University of Iowa

Authored by Brian Ekdale

Photo of Brian Ekdale
2/5/2016

Program tackles questions of technology

Some believe new technologies are powerful forces that dictate social, cultural and political relations. These “technological determinists” focus on the technology itself, questioning whether it produces positive or negative outcomes in society. Others believe people use technologies in ways that suit existing goals and interests. These “social constructionists” think about new technologies as tools that can be seized, adapted and appropriated by the public. While there is plenty of middle ground between these two perspectives, this dichotomy draws attention to a key question in the study of new technologies. Who has the most power: technology or people? This question, and how it has been answered throughout history and around the world, will be central to an upcoming WorldCanvass discussion, featuring University of Iowa faculty from Communication Studies, Journalism & Mass Communication, and Computer Science. The program, “Encountering New Technology,” will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Iowa City’s nonprofit cinema arts organization FilmScene on 118 E. College St. The program is free and open to the public.