Technology has always influenced the society in the world. Most of the things that people do, where they live and how they live, have been affected by technology. The influence of technology on society is evident in the civilization. Since the origin of the earth, a human has gone a long way along which he/she has invented new way of doing things. The inventions are termed as technology. They have brought reality in life; they have influenced relationships and means of production. Technology has made work easier through machines, it has made man cognizant of time factor, brought about capitalism and made man be a great thinker. Therefore, technology has changed how society lives and relates by affecting its means of productions and its relations of production.
Two great scholars; Marx and Hegel attempted to explain the influences of technology on society from the scientific perspective. To begin with, Marx argued that technology influences the economy of the people, the utilization and source of power, the way people think, live and do things. According to Hegel, "in every situation in history, there is a major question that needs to be developed". That means that every occurrence is questionable for human beings, and it is through the questioning that imaginations and emotions come up leading to inventions and discoveries that can otherwise be termed as technological advancements. The technological advancements, on the other hand, affect how people relate and how the live.
According to the arguments presented in Marx's works, he believed that technology brought reality into the world of humankind. His primary focus on reality was depicted through his argument on the economy. Marx argued that the economy of a place is determined by actual number of people working for that economy. In this case, the reality of the economy is referred to as technology, and it influences the way people will live because as the economy grows, people will enjoy better standards of living. According to Marx, "history moves in a material way". The text means that the change in history or civilization, every revolution that the world has gone through has been made possible by the material possessions that individuals have. From this explanation one can conclude that countries rich in natural resources have a rich economy that is made possible by the modes of production and the means of ownership.
On the other hand, Hegel argued that technology influenced the society through the real things that it presented to the world. To explain his ideas, Hegel came up with two phases; forces of production and relations of production. According to him, "Technology produces things in a revolutionary way and hence brings change". His argument was that the forces of production entailed the materials of production, which can otherwise be referred to as technology. The materials people use to produce things they use or interact with in the day-to-day world influence how those people will live, they shape society. “A good example is how industrial revolutions brought pollution and which has negatively affected the society”.
Additionally, Hegel argued that the technology influences human social interactions. He said that "How people interact, causes new technologies to be improved and how new technologies are introduced or enhanced changes how people interact". This is what Hegel referred to as relation of interactions. A good example of “how technology has influenced the society through the relations of production was how sizes of cities were influenced by the technology of that time with a major focus on cities in Europe”. A city, for example, ended up building many factories to process steel and steam. Such a situation led to a high number of people settling in the cities and cities began to expand. To be able to accommodate the people, high-rise buildings, better roads, for example, began to be built, and, due to increasing rates of crime, measures such as camera detection were invented. Additionally, how people interacted in marketplaces during the sale of goods was influenced by technology.
As the world began, people used to do all the things manually. However, with time they adapted the use of machines. Machines were developed as a measure to ease work which was a necessity at that time. The machines have influenced the society because they "modify the environment in such a way as to fortify and sustain the human organism". A good example is how people were already adapted to the cold, and they did not have clothes, but they survived. Instead of measures such as hibernation and environmental adaptations, technology reversed that through "the use of clothes and erection of shelters". Humankind can live happily owing it to technology.
In addition to making life a good experience for humankind through invention of machines, "the machines and tools were used to transform the environment by changing the shape and location of objects, utensils and apparatus, which are necessary in chemical transformations". They have affected such human activities as weaving, brewing and smithing among others. Therefore, machines and tools have changed the way the society does things including its economic activities.
In the early days, humankind did not use clocks and watches; people had their way of knowing the time and acting within time. A clock came through the Roman Empire where the church used it as a means to regularly monitor people’s actions. It was not merely a means of keeping track of the hours, but of synchronizing the actions of men. The invention of the clock influenced the societal evangelism. According to the author "it was a Christian desire to provide for the welfare of souls in eternity by regular prayers and devotions…".
After the invention of the clock, humankind was introduced to sixty seconds in a minute and sixty minutes in an hour. The society became more concerned and bound by time. "The popularization of time-keeping, which followed the production of cheap standardized watch…" changed the way human beings lived. They became more time observant and wanted to set time for the activities they were engaged in. At this juncture, when an individual found him/her spending more time on an activity than he/she had expected, he/she termed it as time wasting, a condition that had not existed previously.
A society developed, it came through different milestones successfully as more technology kept coming up and changing the society's way of living. Due to the relations of production and forces of production, which Hegel talked about in his arguments, human needed to learn new things, he/she needed to move and with the awareness of time, he/she also needed to recognize the distance. "One of the indications of this new orientation was the closer study of the relations of objects in space and the discovery of the laws of perspective and the systematic organization of pictures within the new frame by the foreground, the horizon and the vanishing point". People became more cognizant of the world around them. It is at this stage that they wanted to explore space and its contents. People came to appreciate distance and time because they were moving around the world including going to space. The societal way of living was influenced as phenomena such as photography, and law came up. At this juncture, technology had already influenced time-keeping techniques applied by man, trading activities and recognition of numbers.
Development of technology and its impacts on society is visible through the growth of capitalism in various parts of the world. The means of exchange changed, and some people, who posed to be clever than majority of others, ended up owning large amounts of assets. Eventually, they began controlling the society because the more of financial resources one had, the more power and respect he/she would be accorded. According to Lewis Mumford, "This was the rise of capitalism, and the change from a barter economy, facilitated by small supplies of variable local coinage, to a money economy with an international credit structure and a constant reference to the abstract symbols of wealth: golds, drafts, bills of exchange, eventually, merely numbers". The text shows how a change in the technology of trading from barter trade to the use of wealth symbols influenced human lives.
As symbols of wealth changed, "Time was money: money was power". By associating power with money, capitalism slowly set in. The society was already time cognizant, and everyone was rushing for the money within the time he/she had. Those who secured a lot of money became the controllers of the others, and they became rulers while those who lacked it remained in poverty and were subjected to oppression.
Finally, technological advancements made people recognize that there was a higher being that ruled the earth; it made them recognize and respect God. Mumford in his article wrote "Not merely did the first airplane, like that of Leonardo, attempt to reproduce the motion of bird's wings". Humankind began to understand the human and animal capabilities, and that guided the technology. It is in this sense that a car wheel was developed, by seeing how a log could roll, and then man interpreted that to something workable in moving equipment. Technology, therefore, made human recognize a spiritual being (God) and respect Him.
In conclusion, technology, as explained by Marx, Hegel and Mumford, has influenced the way society does things and how it lives. Technology has brought in place machines making work easier and causing a change in means of production. It has made people realize the importance of time through the invention of the clock. It has made them relate money to time and caused them to work hard to earn more cash. Technology has influenced leadership by capitalism and also influenced relationships by providing a good environment for them to be created and to thrive. It has influenced human’s imagination and creativity hence the never-ending technological advancements. Therefore, technology has changed how society lives and relates by affecting its means of productions and its relations of production.