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Information technology and its impact on Portugese society

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Technology in Information Society The case of Portugal �lvaro Jorge Albuquerque Informa��o e Sociedade Mestrado em Gest�o de Informa��o 2003 FEUP (Lecturer: Dr. David Allen) (Body Wordcount: 2837) Table of Contents Table of Contents 1 Abstract 2 Background 3 Technology 3 Philosophies of Technology [1] 4 Instrumentalism 4 Social Determinism 5 Technological Determinism 6 Technology in action 7 Portuguese Information Society 8 Introduction 8 View of Information Society 8 Current state 10 Values 11 Information Society for all 11 Open Government, Quality and Efficiency on Public Services 11 Learning and Available Knowledge on Information Society 11 Richness of Balanced Opportunities for Commerce 12 Rich Contents 12 Security, Protection and Rights of Individuals 12 Conclusions 12 Reference Notes 13 References 14 Abstract "...technology must never be accepted as part of the natural order of things, that every technology- from an IQ test to an automobile to a television set to a computer - is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it a programme, an agenda, and a philosophy that may or may not be life enhancing and that therefore requires scrutiny, criticism and control." (Neil Postman 1992:185) I am supposed to discuss this sentence having in mind the technology on Information Society in Portugal. This is a very complex issue and I feel it as a huge responsibility to address it in a correct way on a short essay even if limited to a few aspects: Political, Cultural and Economic. With an analytic view over the sentence some questions arise: How should technology be accepted? What precisely is Technology? So it seams to be a good way to explore this sentence trying to answer these questions. So, first of all, an attempt must be done to define Technology or, at least, find some contributions to see what are we talking about. Following, I will try to approach some interpretations of Technology. ...read more.


Daniel Chandler (1995) puts this question of the interpretation of technology as being "neutral" or "non-neutral" where the non-neutral term is related to technological determinism. Technology in action Postman (1979:193, in Chandler 1995), about technology argues that "1) because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded, different media have different intellectual and emotional biases; 2) because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different media have different political biases; 3) because of their physical form, different media have different sensory biases; 4) because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different media have different social biases; 5) because of their technical and economic structure, different media have different content biases." "Technologies are designs for action, but that action always takes place in a social context, and thus some other nontechnological action is necessary for technologies to do the work asked of them. ... Couch ... understands that information technologies are designs for action that extend the human senses, especially seeing and hearing, and thereby possess certain transformative capabilities. ... he argues that different information technologies contain internal logics of their own that, in some sense, prefigure their use. ... Technologies ... call out some responses and not others, although not in a deterministic way, since sentences and cinema in and of themselves do not determine their interpretations. ... Information technologies - speaking, quantification, writing, photographs, recordings, printing, telegraph, radio, photocopying, telephones, cinema, television, computers, Internet, satellite dishes, and so on - are designs for communicative action that, when used, transform the people and situations caught up in that action. They are symbolizations of symbols ..., that are formatted and reified in ways that potentiate different forms of association. Couch uses the ... distinction between evocative and referential symbols ... As he makes clear in wide variety of substantive cases, the emergence of a particular information technology occurs in societal contexts that contain both the potential for that technology�s adoption and sources of resistance to it. ...read more.


Conclusions Here I am supposed to give my personal opinion about Technology role on Information Society. My position is not as radical as Postman (1992) about the current state of society as in his Technopoly vision. However, unfortunately I could say, I see technology has being definitely non-neutral. More I could say, I see some kind of gigantic force biased with technology that serves someone's interests. We have to possess some consciousness that usually we don't have, perhaps for educational reasons, to see that agenda on technology that Postman refers to. Life quality is decreasing and the scenario his worst on each successive generation. Human values are being virtualised on a society gradually more mediatic. Like Negroponte says we are being Digital, however while he sees something good on it, as in Utopia, I tend to see it more like a Dystopia. About that tendency of multi-media we see on technology and those enchantments of innovations that attracts us, about the idea that we have necessities for consuming gigantic flows of information, about all of these images we consume everywhere, about all of it... I feel anxiety, not peace. For the positive part of seeing these days of technology driving days I must be forced to agree with Francis Bacon on the The New Atlantis about some remarkable technology achievements where he sees the prolongation of life, the restitution of youth in some degree, the retardation of age, the mitigation of pain, as some good thing on those age's technology wonders. (Bacon, 1626) About this study it is absolutely incomplete. I didn't research enough to include several other interpretations for Technology role on the information society. However it gave me more light and definitely contributed to open my view of Technology on these modern digital days. Reference Notes [1] The connection between Technology and Philosophy of Technology is commonly accepted on the literature. See URL "Philosophy of Technology" in URL http://polywog.navpoint.com/philosophy/technology/index.phtml Here also is found information for the origin of the term given to Earns Kapp a German philosopher of the 19th century. See WWW document URL: http://www.regent.edu/acad/schcom/rojc/mdic/early. ...read more.

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