#3619 Created 04/21/2014 Updated 04/22/2014
"Technological Determinism" is incorporated in three sets of determinist perspectives on the relationship between humans and technology.
One set of determinist views, the historical, looks from the present into the past, and in some cases characterizes technology as an independent force which has acted to channel and even propel history. Strong versions may view technology as having some agency over the course of human events. In this sense, technology exhibits entity characteristics, with proposed behaviors that operate independently of human will.
A second set of views, Millennialism, is the adoption in the present of a particular historic view of selected Biblical texts, which are frequently interpreted as prophecies for salvation. Often expressed as beliefs, the millennialist view entails a sense of personal obligation to actively seek the beginning of the Millenium(foot: . "a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state", The prophesied thousand-year reign of Christ at the end of the age (Rev. 20:1-5).) through the advancement of "useful arts", i.e. technology.
. "a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state". through the restoration to humankind of Adam’s original state of perfection, which was lost in the allegorical expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In this case, technology represents a means to recover humankind's dominion over nature, to fulfill prophecy, and to achieve personal eternal salvation.
And a third set of views, the marketing of high-tech products and services, is from the present into the future, in which plans are made to use the affordances of present and future technologies to manipulate control of market configurations, consumer behaviors, and profits. In this case, technology beds a technique for entangling consumers into regimes composed of hardware and software compatibilities, service and upgrade agreements, product and service warranties, and other constraints which bind human behavior over time.
While each of these sets works with the concept of Technological Determinism, each perspective represents a different relationship with time, and each operates within a distinct space.
Every scholar of note has addressed Technological Determination, for the questions it entails entwine with the fundamental concept of human free will.
The link is through faith. Do we believe the stories we tell as history, and do those beliefs guide our behavior toward the future? Can one be true without the other?
Abstract: “Technological Determinism” is described in historical analysis as a force that acts on the course of history. It is also reflected within a long-standing millennialist religious ideology, and it is an active component of contemporary high-tech business practice and rhetoric. The theory of technological determinism relies on technology as the driver of development of social structures and cultural values. It is a sub-set of the more general discussion on Determinism and free will.
The term as used in discussions of millennialism illuminates the resurrectional Christian practitioners of the “useful arts” who believe technology is the path to the second coming of Christ.
The term and concept, as employed by contemporary high-tech businesses, sell a bright, improving future achieved through technological improvement and expansion.
The term itself is attributed to Thorsten Veblen, but the thoughts behind the words have tracks reaching millennia into the past. Its use in historical analysis is unavoidable, partly because the story of human history contains within it the story of the history of technology.