Social Identities: Technology Ideology


The evolution of technology in the past several decades has significantly assisted mankind’s progress through development, communication, travel and in executing tasks efficiently.

The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, wrote an editorial in August this year titled ‘Technology ideology’ that was published on Routledge.

In his editorial, Professor Ahluwalia highlighted that while technological advancement is commendable, it has a saturnine side often overlooked by many.

“We are all too aware of our technological dependence, as noted above, concerning the very machines we are using. The web has become a disciplinary tool for publishers, using the free labour of scholars as reviewers to function within strict and easily surveilled guidelines. Real or irrelevant ‘plagiarism’ is spotted automatically and punished, and the old form of essayistic writing is discouraged.”

He also highlighted that “‘digital revolution… has made the world one’, but ‘is fracturing and dividing’ the result.”

“Consider these numbers: in 1965, fewer than 12 materials were in wide use: wood, brick, iron, copper, gold, silver, and a few plastics’. Today, there is a comprehensive ‘materials basis to modern society’. The computer chip that enabled us to type this editorial contains more than sixty. New materials are taken as signs of progress. But the notion of endless growth and progress fails to acknowledge that unearthing these things is a drain on natural resources; we have a finite supply of the basic ingredients of modern material life, and potential substitutes rarely deliver equivalent quality (Graedel et al.,2015).”

Professor Ahluwalia’s editorial stressed that “In place of accepting an inner logic of technology, or accepting prima facie that its uses lead to greater efficiency, we need to interrogate the who, what, when, where, how, and why of each technology’s adoption and ask how its use can be controlled democratically.”

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