ARC 331 discussion board: TOPIC 01 (Due Weds., Jan. 17 at 11:59 PM CST)

TOPIC 01: What I Can’t Do Without

Responses to two colleagues’ posts due Weds., Jan. 24 at 11:59 PM CST; Requirements: (1.) do you agree with their assessment of this being an example of hard or soft determinism? (2.) On any one person’s post, be the first, second, or third response only.

Think about the conversation you had in your small group in class on Tuesday (questions below, if you’d like a refresher), in relation to the technology that you posted to Instagram. (And if you didn’t do the post yet, do it now!) In a short paragraph of 100 words or less, respond to the last question in the list below and then explain if your analysis is an example of “hard” or “soft” technological determinism, as described by Leo Marx.

When was this technology introduced?

What behaviors are associated with it?

Does the technology shape/influence those behaviors, or did the behaviors demand the invention of the technology?

53 Comments

  1. Reply
    Ryan Pickhardt January 16, 2018

    (MacBook, less specifically a laptop)
    Originally, our behavior needed convenience which shaped the invention of the laptop since desktops were too bulky, but our behaviors have slowly been shaped by the technology by our reliance on it. I would say that originally, laptops were a part of soft determinism since we did not need them in the past and that they helped guide us to reach better things. That has switched into hard determinism since we rely so heavily on them that we can not live without them.

    • Reply
      Eddy Kalinda January 20, 2018

      I agree with you Ryan , laptop can be defined as a computer that is portable and suitable for use while traveling. This was an invention that followed the creation of desktop. And in the past people were doing well with the technology of press printing. The only issue was having access to it easily and faster. So I believe that this type of technology is part of a soft determinism.

    • Reply
      Kyle Drenth January 24, 2018

      I like what you said about the the shift occurring from the need to having our lives change around the invention. I think that there was a need for computers/ laptops because archiving, sending, receiving data on a computer became more efficient than paperwork in many office settings in terms of storage and mail transportation. But then as time went on, our backpack capacity, school curriculums, and much more has been affected due to the invention. I agree that there is this shift from soft to hard determinism.

  2. Reply
    Eddy Kalinda January 16, 2018

    Behaviors demand the invention of the technology in this case. A fact is that human needs something to carry or to put in their belongings, therefore the need of inventing a backpack came alive.

    I would say that it is a soft determinism because it places technology on human needs.

  3. Reply
    Deyglis Castillo January 17, 2018

    Credit cards were designed to create customer loyalty and improve customer service, later they were meant for a way to help people with unexpected or emergency payments, and today they are used to pay for just about anything that you can think of. They are a convenient way of paying for things specially if making purchases through the internet, but this technology has changed/influenced the behavior of people causing many people to be in huge debts while it has caused others to become rich off of interest fees and because of this I would consider this a soft technological determinism.

    • Reply
      McKenna Kritsch January 22, 2018

      It would seem that the credit is in fact a technology of soft determinism. It progressed as something of convenience and has maneuvered as something that is almost a necessity. While plenty of people around the world are able to function with out any credit card, in our society it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy any sort of home or car or apply for a loan without credit history. I would argue then that it has developed into hard determinism because we cannot be trusted by banks without the external force of good or bad credit score. Our choices are slowly being removed because of the necessity fo the credit card.

    • Reply
      Morgan Dykema January 22, 2018

      I agree that the credit card started off as soft determinism because it was just a variation on how we used money. There was already a need for the technology. I think it later turned into a hard determinism when it started to shape the way that people live. Like you mentioned, people started to change their behavior and gained lots of debt because of the cards. The behavior is influenced by the technology.

  4. Reply
    Daniel Becker January 17, 2018

    The Technology of the bicycle was invent in the early 1800’s and was designed by carriage makers. The Bicycle has many different uses ranging from hobbies, professional sports, and functionality. However all of these categories line up with transportation. The bicycle was created to transport a single person from point A to point B using nothing but gravity and human power. The urban sprawl of towns created a need for a more efficient transportation need but horse-drawn carriages were already in use filling this need. I would say that the invention of the bicycle influenced the behaviors of people as it was only an addition to the technology of transportation.

    • Reply
      Rebekah Matson January 22, 2018

      I agree that the invention of bicycles was hard determinism. Before the invention, people were already able to transport from one spot to the next. The bicycle is a more efficient form of transportation, but people would still be able to get to new locations without it. I like how you included the different uses of the bicycle. By doing so, you showed how the invention has lead to the new human behavior, since it’s used in more ways than its original intention.

