He constructed his argument using different factors. Within each reason he was able to clearly demonstrate the idea that “it’s not just technology effecting culture, but also culture effects technology. ” In one of his arguments he constructed, he stated “the present epidemic has brought us face to face with the startling fact that the sudden loss of horse labor would totally disorganized industry. ” With this example he made it clear that society wouldn’t allow the disappearance of horses, which is also the manipulation of technology.
He made many arguments like this demonstrating exactly how different major aspects in society affected the growth of technology. Machine’s argument of society shaping technology was clearing seen through his examples in chapter Five, The Failure of the Steam Automobile. In this chapter Machines describes the history of the steam automobile tracing back as far as 1805 with a forerunner of the Model -T called the Rooster Amphibole. The idea of the car was welcomed, but the product that people were seeing made society more skeptical. Steam automobiles were loud, heavy, and inefficient. People clearly would not stand for such a product.
The idea of cars burning bushels of coal per trip was unwelcome, as well as how arty the engines were. The perceived dangers of a steam boiler engine were one of the larger disadvantages contributing to its failure. The residents of the city did not trust the steam boiler engines on the account that under the wrong circumstances, they could explode resulting in fires that could take the whole city down. Machines stated, “like today’s airplane crashes, nineteenth century boiler explosions were spectacular and the fear of explosions was far greater than the likelihood of one actually occurring. As a result, people used these unrealistic theories to shoot down the steam automobiles. It wasn’t just society’s fear of the steam automobile that resulted in its failure, but there were also other driving forces within society. Turnpike companies feared the idea of losing business from the still very present horse transporting customers and thus charged steam automobile fares that would become unrealistic to afford, kicking the steam engines off the roadways. The fares were also charged due to the damage heavy steam automobiles did to roadways.
The businessmen of the area saw this effect and soon no one would want “steamers” on their turnpikes. Working with turnpike companies were horse-freighting companies with strong backing ho would also be involved in the steam automobiles failure. The examples displayed in chapter five are just a few of the many portrayed by Machines where he demonstrates the way in which society shapes technology. I believe Machine’s argument of society shaping technology is not completely true.
Though society may have some effect, such as slowing technologies progress as it was displayed in chapter five, the end result will be of technology shaping society. I believe the car, as a form of technology, shaped society in terms of the way people lived their daily lives. Technology changed society in a snowballing effect. First the car outnumbered the horse drawn buggy in popularity, which results in a smaller demand for horses. The repercussion was that one third of America’s farmland that was used to produce horse feed, now became available for crops which humans could consume.
Also the overall health of the city populations increased with the lack of horse manure spread amongst the roadways. Now with cars being the main form of transportation, proper roadways would be constructed. Roads made of solid rock based materials that would have a long-term lifespan. With new roadways came the proper design for runoff water systems, and he idea of proper road construction brought a whole new way in which cities would be built around roads. Proper roads resulted in a need for hired men to maintain them and traffic laws to be enforced.
As you can see the effect in which the technology of the car can be dwindled down to our present lives in which the car has shaped it to be. Another example of how technology shaped society regarded the automobile is through its status symbol. The cars first appearances in American society noted its ease of a suburban homeowner. They would be more likely to be recognized as wealthy if they owned the simple four-wheeled machine with n engine. Today many people in society judge others, especially on first appearance of their vehicle.
If you drive a luxury vehicle such as a BMW, he or she, must be rich. If you drive a two door Suzuki with 250,000 miles the person must be having a tough time financially. Neither of these judgments is always true. This idea is a demonstration of how technology has shaped society in the aspect of its social status. Furthermore, Machines cannot completely ignore the idea that technology shapes society as well. Developments, such as the solid road and drainage, would not have emerged r taken longer to be created if it wasn’t for technology changing society.
While Machines constructs an argument with many factors, it is not enough to succeed in disproving technological determinism. In many ways technology is the cause and society is its effect. Technology cannot keep growing without its effecting society and their behaviors. Even though Machines made an argument with the fear of losing horse labor and the steam engine, it did not succeed disproving that technology was shaped by society. Technological determinism has been proven through history and shows how technology shapes society.