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The Interactions of Science and Technology and Society Introduction The COVID 19 pandemic that is raging across the world today has overshadowed long standing global issues like poverty climate change environmental degradation and war crimes COVID 19 just like the other global issues are multidimensional in nature Dealing with these problems requires perspectives that involves many aspects One perspective that may be used is the STS perspective It simply says that problems plaguing our society have interacting social and scientific technological dimensions Solutions to these problems are therefore combinations of social and scientific technological aspects as well STS as a perspective is very basic compared to the real models used in analyzing global issues It is a good start however in doing away with the one dimensional point of views that is still very popular among common people STS as academic subject aims to enable students how to make logical analysis of the interactions of science technology and other parts of society thoroughly assess the social impact of science and technology and propose practical ways how to live the good life in both personal and communal contexts This module serves as a starting block for a whole new learning experience in the interdisciplinary field of STS Discussion STS as an academic field focuses on the interactions between science technology and other aspects of society It should be noted that science and technology are parts of society as well The development of science can partly explain why the interactions in STS are quite natural At first technology and science were not related Technology which refers to both a process and a tool preceded science by millions of years developing through trial and error In short there is no systematic intellectual activities involved in technological development in the early parts of human history Intellectual activities became organized under philosophy The branch of philosophy that focused on natural phenomena was called natural philosophy Science became modern when it transitioned from scholastic to empirical approach Scholastic approach is the generation of knowledge based from previous ideas of intellectual authorities On the other hand empirical approach is the generation of knowledge through observation and experimentation or through the scientific method Philosophy actually helped science become modern with philosophers defining what science is and what is not Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes in the 1600 s adhered to science being the process and product of what is known now as scientific method Today the matter of what qualifies as science and its essence falls under the philosophy of science Modern science paved the way for remarkable interactions with technology The first significant application of science in technology is in the improvement of the steam generator by James Watt in 1770 s Since then science and technology became interactive and inseparable thus the present term S T The interconnections among science technology and philosophy are shown in the diagram Figure 1 below Figure 1 The links between Science Technology and Philosophy interactions in STS is simply due to science and technology being conducted in the society as shown in Figure 2 As shown in the diagram the whole box is the society Science and technology are within it Society is composed of other elements like institutions faith economy politics and many more In a strict sense science and technology interacts directly with some specific parts of society in different periods of time These interactions are often far reaching it shapes the whole society including its different parts like science and technology themselves These interactions are possible because of the people The History has so many events that show the interactions between science technology and other aspects of society One of the historical events that still have repercussions today is the dropping of atomic bombs in Japan in the late stages of World War 2 It started when Albert Einstein in collaboration with other scientists suggested to President Roosevelt in 1939 the development of nuclear weapon The development was dubbed as the Manhattan project The bombs killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians Since then nuclear capability became a tool in the global politics This is one example of how science and technology greatly influenced politics in a negative way In the lighter side however the Manhattan Project also paved the way to the rapid development of nuclear science which produced many beneficial technologies in medicine and energy generation Figure 2 Interaction of Science Technology and Society The staggering loss of human lives during the two world wars was actually one of the reasons scientists and philosophers contemplated on developing an academic field which is STS They knew that the huge death toll in the world wars were due to the modernity of the war technologies The people behind STS hoped that loss of human lives due to technology may be prevented by analyzing the dynamic interactions between science technology and other parts of society Knowledge generated from this could be the key to understanding and solving the problems in society Another thrust of STS is technological assessment to show the effects of new technologies to society especially the negative ones STS hopes to influence government policies and the society as a whole with scientific information on the unwanted effects of technologies so that laws and regulations can actually be at par with the development of technology The Philippines for example was not able to promulgate anti cybercrimes laws promptly Information technology started to dominate the Philippines as early as 2000 but the government was able to enact the anti cybercrime law in 2012 only STS was first offered in 1969 in the US STS as a field of inquiry centers on interaction analysis between science technology and society and technological assessment for now but it will always be relevant due to the simple fact that society is becoming more dependent on the ever advancing science and technology STS role in shaping government policies will certainly become more significant in the future Summary STS looks into the interaction between science technology and other sectors or aspects of society The interactions is based on the fact that science and technology are parts of society Science and technology started as

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IET Lucknow STS 12 - The Interactions of Science and Technology

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