|Type of paper:
|Sociology Technology Industrial revolution Historical & political figures
The evolution of technology alludes to the progressive changes and improvements in the techniques that enhance human activities. Different literature indicates the variations and similarities in how scholars understand and gauge the advancement of technology. Despite the existence of different perspectives on the relationship between technological development and human activities, a look at the works of three scholars is comprehensive. The three scholars renowned for their contribution to establishing the concept of technological evolution include Gerhard Lenski, Leslie White, and Alvin Toffler. Lenski's approach acknowledged the role of communication in the process of technological advancement. The sociologist indicated that by understanding and “mastery of language and writing," humans improved the use of different resources and tools to enhance their lives (Class Notes, 2020). Lenski also highlighted the progress in hunting and gathering, crop growing, and industrial revolution. White noted improvement from the use of human muscle power, domesticating animals, agricultural revolution, and the industrial revolution. Toffler's concept leaned on future shock, indicating that the rapid change in life makes people disconnect with their environment and latter engage initiatives that would make them content. The scholar highlighted different technological development stages, including the agrarian, industrial and post-industrial, and the computer, robotics, and the services sector phase (Class Notes, 2020). To obtain a deeper understanding of technological evolution. This paper will expound on the perspectives of the three thinkers and develop a summary of the concepts' similarities and differences.
Sociologist Gerhard Lenski believed that technological progress was a motivation factor for human civilization (Class Notes, 2020). The scholar regarded information at the center stage and understood that no technological advancement would occur if people lacked the necessary information to support the development plan. Lenski knew that the more people knew how to harness and use natural resources, the more they would advance their society. The sociologist the growth of communication in different stages including genetic transfer from a parent to children, use of perceptions or the objective experience that enhance how humans would prefer to interact with the environment, use of logic in making inferences about what they need in the environment, and the mastery of “language and writing” progressively (Class Notes, 2020). He believed proper communication as the foundation of civilization. The four levels of technological growth that Lenski premised on aimed at ensuring food security. They included the use of physical abilities like hunting and gathering, growing food crops through horticulture, the launch of organized agricultural practices, and the industrial revolution (Class Notes, 2020). The result of the four stages was plenty of food availability, which resulted in the rise of social orders (Class Notes, 2020). Classes of inequality and a complex division of labor become popular, and people pursued advancement in art and craft, architecture, and civil engineering.
An anthropologist Leslie White believed that controlling energy was the primary purpose and function of any culture, and the source of technological development (Class Notes, 2020). The scholar identified different technological development stages, including the use of human muscle power, domestication of animals as sources of energy, agricultural revolution, and the utilization of nuclear energy (Class Notes, 2020). While the use of muscle power involved a person physically engaging his power, the second stage involved rearing livestock for food energy and as a means of transport. During the Industrial Revolution, humanity would harness natural resources such as natural gas, coal, and oil (Class Notes, 2020). The scholar seemed optimistic about the ability of humans to harness nuclear energy despite its precariousness. White even developed a theory relating to the measure of energy consumed, the efficiency of technical factors in producing the power, and the product of the two parameters. The scholar compared early steam engines to steam-powered turbines and indicated that the remarkable efficiency in turbines increases the gadgets' productivity. This case, compared with culture, shows that any culture was a combination of the sum of all energy harnessed for every individual member in the society (Class Notes, 2020). This theory indicates that the measure of technological evolution is the combination of every member of a society's input through activities like the use of physical energy, domestication of animals, or even industrial revolution.
The journalist's argument relied on the future-shock, the personal view of “too much change in too short a period of time” (Class Notes, 2020). The scholar explained that rapid changes that humans faced during the industrial revolution necessitated them to adapt to the new circumstances. These conditions forced humans to search for new ways of anchoring themselves in the new normal since the old establishments like religion, community, family, nation, or profession were shaking. According to the scholar, resources no longer limit decision making; instead, decisions make or break the availability of resources (Class Notes, 2020). Toffler understood that the world today is drowning in information overload. His three stages in the technological development included the agrarian stage, industrial stage, post-industrial stage, and the artificial intelligence stage (Class Notes, 2020). The agrarian stage began during the Neolithic period after the invention of agricultural tools like the wheel. Toffler describes the level as a move from “barbarity to civilization” (Class Notes, 2020). During industrialization, technological development received a boost after the invention of the steam engine. The post-industrial stage involved the advancement of the machines invented during the industrial stage (Class Notes, 2020). The last phase encompassed the inventions of the computer, robotics, and automated manufacturing machines. Also, the step fueled the development of the service sector due to the higher need for brainwork than manual labor.
The perceptions of the three scholars regarding technological advancement exhibit similarities. All three scholars believed in a connection between human activities and technology and that evolution of technology springs from the need for an adequate supply of food in a community. The scholars also exhibit similarity in their adoption of the idea of systematic evolution with one stage leading to another. Their work also showed some differences. While Lenski and White leaned on the ability to harness resources as the primary measure of civilizations, Toffler leaned on the role of decision-making on the availability of resources. While Toffler acknowledged “future-shock," Lenski and White acknowledged the role of natural resources in kick-starting the technological evolution. Among the three perceptions, Toffler’s insight appears useful in explaining the development of technology. The authenticity of the theory arises from the scholar's ability to cover almost every part of the technological growth that is even evident in the current world. The scholar’s approach considered simple techniques of food production and complex activities like the agrarian and industrial revolution that led to new inventions like steam engines, the use of computer technology, and the device of the service sector, mainly consultancy. Since the current world needs more brainwork than physical work, technology has since grown and necessitated the invention of processes that use artificial intelligence and robotics like the computer. This aspect is only covered under the Toffler's perspective.
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