  5. Reply
    Kate Davenport January 17, 2018

    Compared to many other technologies, contacts are a relatively new invention. I believe that certain human behaviors and needs lead to the invention since we have had access to glasses for many centuries before contacts were even thought of. Some of these behaviors require having the ability to see clearly as if with glasses, but not be obstructed by them resting on your face or being worried about damaging them. This would be considered hard determinism because an already existing technology caused a person to develop it further and change glasses into something that was more convenient for the user.

    • Reply
      Randy Renteria January 21, 2018

      The argument here, in my opinion, is debatable. I agree with contacts being a technology that has been developed from glasses to make clear vision more convenient. However, in the perspective of those who depend on contacts for their profession can be seen as soft determinism. For example, professional athletes rely on contacts for their vision in competitive sports. Without contacts, they would not be able to perform at their highest level. Although in a perspective of an individual who uses contacts as a preference, I would agree with it being a hard determinism.

  6. Reply
    Joanna Daniyam January 17, 2018

    A power bank is especially beneficial. Not only can it charge your devices when you are not near an electric socket, but it is portable and has multiple ports for charging several devices at a time. I believe in this case, the behaviors demanded the invention of the power bank, because of the need for power on the go. I would consider this as hard determinism because we had ways of charging our devices with electric sockets, but with further development in technology, power banks became the efficient and convenient means for charging devices.

    • Reply
      McKenna Kritsch January 22, 2018

      I think I would counter this argument because the technology of the power bank does not determine whether my device is initially charged nor does it dictate where/ how long I can be away from the primary source to charge. Considering it instead as a technology of soft determinism means the use of my devices life does not depend on whether or not my charging bank is with me when I go out. I can just as easily leave my home with my phone fully charged and choose to keep apps closed, etc., while I am out to prolong the phone’s life. If I have the convenience of the charging bank, awesome- but if I am without it, I can still use any one of my devices.

    • Reply
      Eunice Slanwa January 22, 2018

      I understand why you would consider this as hard determinism, however, I see it as soft determinism because it is people’s need to charge their phones and other devices that inspired the invention of the power banks. Nowadays people use their devices in public more than they did in the past, substituting conversations with scrolling through social media; hence the need to frequently charge them.

  7. Reply
    Daniel Bitner January 17, 2018

    The pen is an invention that was invented in the medieval times as the quill pen. It has been transformed many times and is used today in many many forms like ballpoint and rapidograph. The human behavior of needing to be able to write on a surface quickly and easily developed the pen to change over time. Eventually different needs for pens like calligraphy led to different styles of pens. Human behavior shaped the invention of the pen over time to make it easier to write and to create more styles of writing, therefore this technology is soft determinism.

    • Reply
      Daniel Becker January 22, 2018

      I agree with your statement that pens have changed over time. Pens have developed to become easier to use and make like you said. However, the overall need for a product for people to write with has been an underlying need for society for centuries which I believe makes it also a hard determinism.

    • Reply
      Parker Done January 23, 2018

      I would say that the innovation of the pen, or specific type of pen, would be soft determinism. However, I think that the invention of the pen itself is hard determinism since there was no precedent.

    • Reply
      Kyle Drenth January 24, 2018

      I agree in saying that this invention is an example of soft determinism since there was a need for inscribing information upon a surface. This need can be traced all the way back to cavemen paintings. This need for transferring information has evolved over time with many different medians with each version also changing our lifestyles of using them. Im not sure if everyone thought it was convenient to carry a weather and ink jar in their pocket back in the day but everyone seems to easily carry a mechanical pencil with a clip.

  8. Reply
    Rebekah Matson January 17, 2018

    The technology of headphones brought forth the behavior and overall reliance on headphones. Before they were invented, there was not really a need to individually listen to music. Since they have been created, people rely on them and their portability. Now, people can listen to music everywhere they go. Whether it is on a bus, in a work space, or at the gym, people can listen to music without bothering others. With that being said, Leo Marx would consider the invention of headphones to be hard determinism.

    • Reply
      Randy Renteria January 21, 2018

      I can agree with your statement. Headphones are a hard determinism because it is only one way to listen to music. People can listen to music without headphones, however, the technology does have its perks such as listening to music without bothering others. Music, in my opinion, is quite necessary in my life. Headphones allow me to enjoy my music, but I do not need them to listen to music.

  9. Reply
    Davis Burchett January 17, 2018

    Watches became commonly worn in the 17th century. They were not commonly worn until the 17th century. The behaviors associated with watches are promptness, professionalism, and as their utility has faded, fashionable-ness.
    I think that in this case, the technology has demanded these behaviors. The ready availability of accurate time has allowed for incredibly tight schedules, and the rapid pace of business that has lent to our ideas of what professionalism is, and has made promptness paramount. They became fashionable simply because everyone had one. One this issue, I am a hard determinist, as I think that the technology demands the behaviors associated with it.

