Technological fix

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A technological fix or technical fix or technological shortcut or solutionism [1] refers to the attempt of using engineering or technology to solve a problem.[2][3][4][5][6] Designing automobiles to protect fallible drivers provides one example.

Some references define technological fix as an "attempt to repair the harm of a technology by modification of the system", that might involve modification of the machine and/or modification of the procedures for operating and maintaining it.
The idea of a technological fix is a natural part of modern technology. It has been observed that many technologies, although invented and developed to solve certain perceived problems, often create other problems in the process. In other words, there would be modification of the basic hardware, modification of techniques and procedures, or both.[7]

In other words, Technological Fix is the idea that all problems can find solutions in better and new technologies; but now is used as a dismissive phrase to describe cheap, quick fixes by using inappropriate technologies; these fixes often create more problems than they solve, or give people a sense that they have solved the problem. [8]

Contemporary Context[edit]

In the contemporary context, technological fix is sometimes used to refer to the idea of using data and intelligent algorithms to supplement and improve human decision making in hope that this would result in ameliorating the bigger problem. One critic, Evgeny Morozov defines this as "Recasting all complex social situations either as neat problems with definite, computable solutions or as transparent and self-evident processes that can be easily optimized--if only the right algorithms are in place."[9] While some criticizes this approach to the issues of today as detrimental to efforts to truly solve these problems, opponents finds merits in such approach to technological improvement of our society as complements to existing activists and policy efforts.[10]

An example of the criticism is how policy makers may be tempted to think that installing smart energy monitors would help people conserve energy better, thus improving global warming, rather than focusing on the arduous process of passing laws to tax carbon, etc. Another example is thinking of obesity as a lifestyle choice of eating high caloric foods and not exercising enough, rather than viewing obesity as more of a social and class problem where individuals are predisposed to eat certain kind of foods (due to the lack of affordable healthy food in urban food deserts) and lack of proper health care.[11][12]

Technology Fix and Social Engineering[edit]

While technological fix is a technological solution to address one or more of the bad side effects of a technology, social engineering -that some call attitudinal fix- refers to the use of social policy, regulation, or law to moderate the bad effects of a technology that people use.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Science Magazine, 7 January 1972, Vol. 175 no. 4017 pp. 31-38, Technological "Shortcuts" to Social Change, Amitai Etzioni, Richard Remp
  2. ^ Cook, Stephen P. The Worldview Literacy Book Parthenon Books 2009. Excerpt at http://www.projectworldview.org/wvtheme46.htm
  3. ^ Huesemann, Michael H., and Joyce A. Huesemann (2011). Technofix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Canada, ISBN 0865717044, 464 pp.
  4. ^ Mack, E. Pamela. The Technological Fix. 2005. 9 September 2005 http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/FacultyPages/PamMack/lec122/techfix.htm
  5. ^ Volti, Rudi Society and Technological Change. 2006.
  6. ^ Teich, Albert H. Technology and The Future. 10th Edition. 2006 (Note: A collection of Essays)
  7. ^ The sacred and the limits of the technological fix AR Drengson - Zygon®, 1984 - Wiley Online Library
  8. ^ The Technological Fix Critique of Agricultural Biotechnology, D Scott, http://wiki.umt.edu/odc/images/d/db/TechFixISU6-25.pdf
  9. ^ E. Morozov, To Save Everything, Click Here (2013), pg 5
  10. ^ http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/toward-a-complex-realistic-and-moral-tech-criticism/273996/
  11. ^ Dorfman, Lori and Lawrence Wallack (2007) “Moving Nutrition Upstream: The Case for Reframing Obesity,” Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Vol. 39, Issue 2, S45-S50
  12. ^ E. Morozov, To Save Everything, Click Here (2013)
  13. ^ Technology Fix and Social Engineering, http://www.engr.sjsu.edu/sbates/images/tech&civ/Technology_Fix_&_Social_Engineering.doc