Winston challenges the claim of existence of ‘information revolution’. The author supports his thesis with case studies of early development of various media forms including the telegraph, telephone, radio and television, computers, satellites and the Internet. The author argues that new communication technologies have continuously been suppressed to serve similar purposes of previous media. It is therefore argued that technology, as opposed to technology, is shaping media history. In conclusion, Winston states that new technologies are only released to the public when their disruptive capabilities have been significantly reduced.
The weakness of the book has to be the author’s overemphasis on communications innovations which operate on electricity. It is unfortunate that the long and detailed history of media technology presented by Winston mentions little of the postal system, newspapers, and popular press while these innovations have had great impact on society. Generally, this book provides a good read and is a source of great amount of information for students examining the social impact of technological change on human behavior.
This book gives an overview of a range of issues pertaining to human behavior and social environment relevant to social practice. The authors discuss the impact of various human environmental factors and how Interactions with these elements form and develop the character and lives of the people. One of these elements is technology as humans are interacting more and more with various forms of technology and therefore creating a growing dependence on it. Rogers states that although technology has indeed impacted society in a generally positive way allowing for increased efficiency and productivity in various aspects of people’s lives; it has also resulted in people becoming over reliant on technology. He describes people being enslaved by technology: unable or unwilling to function properly in the real world, with human interaction and other conventional social norms and instead turning towards various technologies to replace these interactions.
Although the author does indeed have a valid point in that people are increasingly turning to technology and using it as an easier replacement to more valuable social interactions, he does not acknowledge the fact that although this is true for a part of the society, a greater part simply uses technology as a medium to continue with their usual social behaviors albeit now they are not limited by some factors such as distance and time. Technology is simply a tool rather than a replacement. In this light then it is correct to say that technology has simply amplified the reach of already existing social norms, interactions and behaviors, therefore it cannot be said to have a negative impact per say, since it is but a vessel.
The author focuses on the continuous nature of technological change on people at the workplace. It reviews the issue of rapid technology change and how it has resulted in such workplace trends as knowledge workers, in-person service providers, telecommuters, self-led global teams and the digital migration of information technology. The author discusses on the social behavior change as workers increasingly become global citizen. There is a thorough examination of the rapid technological change in corporations on Human Resource Management. The author observes that technological change has resulted in realignment of HR functions and the gap between top management and the workforce is steadily reducing because of enhanced communication.
The author has a valid argument and his theories and observations can easily be seen in various organizations and institutions. Technology has made communication easier and more efficient: cutting out many of the middle men or stages that previously existed. This has translated into a work environment that is more open and communication both horizontal and vertical has been improved upon greatly.