Published on October 16, 2007
LIS 386.13 Information Technologies and the Information ProfessionsIntroduction to Science and Technology Studies: LIS 386.13 Information Technologies and the Information Professions Introduction to Science and Technology Studies Philip Doty and R. E. Wyllys Copyright © 2002 by Philip Doty and R. E. Wyllys Last revised 2002 Aug 25 Lesson Objectives: Lesson Objectives You will Develop an understanding of the scope and the central ideas of the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) Perspectives in STS: Perspectives in STS Three perspectives are important in Science and Technology Studies: The question, "What is technology?", characterizes the Ontological Perspective. The question, "What does technology do for society?", characterizes the Pragmatic Perspective. The question, "How does technology affect our experience and, hence, our view of the world?", characterizes the Phenomenological Perspective. What Is Technology?: What Is Technology? The Oxford English Dictionary offers several meanings for "technology" 1.a. A discourse or treatise on an art or arts; the scientific study of the practical or industrial arts. 1.b. Practical arts collectively. 1.c. A particular practical or industrial art. 2. The terminology of a particular art or subject; technical nomenclature. Clearly, the meanings most applicable to this course are 1.b and 1.c. What Does Technology Do For Society?: What Does Technology Do For Society? A few examples of areas of direct support by technology to everyday life are Transportation Communication Medicine Entertainment To appreciate such support, think about where technology in these areas stood in 1902 vs. 2002. How Does Technology Affect Our Lives and Our Outlooks?: How Does Technology Affect Our Lives and Our Outlooks? Our concern in this area is with how technology affects humans. Consider the effects on people from such example areas as Advertising Questions raised by technology with respect to such matters as "When does life begin?" and "When is a person dead (e.g., brain death vs. heart stoppage)?" Impact of changes in technology Ever-increasing rate of change Complexity can overwhelm individuals The Technology Explosion: The Technology Explosion Over the last 2-1/4 centuries, humankind has undergone the Industrial Revolution, which has produced drastic changes in the life of everyday humans in almost all parts of the world. Today the rate of changes in technology is so great that we experience major changes in technology over periods of 1-2 decades or less. Think of what your life was like 20 years ago, vs. that of your parents 40-50 years ago, vs. that of their parents (your grandparents) 60-80 years ago. Now think of your ancestors in 1800. They lived lives that were very similar in daily routine to those of their ancestors 100, 1000, and even 2000 years earlier. The Technology Explosion: The Technology Explosion To reinforce the notion that technological change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate, the next several slides present a chronological history of important technological and scientific changes. The goal is to remind you of what the Industrial Revolution has produced. The slides note some important events in the history of science and technology, and illustrate the increasing rate of change. The chronology ends in 1969 because the moon landing in that year is an exceptionally noteworthy event, and because we assume that you will be somewhat familiar with the kinds of technological change that have occurred within the past 30 years or so. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1745 Jacques de Vaucanson develops the first punched-card control of looms 1765 James Watt improves the steam engine sufficiently to make it a practical source of power. It is rapidly adopted world-wide. 1803 Richard Trevithick applies the steam engine to railroads, i.e., invents the steam locomotive 1804-5 Joseph-Marie Jacquard improves Vaucanson's loom control to permit changeable punched cards for different patterns 1807 Robert Fulton applies the steam engine to ships, i.e., invents the steamship 1820-1830 Various entrepreneurs in England develop the first railroad lines Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1820s-1860s Michael Faraday, one of the most gifted experimenters in the history of science, makes contribution after contribution to the understanding of electrical, magnetic, and chemical phenomena, and lays the foundation for the development of electric generators and motors. 1829 Joseph Henry invents the first electromagnetic motor. He goes on to invent the iron-core electromagnet, far more powerful than any magnet previously known. 1838 Samuel F. B. Morse significantly improves the telegraph (earlier forms of which had been developed in Europe from the 1790s onward) by inventing the Morse code Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1840-1860 Railroads develop rapidly in U.S. and elsewhere. Nothing in prior history had required a scale of complexity of management or speed in communication comparable to that of the railroads. Hence, their development had far-reaching consequences. For example: Railroads adopted the telegraph and fostered its development, in order to provide the high-speed communications needed to avoid collisions and to manage freight and passenger transport. Problems in scheduling led to the development of standard time zones Demand from the railroads for construction and operating supplies provided major incentives for the development of the U.S. steel, petroleum, and lumbering industries. To provide themselves with customers, railroads encouraged the development of land along their lines as farms and ranches. This resulted in a major population shift from the eastern U.S. to the American West. