Strides in Technology Credited for Societal Changes

Elmer Ayala
El Vaquero Staff Writer

New technologies create social change and the faster the advances in the technology ,the quicker society must change to keep up, said Dr. Sandy Boyd-Davis, associate professor of sociology, in a talk in the Chemistry/Math lecture hall Tuesday.

“The Effect of Technology on Societal Change” was the last lecture of the fall semester in the Science Lecture Series.

“As advancing technology increases, so man’s control over the world increases as well,” Boyd-Davis told an audience of more than 80 people. “The rate at which mankind produces this advancing technology has greatly increased since the rise of the industrial revolution.”

Boyd-Davis referred to a chart that illustrated the technological advances since the 11th century. Since the 18th century, the speed of change has advanced exponentially.

Boyd-Davis identified social change as “any significant transformation of social structures and sociocultural processes over time.” She said technological advances have radically changed hunting and gatherer, pastoral, and agrarian societies.

Although the sociologist discussed the general changes in society caused by technological advances, the main thrust of the lecture was those advances pertaining to the medical and/or health care fields, including the discovery of the germ, the importance of sanitizing medical tools, and the discovery of penicillin.

“Technology’s strong impact on society is often controlled by society’s recognition of the impact,” she said.

And indeed, our society has recognized the impact that technological advances have induced. We have observed the vastly reduced number of children who die at birth or in early childhood, which has resulted in increases in population.

Another advanced form of technology that has changed the medical fields the Internet. More than half of the users of the Internet are interested in medical/health related information. Web sites such as WebMD have greatly increased the knowledge available to patients.

Patients now go into their physicians’ offices with a stack of information that they have downloaded from medical Web sites demanding explanations. This creates more demands on doctors’ time. And, unfortunately many medical Web sites give information that is outdated and sometimes incorrect.

The purpose of the Science Lecture Series “is to inform the college population and larger community about the history of the sciences that we teach at GCC as well as cutting edge technology,” said Dr. Sid Kolpas, professor at GCC and director of the lecture series.