Technological determinism is a reductionist theory that explains how society’s structure and cultural values are driven by technology. This concept, has gained relevance in the last two decades since most of the basic human social skills such as meeting new people or fostering existing bonds of friendship, have become activities highly mediated by technology.
According to some technology analysts and the companies that develop social network platforms, these technologies are effective tools that help to resolve the subjective necessity of promoting friendship or to seek new relationships. Their main argument states that people’s lack of time, society’s cultural changes, people’s new life styles and the growth of the migratory flows, have triggered the use of these social networks.
However, other authors claim that factors such as the lack of a real communicative interaction beyond virtual platforms, the low levels of trust created in online relationships and the e-commerce interface of the “matchmaking apps” for example, have created a technology with multiple flaws that can hardly address such social needs.
We are consumed by a technological deterministic rhetoric.
Considering the above mentioned arguments, some relevant questions might help us to put the concept of technological determinism into context:
- Should we assume a neutral point of view on the social, economic and cultural changes, social networking technologies are creating in our societies?
- Should we be more critical about the implications social networking technologies might have in our daily lives and in the way we construct our relationships with other people using such technologies?
- Are societies aware that the development of these technologies happens because societies organize themselves to give support and expand these technologies once they have been introduced?
- Are companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google delivering a technological deterministic discourse that leads us to believe that their technological developments have positive effects on society inherent to themselves?