Das falácias: o determinismo tecnológico.

Vamos conversando sobre e das falácias. Desta vez - e sempre com a prestimosa disponibilidade do Conversamos?!... - sobre o determinismo tecnológico. Aqui vai:

"2.0 Structure of an Engineering (R)evolution

2.1 The Fallacy of Technological Determinism

Prof. Neil Gershenfeld is one of the research directors of the Things That Think consortium at the MIT Media Laboratory. One day, he was at theLab and found a group of students building a strange but interesting new demo:
“The only thing they couldn't tell me is why they were doing it. Once they realized it was possible, they could not conceive of not making one.” [8]
In his book, Inventing Accuracy, Donald MacKenzie encounters a similar attitude of inevitability [14]. He quotes some other authors writing on the subject of nuclear missile guidance:
Teams of scientist and engineers do and inevitably will discover ways of improving system performance.
On the issue of guidance accuracy, there is no way to get hold of it, it is a laboratory development, and there is no way to stop progress in that field.
The possibility of greater accuracy in targeting missiles led to the shift from the “countervalue” approach, aimed at cities and economic targets, to one aimed at specific military targets, i.e., “counterforce.”
McKenzie terms the notion that technology has a “natural path” independent of supporting social institutions, “the fallacy of technological determinism.” [14] What people often forget is that there are multiple possible paths of development; in this project history, the technology clearly traveled along more than one direction.
We find in this project history that different organizations, with different objectives, interested in different problems make, not surprisingly, different design choices. These forces have imprinted themselves visibly on the prototypes and products under study.
Unlike MacKenzie's example of ever-growing accuracy nuclear missile guidance, no one can mistake the problem of ascertaining whether one has made a simultaneously “fun” and “educational” toy—much less constructing one in the first place—for an easy one. Far from the seemingly inevitable escalation of nuclear conflict, the adoption of theconstructivist philosophy of education has been an uphill battle for the researchers in the Epistemology and Learning Group.
The academic and corporate engineers involved were guided not only by what they learned from design experimentation, but also through watching teachers and children use their toys. They were influenced by both organizational inertia (or lack thereof) and the quirks of end-user desires and adoption patterns. The “technological trajectory” of the Programmable Brick actually split off into several directions, including the LEGO Mindstorms product, the MIT 6.270 robotics competition kit, and the Epistemology and Learning Group’s Crickets [18].
The question is not, then, to merely disprove the “fallacy of technological determinism” and demonstrate how organizational goals and cultural factors guided the development of this technology. Instead, we will examine how the twin influences of people and technical fact intermingle and combine.
……………………………
14. Mackenzie, Donald. Inventing Accuracy, A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 1990.
LEGO Mindstorms: The Structure of an Engineering (R)evolution


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