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1843 Samuel Colt (best known for his revolvers) lays the first underwater telegraph cable, between Governor’s Island and the Battery, New York City 1845-6 Horace Wells and William T. G. Morton demonstrate the first successful uses of anesthesia for dentistry and surgery. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1847 Ignaz Semmelweis introduces the practice of antiseptic prophylaxis (i.e., cleanliness) into medicine. A Viennese physician, Semmelweiss noticed that the rate of deaths of women from childbirth fever (puerperal sepsis) was much higher in his hospital than in another hospital in Vienna. In a notable early example of statistical inference, he investigated, concluded that physicians’ dirty hands are a factor, and required the student physicians under his direction to wash their hands thoroughly between patients. The rate of childbirth fever, and deaths from it, in his hospital dropped sharply. As a result, the practice of cleanliness (antiseptic prophylaxis) spread in the medical world, albeit slowly at first. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1850 The first international underwater telegraph cable is completed between Dover, U.K., and Calais, France. 1853 Elisha Otis invents the elevator safety brake, which makes it reasonably safe, for the first time, to use elevators for human travel. Otis founds the Otis Elevator Company. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1854-66 Cyrus Field makes four unsuccessful attempts to lay a transatlantic communications cable before finally succeeding 1865-7 Louis Pasteur establishes that bacteria are the cause of many diseases. A result of his work is world-wide adoption of pasteurization of milk to prevent certain diseases from being transmitted by it. Selected Dates in the History of Technology: Selected Dates in the History of Technology 1869 On May 10 at Promontory Summit, Utah, the driving of the “Golden Spike” ties together the Western Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, and completes the first railroad across any continent. 1869 George Westinghouse invents the compressed-air brake for railroad cars and engine, a huge step forward in railway safety and operating efficiency. 1869 Charles Dowd proposes standard time zones as a means of avoiding railway accidents. Through the work of Sandford Fleming, the idea gains acceptance, and standard time zones are established world-wide in 1884 1873 James Clerk Maxwell’s “Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism” provides the theoretical foundation for understanding electricity, magnetism, and light. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone In one of the classic examples of parallel invention, Elisha Gray’s application for a patent on the telephone reaches the U.S. Patent Office later on the same day as Bell’s application. Bell receives the telephone patent; but a company founded by Gray goes on to become the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, the manufacturing arm of the Bell telephone empire, and eventually becomes today’s Lucent Technologies. 1877 Thomas Alva Edison invents the phonograph 1878-80 Edison develops the first successful incandescent electric light. 1879 The first steel-frame skyscraper is completed, as designed by William L. B. Jenney. Skyscrapers became possible because Otis’s development of safe elevators had spurred the development of buildings taller than four or five stories. In turn, the push to build ever taller buildings stimulated improvements in elevators and in other technologies (e.g., stronger steels, power shovels and cranes) involved in construction. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1879 The world’s first telephone exchange is installed in London. 1879 George Roe founds, in San Francisco, the California Electric Light Company, the first company in the world to produce and sell electricity to the public. It is an ancestor of today’s Pacific Gas & Electric Company. 1880 President Rutherford B. Hayes arranges the installation of the first telephone in the White House. 1880 Edison begins the large-scale manufacture of generators and electric lamps Edison goes on to develop other electricity generating and distribution systems, and to found the company that later becomes General Electric. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1880 Werner von Siemens invents the first electrically powered elevator 1880 Wabash, Indiana, becomes the first town with street lighting wholly powered by electricity, and establishes the first municipally owned electric power company By 1900, in a 20-year-long explosion of technology rivaling that of the Internet in our day, all the big cities in the world, and many of the smaller cities, have been substantially electrified. This widespread electrification sets the stage for a flood of further inventions dependent on electricity, a flood that has drastically changed the world and continues today. