Technological Determinsim

Technological Determinism holds that technology causes social change. This is reflected in the amount of people that no longer purchase hard copy books, illegally download music, as well as social change that is brought about by social networking.

The majority of participants of my Facebook survey (from earlier on in the course) felt as though it were easier to communicate with people over Facebook as opposed to in person because they feel more confidence online. Perhaps this is because Facebook provides an invisible wall of security: it allows you to ponder your responses prior to actually saying them (a luxury time that is not as long when speaking in person), allows you to use emoticons to express emotions, as well as allows one to say what they truly feel. Why is it easier to speak your mind online? Because it is less intimidating than face-to-face conversations.

This correlates with the Impact of Technology on the Family Unit because through this survey we were able to see how far “conversations” have come through the years. Formerly, we would chat with one other face to face because we had no other means of communication, other than on the phone, or hand written letters. In more recent days, we can see how communication technology has evolved from telephones, to cell phones, to calls on computers (video calling is available on Facebook), to even having Facebook available on your phone. Many families today often lack communication between themselves because family members are so preoccupied carrying conversations with their peers online as opposed to spending time with their families. As people strive to build conversations with their peers through media such as Facebook, relationships with families can often suffer.

Technology can influence a change in one’s morals and attitudes regarding themselves, their peers, and how one should act. The Ashe Experiment would support this notion, because its findings make it clear to see that people will often conform to pressure from those around them in order to feel accepted, despite the fact their actions might not follow their true feelings, morals, or values. The internet provides a large platform for people to conform to those around them, as it opens the door to internet users beyond those whom they know personally.

Have you ever illegally downloaded music?

100% of the peers who I surveyed admitted to illegally downloading music. The fact that everyone has access to illegal filesharing sites goes to show the impact that the music industry is facing, in terms of their loss of sales, due to the high percentage of people who illegally download their music.

How has illegal downloading affected the music industry?

The concept of illegally downloading music is something that has been an issue since the late 1990’s: when Napster, the first free music file sharing site, was introduced. Napster opened the world to illegal downloads. It set precedence for many more fire sharing sites that were to come, such as Mediafire, Hulkshare, etc.

Perhaps the reason why so many of us illegally download music is not because of house easy it is to do so, but maybe the price of music is too high. In his article “The Long Tail”, Chris Anderson explores the topic of current prices for purchasing music online through platforms such as iTunes, and compares it to the prices that each actual song should in fact be, based on the cost it takes to make, create, and distribute music through the internet.

On iTunes, songs can range from 99 cents to the recently upped price of $1.29. Is this price too high? I believe that the reason why so many people illegally download music is because of one of the following reasons:

  • It is easy to do – at the click of a button, any song can be downloaded
  • It is free – why pay for something when you could have it for free?

This brings us to the idea of technological change. Nearly everyone has access to a computer and therefore everyone has the ability to illegally download music. Despite various laws that are in place to combat the issue of illegal downloading and filesharing, the music industry continues to feel the impact of illegal downloading: millions of dollars are lost each year.

Illegal music downloads are a prevalent issue, but the impact of illegal downloads in general are also felt by filmmakers, publishing companies, etc. Nearly anything can be downloaded without purchase – this includes books, music, and even movies or television shows.

E-Books are an example of a technological change within the household, as many families now use E-Books as opposed to buying hardcopies of books. This, as well, has had an impact on book stores’ profit margins. A simliar affect has been felt by record stores, whose business is in high decline. This is because of how easy and convenient it is to purchase things online or electronically, as opposed to going to the store to purchase products.