Questions on Measuring Technological Progress



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Measuring Technological Progress

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Measuring Technological Progress

Human life has undergone technological changes that orient the adaptation of such beings in the evolving world. Human survival is initiated by the environmental changes that have seen human life-transforming from a natural dependent to structured means of production (Channa, 2020). Human society struggles to find means of food production and techniques that guarantee reliable economic and social sustainable well-being. Therefore, to achieve sustainable goals of food security and general well-being, human beings since the early ages of human evolution period, saw the need to invent better and more efficient means of production that solely depend on the human resources and inventory skills in the form of machines that would serve them in producing surplus produces from their daily means of production. Thus, in this discussion, we will look at the different perspectives on technological progress as discussed by Gerhard Lenski in his belief; of the centrality of the force of technological progress in promoting human civilization (Mota, 2019). The idea of Leslie White on cultural responsibility based on the energy controlling aspect will also be discussed to generate the contradictory perspectives between these two proponents and that of Alvin Toffler- holds that technological progress drives to the future shock, which is critically known as the simultaneous changes on the social and technological ground that brought challenges to human life. The holistic approach of this discussion is based on comparing the views of these characters in their approach to measuring the technological progress that saw the evolution of human life from ancient times to the present. We will also gauge the weight of each perspective and find which ones explain the fundamental aspect of technical development (Gingerich, 2020).

Human civilization is an aspect that, according to Gerhard Lenski, evolved under the driving force, navigated and initiated by technological advances, which closely relates to the factors that account for civilization. The technique of information acquisition is given recognition to the developed milestones in the technical view of the world. In his beliefs, human beings become technically advanced through the new information they acquire in their intermediate world and try to apply the information or skills in solving life problems. This perspective is guided through four stages of information acquisition that yield technological skills to the parties involved (Rajasekhar, S. (2020). The first stage is that which explains information as an inherent ability through the transmission of genes from one group to the next, which advances the same information to the actual-world application. In the second stage of information advancement, human awareness is boosted through individuals’ trying to understand the environment and make efforts to acclimate the changes they encounter. The third stage is a fact-finding stage that analyses the world experiences and nature as it influences human life. In the final stage, information is critically applied in language development, writings, and the general aptitude of creating symbols which is a fundamental foundation of human civilization. Technological development in this perspective was a motive to curb food insecurity through engaging people in physical work, especially during the hunter-gatherer period. Human beings applied technology of growing crops to obtain food like horticulture and engaged in organized agriculture that yields food in surplus; the community social order was developed and saw the division of labor in the society. Labor demand promoted the pursuit of technological advances in artistic progress and development in engineering and construction. The latter triggered the industrial revolution (Rajasekhar, 2020). Technology-enabled mass production of food and due to surplus produce, commercialized production was initiated, resulting in class differences among the people controlling the means of production.

Leslie White’s focus was on the aspect of energy. That, human strength is the basis for energy, and its harnessing and management is a cultural role of human beings. Leslie is guided by a five-stage approach that starts with the first stage, stating that human muscles can generate energy (Gingerich, 2020). Also, human beings are accredited to harness domestic animals’ energy generated from the livestock people eat and use the animals’ energy for transport and in wars as trooper’s steeds. The third stage reveals how human beings participate in the agricultural revolution to provide surplus food for energy generation. Natural resources like natural gas, coal, and crude oil are reliable primary sources of industrial energy that saw significant progress in technology. There is also the technology of harnessing nuclear energy to increase the energy supply for mega industrial productions as the technology developed. White’s ideal perspective is that energy production relies on human development skills in technological progress, which are the backbone for an industrial insurgency. In terms of efficiency, technological advances in energy production brought about improved power engines that could operate heavy engines efficiently (Channa, 2020). Therefore, due to the progress in power generation technology, the working energy of machines increased.

Alvin Toffler as a futurist and a criticizer of technological changes stands out as a journalist and a thinker that projected the idea of postindustrial changes that would affect the human lifestyle. In most of her quotes, she tried to explain the current world experiences that came as a shock. The concept of a future shock was a predictive idea that she explains that too much change would come quickly (Rajasekhar, 2020). This perspective resulted from technological developments that would come to be due to societal struggles for survival. Since human beings undergo enormous social and technological changes, the extraordinary lifestyle forces society to change into a “super-industrial” society. Society applies technology in daily life to deal with latter-day social problems. The agrarian, industrial, and postindustrial stages, beginning from the Neolithic error of agricultural inventions straight to the ages of brainwork, experienced significant changes in lifestyle among members of the society mainly through the development of a digital world, which in her perspective, this change negatively influences human life as people are left jobless. The postindustrial error is a period of automation and rapid manufacturing, and a computerized workforce saw a decrease in manual labor (Mota, 2019).


Ideally, the perspectives of these three proponents are all valid to the critical concern of technological progress. By measuring significant milestones in technology, we can therefore say that these characters’ attributes are similar in approach except that of Toffler, who perceives technological progress as contributing to future problems that would render human beings suffer. The idea of how the urge for finding new techniques that would solve life problems is traced to be rightly from the ages of human evolution and the rise of civilization that promoted human beings to come up with advanced innovations and inventions in the industrialized from analogical approach to what we experience today as a digital world. However, among all these facts finders, Toffler emerges with a realistic perception that we see even today how human labor is becoming useless as automatic machines occupy the workforce. Only those who have the skills to operate the advanced technology can be absolved in the workplaces.





Channa, S. (2020). Unit-1 Evolutionary perspective. Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.

Gingerich, E. (2020). Book Review: Future Shock 2.0. The Journal of Values-Based Leadership13(2), 25.

Mota, R. P., & Cunha-e-Sá, M. A. (2019). The role of technological progress in testing adjusted net savings: Evidence from OECD countries. Ecological Economics164, 106382.

Rajasekhar, S. (2020). Unit-13 Technological Determinism. Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.







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