After reviewing all of the learning resources for the week, respond to the following items:
- Integrating and citing at least 3 resources from this week, what are some trends that we are likely to see in the future that will partner technology and government/policy?
- Based on what you learned from this week’s resources, what impact has social media had on government, politics, and activism? Where has social media had a positive impact? Where has it had a negative impact?
Remember to use your own words and your best writing skills. You may include external sources in addition to the Week 5 resources, but be sure to cite your sources, and provide a corresponding reference list.
Technology, Government, and the Law
BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society
Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)
Government: the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it
Politics: the art or science of government
Law: a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority
Are government and law forms of technology?
Both are social structures created to serve humankind
Both evolve as needs change
Traveled in small groups
Everyone contributed to the welfare of the group
No need for a structured government or laws
Agriculture and domestication of animals – allows for permanent settlements
Required many hands doing the same tasks
Natural leaders emerge in small groups and tribes
Source: World Academy of Art & Science – http://www.worldacademy.org/forum/landmarks-emergence-individuality-western-civilization
Technology leads to the need for government and laws
Technological advances in agriculture (e.g., plow) lead to better crop yield
Better crop yield led to population increases
More workers available to do non-farming work
Emergence of a
Craftsmen controlled their own yield (production)
Craftsmen had portable skills
Highly skilled craftsmen had higher status and were in greater demand – beginning of market economy
Motivated to innovate to stay ahead of the competition
Rules were needed to establish fair practices
Leaders were need to enforce rules
Beginnings of Government
Need for government to manage increasingly specialized society
Hammurabi code (1772 BCE) – King of Babylonia – 1st set of laws organizing society, establishing punishments for crimes (“eye for an eye”)
Required that all members of society agree to adhere to the law
Image Source: http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/hammurabi-headpiece
Ancient Greece (8th – 5th C. BCE)
Birth of democracy
One man, one vote
What is the role of law?
Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE)
The “rule of law” is the principle that no one is exempt from the law
“the rule of law . . . is preferable to that of any individual”
Image source http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/84/87984-004-5ADE9ACA.jpg
Ancient Rome (509-27 BC)
Cicero (106 BCE – 43 BCE)
All people have certain rights that should be preserved
Ancient Rome was a republic (representative government)
Rule of Law
The rule of law is a system of rules and rights that enables fair and functioning societies.
The government and all members of society are accountable under the law.
The laws are clear, just and are applied evenly.
Laws protect fundamental rights and freedoms, including the security of persons and property.
The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
Justice is timely by competent, ethical, and is adjudicated by members who are representative of the community.
(Source: World Justice Project)
Adapted from: http://worldjusticeproject.org/what-rule-law
When government functions properly, the rule of law is upheld.
Some forms of government, by definition, violate the rule of law (e.g., totalitarianism, authoritarianism).
Forms of government
Democracy is growing around the world…
…or is it?
Technology and Politics
Politics is the “art of government”
The process by which government leaders govern
The process by which government officials are selected and held accountable
Technology plays an important role in all aspects of governance
1856 – Australia first to use uniform secret ballots
1888 – Massachusetts adopts the secret ballot
1892 – first use of lever voting machine
1964 – first use of punch cards and computer tally machines
1977 – precinct-based optical scan system patented
1990 – FEC issues first standards for computer-based voting
1996 – first use of internet voting
As voting methods have become more sophisticated, many concerns have been raised about the reliability and security.
Voting Machine Technology
Media Technology and Politics
First General Election Presidential Debate (1960)
Much was made of Richard Nixon’s awkward onstage appearance in contrast to a more polished John Kennedy.
Technology and Politics
Some politicians have used social media to great effect…
Others…not so much
Are we voting for the best qualified politician or the politician who has the best social media presence?
Social media’s contribution to political partisanship
Social media appears to increase political polarization
Social media increases awareness of political issues among users.
Social media platform algorithms show users only content that agrees with their political views, confirming what they already believe (confirmation bias).
Messages with more emotional or moral content are more likely to be shared. Politicians know that using emotionally-laden content will improve their visibility, but this further polarizes audiences.
Question: Should social media platforms actively attempt to reduce extremism and polarization?
Government control and technology
Government oversight of technology allows for large scale projects to take place using public resources
May not be the best to advance the technologies it creates – market forces may do a better job
Uses regulation to generate taxes and fees, but also protects the public interest by controlling access
The Patriot Act: Response to 9/11
Government overreach or protecting national interests?
Allowed FBI to search correspondence and financial records without a court order
Allowed law enforcement to access business and financial records, including library activity
Allowed for searches to be conducted in homes and businesses without owner knowledge or permission
Food for thought…
Does the government have too much of our information? How much is too much?
Is our public safety worth sacrificing our personal privacy? Or is it our responsibility as citizens to volunteer information that the government needs to function on behalf of the people?
What role should the government play in restricting or granting access to technologies like the internet, social media, etc.?