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This article first explains the connection between science and technology. Here we refer to a very simple example of the recently created robotic fish by Professor Hu, a Japanese scientist. This is just to understand the difference between them both. Next, we go through the introduction of technology on a narrower concept. This is where social control comes into picture. The following paragraphs would further discuss social control’s effects and consequences.
This is discussing on a more detailed aspect of social control concerning issues of personal freedom etc and its effect on future generations. There are also concerns about fear and how it is related to social control. In the following paragraph, there are the six control strategies discussed. This is six ideas are taken from the author, Gary T Marx and from his article titled, Technology and Social Control: The Search for the Illusive Silver Bullet in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2001. In the following paragraphs, the six control strategies which are the target removal strategy, target evaluation, offender incapacitation, offender exclusion and identification of offenders and offenses.
Each point is further elaborated in the paragraphs. Furthermore, we discuss the other effects of science in technology and some of the recent technological developments in the rest of the world. Finally, we end with a conclusion of this article on the last page. This also provides a short summary of all the discussed points in the entire article. Apart from that, there are some personal opinions and hopes for the future in science and technology as well as the hope for a more positive end result, especially for future generations.
Science and technology have always had a positive outcome when put together rather than when they are separated. Science is a study of an attribute or element, even a study of humans to understand why certain things behave in a certain way.
As we learn about something in particular, we start to see the flaws, or more ways of improving something. For example, there has been a recent invention by a Japanese inventor, Professor Huoseng Hu of Essex University, who has been studying fish for about 3 years. He studies it with a great amount of detail right to the extent of how the fish moves, how many times it moves in a day and so on. He keeps a record and studies it. Finally he learns a fish moving pattern for a certain type of fish. He thinks he can create an aquarium based on robotic fishes, so what is the next step?
This is when technology comes in. The word technology comes from the root word “technique”, meaning finding a solution to solve or improve something. In this case, the Japanese scientist starts working on building the robotic fishes using technology or techniques.
This is where he identifies the type of technology suitable to be used, or creates a new technique to create a robotic fish. Then, upon completion of the model fish, he then inserts some wired movements so that the fish moves exactly the same as a live fish and the public won’t really know the difference because it is almost 100% similar to a normal fish. Thus, the Japanese scientist had created a new invention and gains recognition for his hard work. This is how science and technology work hand in hand, thus, almost inseparable.
There is of great importance to discuss the issues of social control using technology. In today’s transformation of the world to a much more modern society, people are taking technology to greater heights without thinking of its consequences. Technology has been widespread in almost all industries out there, and it has even come to the extent of controlling the human behavior. More and more measures such as surveillance, drug testing, DNA analysis and many more are being used to control the human behavior to a certain extent which may get even more controlling in future.
Why is this social controlling issue a concern to us? We humans have been very much fascinated with the idea of science fiction stories of being spies and being watched, or watching others etc. With the latest development of war technology, the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Thus, people believe that by having various forms of social control like the surveillance cameras etc, that we are being technologically advanced and that we will be much safer. Most studies on social control issues have shown that this social behavior is not necessarily a healthy one as it may have a negative consequence on us and the future generations in the years to come.
For one, people become more conscious that they are being watched. Thus they start behaving in a more robotic manner, losing their real identities. Apart from that, as we are going more into the future, most countries are applying the chip-based national identification cards whereby each individual’s details are monitored consistently. Thus, people lose their freedom as they are consistently watched. If this keeps going on, the future generation may never know what is freedom, and what is it like to be free.
In today’s world, everyone wants everything to happen fast and perfectly. Thus, people do not take the time to sit and discuss issues, personal problems or even social problems. People just take to much time working, and working without thinking about what is important in life. One of the main reasons social control is happening is because people are afraid. Terrorism attacks, especially after the 9/11 have caused some major panic attacks and security concerns worldwide.
Thus, this issue has brought to people wanting to be safe and ensure that their loved ones are secure. Now, there is definitely nothing wrong with that thought, except people are not taking sufficient time to think about it, talk about it and so on. They just opt to take the easy way out of putting expensive high technology cameras in their homes and so on. Unfortunately, this has more negative effects than positive ones. One needs to eliminate fear instead of depending on security cameras to keep them secure. What happens if the camera breaks down one day? This is something to be thought about.
Another important issue is that since most information is given out to the government etc, there is a tendency to misuse this information. Technology always has two sides of the coin, the good and bad sides. Thus, if someone’s personal information is used in a wrong way, for example thru identity theft, it is quite hard for one to prove themselves and this could be quite scary as well. Technology is usually dominated by the ones who are really good at it especially young teenagers, computer experts etc, so what happens to the ones that are not really good in computers or technologically advanced things? This would result in them being left out and just being the follower.
To prevent this from happening, there are six social control strategies as suggested by Gary Marx in his article, Technology and Social Control: The Search for the Illusive Silver Bullet in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2001 which will be discussed here. The first strategy is thru target removal. This basically highlights the prevention point whereby if we do not have something to loose, then we will be safe. This is for example, having graffiti-resistant walls so that the walls can’t be sprayed on. One of the ideas the author suggests is to have a cashless society whereby if everyone is cashless, and using only credit and debit cards, then it would be much harder for stealing to take place; which highlights the point, prevention is better than cure.
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The next point the author highlights is the target devaluation. This is whereby one tries to eliminate or reduce the potential target to anyone but only limited to its authorized users. When a thief or a predator finds it very time-consuming or impossible to break a code etc, he would then give up and find for the next easier thing.
