While technological progress is generally considered a beneficial necessity, historically it has not always been met with open minds. Throughout history, technological change has often meant that traditional societal roles and means of existence are often completely transformed and/or eliminated altogether. Such was the case of the Luddites of the early 19th century who took to rebellion in an effort to maintain their way of life. Their motivations can be seen among similar groups today as modern technology attempts to simplify and automate our way of life. In this activity you will explore the existing and potential negative effects of technological change and how it has and will shape current society.
After reading a brief history on Luddism and Its Discontents and performing a brief internet search, answer the following:
- Briefly discuss the origin and motivations of the Luddites of the early 19th century.
- Do you think the Luddites were successful in their endeavors? What could they have done to better influence the role this technology would have in their lives?
- Are there economic, social and cultural motivator present today that are similar to those that gave birth to Luddism? Give an example.
- How is society shaping and be shaped by these changes today?
- Learning from history, what can we do to ease the transition of technological progress?