The dynamic relationship between a society and its technology can raise many
complex questions that only lead to complex answers. Does technology exist for the benefit of society? Is a society functional, only because of one or more technologies that are so imbedded in that society? Can either society or technology exist without one another? These are many different viewpoints that can be discussed in this topic.
In his article, A Search for Structure, Selected Essays on Science, Art, and History, Cyril Stanley Smith discusses the interdependence of society and science (technology).
Smith s view was that art was the basis for what science and technology first began. My point is only that the invention of a technique has, until recently, been far more likely to occur in an aesthetically sensitive environment than in a practical one. (Smith p.88) In this essay, I will take some of the opposing views concerning technology (science) and society (e.g. art) and discern what Smith s opinions might be through his ideas of the development of technology and science through art.
Technology vs. Society
*Technology is imbedded in the rest of society. vs. Technology is relatively independent of the rest of society.
It would be hard for me not to say that society and technology go hand in hand. This morning I woke up to my alarm clock buzzing, and then I made some coffee, took a shower, put on clothes, and then got in my car and drove off. Ordinary things, which people don t realize, are products of technology that have become part of our everyday lives. When most people think of technology they think of computers, entertainment equipment (e.g. DVD player), and space exploration (NASA), they tend to leave out pencils, sneakers, and toilet paper all are technologies that came about to make life easier for people (society).
I consider that Science and Arts are strongly bonded as, though they are two totally opposite areas of knowing, they manage to create a balance that holds tightly the emotions and the reasoning of human mankind. Art is the expression of human creativity, of human skill and imagination. It is usually represented through paintings, music, sculpture etc. Art is created to be appreciated or ...
In his article, Smith shares the view that technology and society are very much amalgamated. Humanists have shown a widespread disregard for technology s role in human affairs, but if they had seen technology as an eminently human experience, they could have better guided society s choices of objectives and controls. (Smith p.82) Cyril Smith is arguing that people have overlooked how technology affects everyman in his daily life. (Smithp.82) I think he has the right idea by making it clear in the beginning of his essay that society and technology are interwoven.
*Technology determines the other aspects of society vs. Technology is important, but cannot determine every social aspect.
Which of the two are a greater force- society or technology? It s like the age-old question, what came first the chicken or the egg? To answer this you must first define what technology is- Those devices, techniques, and knowledge that allow human beings to transform and control the inanimate world. (Ron Westrum, sociologist) When primitive man X picked up a rock to use as a hammering tool- technology was born. Since technology has been around in some form since the dawn of man, it is safe to say that it is an important factor of society. The question then becomes, does technology determine every social aspect? I feel that there is no man or woman on this earth that hasn t used some form of technology, but technology is not evident in every social aspect. An example would be a conversation between a grandfather and his grandson. A simple, face-to-face conversation does not require any form of technology, although technology may be lingering somewhere in the background. Did the grandfather drive his car or take a bus to meet his grandson. Were they sitting on a couch in a house? It all depends on the certain aspect of society or social function. When talking about society, Cyril Smith uses the example of art as one social function. He explains that technology is used in art and vice versa. The relationship between design, structural engineering, and knowledge of materials in architecture is a well known example of the inseparability of aesthetic (art) and technological factor. (Smith p.94) Smith s view, as far as art, might be that the two do go hand in hand. He feels that at first technology was a product of the pursuance of art or aesthetics, but then as technology grew, they became less and less contingent. He does not clearly state that that technology determines other aspects of society. He just uses the example of aesthetics or art and technology.
Is it Time to Turn Our Tech to Standby? Advances in technology have had a significant impact on modern day society. Products and services that initially were only accessible to the wealthy years ago, are now as much a part of our daily lives as our toothbrush. Younger generations are growing up in a world that is totally dominated by gadgets such as mobile phones, MP3 players and the internet, to ...
*Technological change is gradual. vs. Technological change is discontinuous.
We have already established that technology is an important force imbedded in society.
Is technology never-ending? Yes. Technology will go on, and it is our part as members of society to keep up. It has become a natural facet for most people to accept and adjust new technologies whether they want to or not. Keeping up is exciting, but also exhausting and expensive. Cyril Smith does not clearly state how technology moves forward. He takes a look how aesthetics first
kindled technologies and the developments thereafter. He never really explains how it has become such a rapid force in society.
*Unique individuals determine technological progress. vs. Social forces determine technological decisions.
This area is where Cyril Smith s paper becomes most relevant. Smith argues that if not for a simple inclination for aesthetics (art), technology would have not begun. Smith would argue that social functions (art) do determine making technological decisions. Art becomes the basis for technology and improvement on that technology. For example, Smith alleges that the first Chinese fireworks, (that were made simply for aesthetics), were the forefathers to the rocket ship. After the creation of chemical experimentations for the use of enjoyment, the knowledge was there and technology picked up the slack and took off. (No pun intended) The presence of flowers in Neanderthal graves suggests that the transplanting of flowers for enjoyment preceded the agricultural technology for food supply. (Smith p.86) I think Smith makes a good point here, but it easy to speculate and hard to prove that this is true. Smith s ideas are applied to the past and earlier technologies. He states that his beliefs do not always correlate with present technology. As science and technology have become simultaneously broader in scope and more and more precise in individual purpose, their connection with art has become less and less apparent. (Smith p.119) I think once art took a back seat to science, technology became a product of science rather than art. Today it seems that technology can be provided by either an individual interest or a social need.
2. How does contemporary art reflect our society? Is it an adequate reflection of our lives and our culture? Art began when civilization started. With each civilization we form of society, a group of people with individual characteristics, philosophies and cultures within which all sorts of ideas, thoughts and opinions are always brought to challenge and evaluation. Right from where culture ...
*Technological process is inherently good vs. Technological process is neutral or evil.
On one hand, Smith feels that art is an individual attribute with technology as the product. On the other hand, technology opened a whole new world to what art is and something Smith calls Art for the masses. Like the rest of society, art had to deal with technology whether it liked it or not. Artists have found much to interest them in both the scientific and technological world, and have shown that there is much beauty even in things such as galvanized iron roofing finding the visual delights of the New Landscape. (Smith 126) Although he doesn t clearly state it, I think Smith would view technology as inherently good as long as it doesn t oversimplify art. Smith concluded by saying that in today s technological environment the job of the artist will be to keep art a pure as they oppose oversimplification in this world of immensely diverse possibilities. (Smith p.127) He also asks the technologists to take a more aesthetic view in their modern inventions with out despoiling the Old landscape. (Smith p.127)
Cyril Smith s article explains how the need for art led to technological progress. I agree with Smith s view in some aspects, but in others he sounds like he himself is oversimplifying how a certain technology came about. The overwhelming factor is that technology and society are a complex pair that can bring up different viewpoints in debate. A major factor that is clear is that technology is a driving force in society that will always try to do one better. How a society responds to a certain technology will now be a field of study that will enhance the debate. Cyril Smith s article is an example of how a social function can relate to technology and the ability for both to coexist. The future of technology and the ever-changing society will certainly bring us to a new level of correspondence within the two human affairs.
To what extent do audiences need art galleries to view art works? Art galleries are essential to the art world, however, is not the only source for audiences to view art. To begin with, art and artwork is defined as the application of human skill, creativity and imagination. Taking this into consideration, individuals need to examine the nature and purpose of art galleries as a facility to ...