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1883 Edison discovers that electric current can flow , in a vacuum, from a negatively charged wire filament to a positively charged plate. His discovery of this “Edison effect” begins the era of electronics 1883 The first electrically powered public transportation system begins operation in Portrush, Ireland. 1884 Ottmar Mergenthaler invents the Linotype machine for printing 1885 Tolbert Lanston invents the Monotype machine for printing. Together, the Linotype and the Monotype revolutionize the printing of newspapers, books, magazines, etc. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1885-9 Heinrich Hertz develops the first transmitter and receiver for radio waves 1887 Nikola Tesla invents the induction motor, the first practical motor that runs on alternating-current electricity 1887 George Westinghouse invents the first commercially successful electric transformer The combination of Tesla’s induction motor and Westinghouse’s transformer make it practicable to use alternating current in electric power systems. Alternating current makes feasible the transmission of electric power over long distances. Thus these two inventions complete the foundation for the electrification of the world. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1888 George Eastman invents the roll-film camera, the Kodak, and thus makes photography accessible to amateurs 1889-90 Gottlieb Daimler invents the first successful gasoline-powered automobile and founds the company that later becomes DaimlerChrysler 1890s Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi develop long-range radio communication. Marconi achieves commercial success; he also receives the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909. 1891 Edison invents the motion-picture camera and projector 1891 Almon Strowger invents the automatic dial telephone Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1892 The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad installs the first electrified railway line 1892 Rudolph Diesel patents the diesel engine 1893 Herman Hollerith adapts Jacquard's punched cards for use in processing U.S. census data. He founds the company that later becomes IBM. 1896 Henry Ford builds his first gasoline-powered automobile 1897 Felix Hoffmann synthesizes aspirin (and heroin) 1900 Otis builds the first escalator, in Paris 1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright achieve the first successful airplane flight Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1904 The first transpacific communications cable is completed, from San Francisco to Manila 1905 Lee De Forest invents the triode vacuum tube, the first electronic amplifier 1905-6 De Forest and Reginald Fessenden independently make initial broadcasts of speech and music via radio 1905 Albert Einstein, aged 26, publishes three major papers: on statistical mechanics, on special relativity, and on the quantum nature of light and other electromagnetic phenomena (the paper for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921). These papers have been described as the most prodigious burst of human thinking since Isaac Newton’s discovery of calculus and the theory of gravitation at age 23 in 1665-66. Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1907 After trying 605 other chemicals, Paul Ehrlich demonstrates that the 606th, an arsenic compound, is effective against syphilis; he thus helps establish chemotherapy as an important tool in medicine and for this discovery is awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908. 1907 Arthur Korn demonstrates electrical facsimile transmission over a distance of 600 miles 1907 Leo Baekeland invents Bakelite, with which the plastics industry is born 1908 Henry Ford begins manufacturing the Model T auto 1910 The first electric washing machine is invented Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1914-8 Aircraft and radio communications are widely used in World War I 1919 First transatlantic airplane flight. Airline companies are established in Europe 1920 KDKA, the first commercial radio station in U.S. begins broadcasting in Philadelphia By 1922 there are already 524 such stations in the U.S. 1920s-30s The development of electric accounting machines for business provides a foundation for the invention of the computer 1921-7 Philo T. Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworykin independently invent the television camera and receiver Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1927 Hermann J, Muller (working at the University of Texas at Austin) establishes the existence of gene mutation and shows that it plays a major role in evolution; for this work he receives the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1946. 1927 The invention of a way to record sound waves on motion-picture film transforms movies from “silents” into “talkies” 1928 Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin, the first antibiotic agent; for this discovery he receives the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1945. 