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Cultural risks of technological innovation: the case of school violence

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2 Author(s)
Swearengen, J.C. ; Washington State Univ., Vancouver, WA, USA ; Woodhouse, E.J.

Affluent nations have instituted various systems for heading off some of the worst consequences that new technologies can pose for the environment and for human health/safety. Action to protect against sociocultural risks from innovation is uncommon, however, despite the fact that intangible aspects of social life are crucial in determining whether humans experience their lives as meaningful and satisfying. To help raise the visibility of the social risks of technological innovation, we focus on one small piece of this large domain: the application of technology to affect human behavior. To date, most applications of surety technology in schools have been designed to enable response to an undesirable incident rather than prevention by foresight, but that may be changing. Use of many of these technologies is controversial, yet the decision-making process allows some people to make choices that affect many others without their consent. Inasmuch as humans' peaceful coexistence depends in no small part on shared cultural norms and voluntary cooperative behavior, the rush to substitute technological fixes for the difficult, time-consuming process of social negotiation is a trend which thoughtful technologists will want to ponder

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Spring 2001

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