly dumped into rivers and the air was so polluted that children were born feeble and deformed and the sun could scarcely penetrate the smog Energy was severely wasted the steam engine was only 10 efficient and much of the fuel went up the flue Worse than these offenses however is the mechanization of their workers Workers were indeed paid slave wages forced to work long hours and suffered miserable conditions but they were also made a mechanical part of the factory They rose at the same time every day they labored for up to 14 hours in a day they even wore the colors of iron and machinery black grey and brown were common People lived their lives outside of work only to keep from going insane Any part of life which could not be sold or rented to a factory owner became useless Even in schools the curriculum was reduced to the bare essentials of the factory worker Children in factory towns were taught silence absence of motion complete passivity response only upon the application of an outer stimulus rote learning verbal parrotingquot and piecework acquisition of knowledgequot 7 Workers also faced the very real threat of being replaced by machines when they considered whether to strike against unfair labor conditions The life of a worker in the paleotechnic phase was mechanical desolate and hopeless The paleotechnic period tended to overproduce Because the system impoverished the workers of a nation no one was able to buy the goods it produced Even if it paid the workers decently the rate of consumption of natural resources was not sustainable A new phase of technology needed to arise Emerging from the coal mines of the paleotechnic phase the neotechnic phase brought about many changes in how industry utilized the environment quotit was the vineyard and the farm and then physiological laboratory that directed many of the most fruitful investigations and contributed to some of the most radical inventions and discoveries of the neotechnic phasequot 3 The big shift from the coal mines was due to the harnessing of electricity in this era a great new source of energy that could be produced just about anywhere This brought with it an increased use of copper and aluminum because of the high degree of conductivity The beginnings of the neotechnic phase can be approximately fixed at the perfection of the waterturbine in 1832 By 1850 many discoveries set the stage for the rest of the era the electric cell the storage cell the motor the electric lamp the spectroscope and the doctrine of the conservation of energy Using these fundamental inventions the electric power station and the radio telegraph were invented In this phase we also see an emphasis on the establishment of general laws rather than specific inventions the invention is but a derivative product quotit was Hertz who invented the radio telegraph not Marconi and De Forestquot 4 This started a more deliberate and systematic invention Serendipity and isolated inspiration came to count less and less The neotechnic phase demanded scientific exactness from every field from architecture to education as we strived to be more mechanical more precise quotpaleotechnics regarded only the figures to the left of the decimal whereas neotechnics is preoccupied with those to the rightquot 5 The neotechnic phase also diminished the limitations of distance and time lnstant communication in the form of radio and telephone and widespread use of the motor car started changing the world to what it is today We thought this book did an outstanding job of chronicling the development of technology after 1000 AD Nearly all of Mumford s claims are backed up with specific examples and we often found ourselves in awe of his ability to collect analyze and interpret so many obscure moments in history It s an excellent collection of insights into the intimate relationship between man and machine l A 01 1 Works Cited Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 89 Ruthfield Scott The Internet s History and Development From Wartime Tool to the FishCam httpwwwacmorgcrossroadsers21linet historyhtm Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 216 Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 218 Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 232 Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 151 Mumford Lewis Technics and Civilization Harbinger 1934 pg 176
Are you sure you want to buy this material for
You're already Subscribed!
Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'