What is technicism and what does it have to do with technology
Technicism is an important concept that has much to do with technology, and is a particular way of viewing, approaching, and understanding the technology-driven and technology-centered society and world that we live in today.
Essentially, technicism is a way of approaching the world that places its confidence in technology as a benefactor of society and one of the driving forces for change in society.When you take technicism to its absolute extreme, it becomes a belief that through the use of technology-computers, technological communication, robots, and anything else that you can think of-humans will ultimately be able to control existence through the manipulation and the use of technology.Technology will be able to provide us with all of our needs, supply us with all of our wants, and will enable us to tackle and to solve any type of problem that might beset the human community.Some intellectuals see absolute technicism as a replacement of religion, in which technology is essentially replacing religion as a higher moral authority which we follow.
Another common use of the term technicism is as a criticism of the belief that most people have that the newer the technology, the better it has to be.This means that people automatically assume that newer cars are better, faster, and have better gas mileage than older cars.New computer systems are better than older computer systems.New software is better than older software (how quickly do you buy a new version of Windows when it is released?).Because people automatically assume that new technology is better than old technology, new technology is rarely looked at as critically as it needs to be.Too often, people simply accept what are actually inferior products, due to the way that we approach technology as associated with the future and with progress.
Another way to describe technicism is as technological determinism.In other words, technological determinism views the development of new technology as a natural result of technological study and also technical experiments.Once this new technology has been developed, it will transform the society that it belongs to or the area that developed it, such as medical technology or computer technology.In other words, new technology changes and shapes the society that it enters.Technology controls society by revolutionizing whatever aspect of life it happens to relate to.The steam engine revolutionized the world by changing the way that we travel, and thus expanding human development into geographical areas that were previously unattainable except by a few brave individuals.
A more common and applicable example from today's society might make the idea of technicism, or technological determinism, easier to understand.In the last few years, there have been pushes by a number of different people from teachers' unions to parent groups to student advocacy groups to government officials that there need to be enough computers in each classroom for each student to have his or her own laptop.The most public example is Negroponte's plan for "One Laptop Per Child."The idea is that computer technology is so advanced and so important that providing children with laptops will help solve the majority of learning problems in schools and will enable children to perform better in various areas, from math to English to science. The problems with education are largely if not entirely solved by expanding the use and the availability of technology.
There are several problems generally associated with technicism.To take the example above, while it is obvious that children need to become familiar with computer technology in order to compete and even exist in today's society and that computer technology expands learning possibilities to extraordinary levels, studies have demonstrated that the expansion of technology in the classroom does nothing to help improve learning and cognition when not paired with more interpersonal assistance and one-on-one, traditional teaching methods.