Thus, with this strategy, it is just trying to keep your most valuable thing in a much more secure way to make it seem useless to predators but it’s actually very much valuable and accessible to you and your other authorized users. This for example, could be such as using the biometric identifier, whereby one registers their retinal scan, or fingerprint etc and the computer registers it. The user can only access it using those scans or finger prints. If the finger print or the retinal scan is not registered, the security alarm would immediately go off, thus cautioning the user that there has been a security breach etc.
The third strategy is thru target insulation whereby one tries to create a double protection for one’s valuables. In the past, people have used fencing and guards etc to help guard their property from predators. However, these days, people have been using technology advancement to create more reliable security systems such as house alarms, video surveillance and so on. One can also double guard their valuable by having safety locks or safety boxes installed somewhere inside their walls as seen in some recent movies etc. This ensures that the valuable item is only known to the owner and their authorized users. Apart from that, people have also created under ground rooms etc to safeguard themselves in the case of an emergency, whereby they would have a place to run and hide.
The fourth strategy is the offender incapacitation. This is to disable something that is used when an offence is committed. This method is currently being used in Islamic countries such as in Arab Saudi and its surroundings. If a thief is caught, the sentence is to chop off the hand that was used to steal. Even though this may sound really a cruel punishment, it actually works and helps to induce fear in other thieves as they would not want to be caught and loose their hands. This has made Arab Saudi one of the world’s safest places where most houses are left unlocked at night and ladies walk freely on the streets late at night and early in the morning. Thus, the author suggests this strategy and with a technological idea that is being worked on.
This is for example, to encourage the anti-drunk driving; cars require a breath analyzer test connected to the automobile ignition system before one starts the car.
The 5th strategy would be inclusion. In the more recent past, potential offenders, for example a recently released drug addict would be kept away from any potential drug stores, or an area where most drug addicts are to allow him to be away from the same crime again. Similarly, the author has suggested a latest technologically advanced method whereby a criminal or any other anti-social behavior’s DNA is kept in record. This way, the criminal would have to check with a government body before deciding to have a kid so that the genetic experts could check and see if the 2 DNA’s match and its good enough to avoid another criminal are being born. This gives them a sense of exclusion from the rest of the society which would hopefully discourage them from being a criminal.
The 6th strategy is thru identifying the potential target, offense and offenders. This could be done thru the recent advancement in architectural designs which emphasize on visibility when building a structure. This is to enable one to identify the potential offenders and keep a record of them, so that in case there is a future offense committed, the operators of that place would at least have a record of a list of suspects to show to the authorities.
This would also help them keep the exact time and date of the offense and the potential suspect thru a video camera. This would be an immediate proof to the court as it would be clearly visible and its 100% proof, just sufficient to proceed with the punishment. Citizens are also being given hotline numbers etc to report to the authorities immediately when they see potential break-ins and so on.
Apart from the above social control of technology, it has also been vastly used in many areas of scientific research, one for example for the agricultural industry. As we know, in most parts of the world, agriculture has been the main focus of a population growth as well as bringing up newer inventions. There is agriculture research center’s that have been set up to encourage innovators to present their ideas on developing new inventions which would help in that field. These centers also help to produce the materials and equipment that you may need to complete your innovation. Upon completion of your equipment or idea, the researchers in these centers will then evaluate the usage of your idea and the practicability of using it, the consequences and so on. Thus, technology is progressing in this field.
There are also other technology areas such as Information Technology, better known as the IT industry. India has been one of the vast progressing countries in the IT field. More and more graduates are coming out with an IT degree and they are spreading their IT expertise worldwide. This technological advancement has been really great for the Indian economy. Since 1991, Indian economy has been moving steadily over 50% at a very consistent pace.
The Indian government is also taking more measures to make this industry a more profitable one to ensure that it helps their economy in a more positive way. They are concentrating on a more new approach using the Research and Development approach to identify new theories/methods in the IT field. McKinley’s report has predicted that India would be looking at USD 87billion for next year alone in the IT industry.
Apart from all of the above, other industries such as the medical field are also gaining positively from technological advancement. More and more new medicines to cure diseases that were considered to be risky before are becoming more and more common and less risky with latest medical development. More doctors have been able to develop new methods and new ways of making operations easier, less painful and so on with the help of technology. As we can see in our daily lives, the birth of Siamese twins is becoming a more common thing than before. Couples that were not able to conceive are also able to have their own kids through medical advancement. Of course, with the advancement in medicines, there are also setbacks such as consequences in the long run which doctors are trying to fix thru technology.
As a conclusion, the world is moving fast towards technological advancement in various areas of development and in a range of industries. There are technological advancement in the areas of medicine, information technology, social security, agriculture, and so many other industries. There are more and more unknown areas of science developing and this will definitely come out with the latest technology improvement. Newer ideas are being created and newer things being innovated.
Surely, technology advancement have been so popular due to the positive consequence at present, there will be negative results in the future if it is not properly controlled as researched by some famous scientists. There are always to sides to a coin, whereby the positive and negative sides. Let us hope that the future of this technological advancement brings a more positive approach for our future generations to come.
- Mulder, Henry. “Progress in Science”. Science and You. 2007. Web.
- Jha, Alok. “What is the point of a robotic fish?” The Guardian. 2005. Web.
- “Agriculture Technology Center”. Agriculture and Food. Alberta Government. 2007. Web.
- “The NASSCOM – McKinsey report on India’s IT industry”. Indian Embassy. Web.
- Marx, Gary. (2001). “Technology and Social Control: The Search for the Illusive Silver Bullet”. The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Web.
- Berger, Dan. “What is the link between science and technology?” MadSci Network. Web.