Nowadays, when technological development is light-speed fast, and new inventions occur almost daily, technology is mistaken for progress. Technological advances are equated to progression in all areas of human life and are viewed as the primary benchmark for progress. However, it can be argued that technology does not equal progress. Thus, technological development should be viewed as an instrument to advance society but not as progress in itself.
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The discussion of whether technology equates to progress should begin with defining what progress is. According to Nordrum (2021), progress is the movement of society towards something new that reflects the collective values, expectations, and aspirations for the future. Technology plays a significant role in the modern reimagining of what progress means, as it is a critical part of contemporary society. Any advancements in technology and sciences are often viewed as meaningful progress for humanity. However, at different stages of development, improvements in various fields were viewed as progress for the overall society. For example, Marx (1987) points out that progress lies in achieving political and social liberation for some societies, while for others, advances in science are viewed as progress. Thus, progress can be defined in many ways by people focused on the accomplishments of different goals. Today, technology presents an essential facet of society’s development in the current technocratic concept of growth and development.
Nevertheless, technological progress should not be equated to progress if it serves no purpose for society. Marx (1987) notes that technological development should aim to accomplish long-term goals for society and support genuine social progress instead of focusing on short-term financial gains. In addition, Greer (2018) argues that, as with advancements in other fields, technological progress is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Over time, its development will become more costly and time-consuming, and the disadvantages of new advances in technology will outweigh the benefits (Greer, 2018). In summary, technology does not necessarily mean progress, but it can help society progress and develop further if utilized appropriately.
Greer, John Michael. 2018. “The End of Progress”. Utne. Web.
Marx, Leo. 1987. “Does Improved Technology Mean Progress? Understanding the Historical Distinction Between Two Contradictory Concepts of Progress Helps Explain the Current Disenchantment with Technology”. Technology Review 90.
Nordrum, Amy. 2021. “What Does Progress Mean to You?”. MIT Technology Review. Web.