Understanding Technological Diffusion
Technology affects everyone everywhere. It changes the way people think, communicate, and learn. It influences how people relate to each other on a day-to-day basis and has an effect on society as a whole. The good and bad effects of technology on society is determined by what we call societal impact.
Society always improves with advancements in technology. Technological advancements have always helped people do more with their lives. Innovations in information technology have increased productivity, made traveling easier, allowed people to work from home, provided entertainment for the masses, and even created new jobs. Advancements in technology are always for the better. On the negative side, society has always been affected by technological advancements.
One of the major effects of technological advancement is the increase in scientific knowledge. As more scientific knowledge is created, society becomes more aware of the nature of the universe and how everything is intertwined. Because of this, scientific knowledge is becoming more important than ever and people have begun to question the methods and results of scientific studies. When this happens, society could fall into disarray.
Another effect of technological advancement is the decrease in the number of total workers needed to support the societal infrastructure. In previous years, there were more workers than there was technological knowledge to provide them with those services. Because of this, there was a demand for highly educated people in the labor force. However, because of the increase in scientific knowledge, these people are now more capable of providing services for society at large. Thus, the need for highly educated people to produce more scientists and thus less workers, creates a problem for the current supply and demand situation. When there are fewer workers to fulfill the demand for scientific knowledge, the quality of that scientific knowledge drops.
Because of the decrease in the number of people needed to maintain society, the amount of money available for technology increases. The rapid pace of technological advances allows the invention and creation of new goods and services to occur at a much faster rate than previously thought possible. This is one of the main reasons why there has been a recent economic depression. Because of technological advances, the cost of production has decreased. Because of this decrease in costs, there has been an increase in the price of goods and services.
Technological diffusion is also effected by the social system. A great deal of the technological change that has been made through the years is a result of the societal changes that have occurred along the way. For instance, the telephone became a common household item and when it was introduced, a lot of people took to it very quickly. This increased the number of people with access to a telephone and consequently, its price decreased.
Technological diffusion is also effected by the individuals who are exposed to the innovations. If you think about the people who were exposed to the sewing machine during the industrial revolution, most of them did not realize the importance of sewing and thus did not make a huge dent in the industrialization process. Likewise, those who are exposed to a particular technological change are not necessarily that excited about the new product. Thus, the individuals who do notice the product will likely be less enticing to purchase it. This is often referred to as “inferior innovation.”
Technological diffusion is one of the factors that make innovations difficult to implement. This is because it takes time for a technology to gain support and get into the mass market. Without the backing of the mass market, it becomes difficult to introduce major innovations. One thing that is helping to change this is the fact that a wide variety of technological change is taking place all around the world.