1928 First television program is broadcast by radio station WGY, Albany, New York Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1929 Ernest F. W. Alexanderson demonstrates a method of determining airplane altitudes by reflected radio waves, the first use of radar 1936 BBC produces the world's first commercial television broadcasts 1939 Nazi Germany tests the first jet-powered aircraft 1939-45 World War II. Telecommunications, radar, and cryptology (aided by the first electronic computer) play major roles in the winning of the war by the Allied Powers 1940 Zworykin invents the electron microscope 1943 First electronic digital computer, Colossus, begins operations in the United Kingdom’s cryptologic agency Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1945 Atomic bomb is tested, demonstrated, and used 1945 First U.S. electronic computer, ENIAC, begins operating 1948 John Bardeen, John Brattain, and William Shockley invent the transistor; for this discovery they receive the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956. 1950s-1960s Computers undergo rapid development and rapid increase in use. Computer technology, which began with vacuum tubes, shifts to transistors starting in 1958, and moves to integrated circuitry starting in the late 1960s Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd): Selected Dates in the History of Technology (cont'd) 1952 Hydrogen bomb is tested and demonstrated 1953 Francis Crick and James Watson, greatly aided by the work of Rosalind Franklin, discover the structure of DNA; for this, Crick and Watson receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962. 1957 Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1958-9 Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce invent the integrated circuit, and thus initiate the rapid miniaturization of electronics; for this discovery Kilby receives the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 (sad to say, Noyce had died in 1990) 1969 First landing on the moon The Impact of Technology: The Impact of Technology The preceding slides have attempted to provide you with a background for an appreciation of why the development of technology—and the increasingly rapid acceleration of that development—had, by the middle of the 20th century, come to exert widespread effects and impacts on everyday human life. By the middle of the 20th century, it was clear that science and technology were bringing about technical and social changes of a magnitude and at a pace never before experienced by the human race. The Impact of Technology: The Impact of Technology The pace of change accelerated still further during the second half of the 20th century, and it continues to accelerate now that the human race has entered the 21st century. Of special concern to members of the information professions is the branch of technology known as information technology—computers, telecommunications, and related technologies—and the interaction of information technology with humans. The Impact of Information Technology: The Impact of Information Technology "The cost of information technology is falling much faster than for any previous technology. Over the past three decades the real price of computer-processing power has fallen by 99.999%, an average decline of 35% a year. Plunging costs make computers and communications more affordable, allowing them to be adopted more quickly and used more widely throughout the economy than previous technologies. For comparison, the real price of electricity fell by a modest 6% a year between 1890 and 1920. "IT has several other valuable characteristics. First, it can boost efficiency in many different parts of a firm and in every sector of the economy. Electricity and steam increased productivity largely in manufacturing, but IT can also boot the efficiency of services. The Impact of Information Technology (cont'd): The Impact of Information Technology (cont'd) "Second, by improving access to information on prices and products, IT helps markets to work better, thereby ensuring a more efficient allocation of resources. And last, but by no means least, IT helps to globalise markets for products and for capital. In turn, globalisation spurs competition and speeds up the diffusion of technology through foreign trade." Source: Woodall, Pam. The New Economy Goes Global. In: Fishburn, Dudley, ed. The World in 2001. London, UK: The Economist Newspaper; 2000. ISBN:0-86218-166-6. P. 21. The Technology Explosion as a Basis for STS: The Technology Explosion as a Basis for STS The effects of science and technology on society, and vice versa, can be studied from various perspectives. As members of the information professions, we hold concern for service to people as a guiding principle. Consequently, we have a special need to be aware of the field known as “science and technology studies” and of its principal findings. The Technology Explosion as a Basis for STS: The Technology Explosion as a Basis for STS The field of science and technology studies arose in the 1960s as an area of formal studies of the interaction of technology and human society, with the aim of studying this interaction by objective, scholarly means. Science and technology studies are flourishing today, as they strive to keep pace with the extraordinary rapidity of technological change and the consequent effects on people. Slide37: Should Technology be Something that We Fear? or Enjoy?