Essay on Theory and Practice in the Study of Technological Systems

5179 Words May 4th, 2013 21 Pages
1. Why does Cowan believe it is important to examine technologies in the context of technological systems? What advantages does this broader perspective give to planners? Give a specific current technological example (not in reading) in support of your answer.

Cowan believes it is important to examine technologies in the context of technological systems because current technologies rely on the interdependencies of many technologies other than nature or the technology alone. Individual technologies are now dependent on other forms of technology as well as the individuals that design, create and operate the technologies, to operate and perform a specific function(s). According to Cowan, technological systems “complex networks that are, at
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Support your answers providing specific comparisons from two periods.

The Knowledge Revolution (information age) is defined in the textbook as the use of computers, communications satellites, fiber-optic cable, and other developments, making global, high capacity, high-speed communications technologies such as the internet possible (p. 9). These advancements have profoundly changed the way we live and how we conduct business. Relating to this definition, I agree we now live in the Knowledge Revolution.

I believe that computers have truly changed our lives so much that we can call this a revolution like the Industrial revolution of the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution replaced animal and human muscle with machines, machines that were first steam and then gas operated. The machines were still operated and maintained by humans as there are many moving parts and not all production was fully automated. Many manual laborers lost their jobs, replaced by the new technology. The steam and gas engine became so important after years of being use (not at the time of introduction) that many of the daily tasks relied so heavily on these new technologies that we would be unable to operate without them. For example, during WWII, had we lost the gas and steam engines and the technology that was required to operate the production lines (invented by Ford), we would not have had the ability to win the war. Not only did

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