1. (from Do Machines Make History?) Click here to view the Prezi presentation I made for the article.
Why didn’t most of the advanced technologies in ancient China get wide application in society? For example, the gun powder was primarily used to make firecrackers, not weapons; the compass was not used to explore the seas, even when they did, China didn’t sail the ocean on an adventurous attitude, let alone colonize any countries.
Reflections: This question is important to me personally as I am interested in Chinese history. I can think of some reasons after reading the article, such as the low cost of labor force and a low need for improving productivity; the lack of capitalism and the control of government. Although some technologies such as printing did get wide application and had a great impact on the society, they were not able to change socioeconomic order in a bit.
2. (from the introduction of Does Technology drive history?)
The author states that “society as whole becomes increasingly dependent on large, intricately interrelated technical systems.” The statement reminds me of an idea on which a game called “Watchdog” is based. It sets the background in the future Chicago where all the communication, security, electricity and servaillance is intrigued into one megasystem and the protagonist can hack into the system and see everyone’s file, what they are talking on the phone and watch every surveillance video. It’s really creepy. I cannot help but wonder if our society is moving towards this trend. Actually, as far as I know, some systems do connect, such as electricity grid, and they are all based on computers. Nowadays, our heavy reliance on web server to save our files/photos/data also prompts certain danger. So will the society pose some restrictions? What will happen if someone hacks into these systems?
Reflections: This question is important both personally and academically. It helps identify the social and equity issues of technology and through this question, I try to find a path to which future leads.