    • Reply
      Kate Davenport January 22, 2018

      Davis, you explain very well how watches and the need to easily tell time and keep on schedule is due to hard technological determinism. I’m not certain on the exact history of watches and clocks, but I understand that many people in history relied on the sun and sun dials to determine the time. Do you think that if the ancient civilizations had access to portable watch technology at that point in ancient history, that human behavior associated with time in current day would be the same then?

    • Reply
      Parker Done January 24, 2018

      You say that the watch changes people’s behaviors by allowing for tighter schedules and more rapid business, but I wonder if it could also be said the other way around. It seems likely that a more rapid lifestyle prompted the invention and popularity of the watch.

  10. Reply
    Connor Brown January 17, 2018

    The first phone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. At the time, it was a relatively new technology that was considered a luxury. They were not absolutely necessary since there were other forms of communication like telegrams and mail but it offered more convenience. Thus, our behavior shaped the technology. However, phones have evolved with more vital functions in this century that are inconvenient to live without. Therefore, this should be classified as hard determinism because it is starting to shape our behavior.

    • Reply
      Deyglis Castillo January 22, 2018

      I agree with the phone invention being classified as hard determinism. Ever since the so called “smart” phones came out it has become inconvenient for a lot of people to live without a phone. It does not only serve the purpose of communication nowadays, it serves multiple functions, besides the different types of communication (phone call, texts, emails, etc.) it now can also function as storing [important] information, navigation, entertainment, paying bills, etc. making it very easy to depend on.

    • Reply
      Eunice Slanwa January 22, 2018

      Connor, I agree with you. I also think phones are an example of hard determinism because they have influenced and changed people’s behaviours. It is almost impossible to live without a phone, especially in highly civilised societies such as America. For example, a lot of official documents and events require you to give your phone number.

    • Reply
      Sam Barber January 23, 2018

      I agree with this analysis of the telephone. It seems that the phone has moved over the years from soft determinism to hard determinism. The invention of the smart phone has totally changed the way people use their phones. At first phones could have been considered a luxury, but now they are definitely considered a necessity by most.

    • Reply
      Ryan Ayres January 24, 2018

      I agree with your point of how human behavior shaped the technology of the phone. Its also interesting though how much phone technology has changed, and now provides functions different from direct communication. I think today, phone technology shapes our behaviors now because we rely on our phones and become more distracted with it because of the different functions. It has definitely changed our social interaction with each other.

  11. Reply
    Morgan Dykema January 17, 2018

    I believe for the refrigerator the behavior of the people demanded the invention. Before the refrigerator people used something called a cool pantry, located on the northside of the house with one small window to keep food cold or fresh overnight or until the food was being served. After that the Ice box was used and this became more common. The refrigerator was just an improvement on an already used technology. According to Leo Marx this would be a a soft technology determinism. This is because the fridge was created because there was a need to keep food from perishing.

    • Reply
      Davis Burchett January 21, 2018

      While I agree with your diagnosis for private family use, I’d like to play devil’s advocate and argue that when you look at how refrigeration technology has been used in the industrial sector, it could be seen as hard determinism. The creation of refrigeration essentially invented fast food restaurants, as food could be either partially or wholly prepared in a factory, and then frozen and shipped to a restaurant where the final preparation could be achieved in a few minutes. As this was a development inspired by the possibilities of refrigeration, I think this is an example of when the availability of a technology shapes behavior, i.e. hard determinism.

  12. Reply
    salem baqais January 17, 2018

    Eyeglasses were invented around late 13th century and early 14th century. Originally, glasses were always used by people that have problems with their vision when they were reading or wearing it every day, which actually makes glasses as soft determinism. However, nowadays, glasses are not only used by people that actually need it, they are also used by people that don’t need it, but they wear due to a certain style that they want. Thus, I think when people wear glasses for their vision’s needs that shows that the technology is used for people’s needs, On the other hand, when people wear it for stylistic looking reasons, this shows that the behavior influences technology.

    • Reply
      Eddy Kalinda January 20, 2018

      I guess I understand your point Salem but you mentioned both hard and soft determinism in the second and last line of your post. Would you clarify which one you support.
      Thank you

  13. Reply
    Ryan Ayres January 17, 2018

    The invention of the water fountain and plumbing was an invention through which the behaviors demanded its creation. Throughout time, people have had the need for water in many aspects of their lives. This called for people needing direct access to water in the quickest and easiest way possible. Although the behaviors demanded this invention, it also influences behaviors in the the way its used now that the access to water is easier. I would say this is hard determinism because the need for water is essential and the call for it to be accessed without leaving a house or building was needed.

    • Reply
      Daniel Becker January 22, 2018

      I too would agree with your analysis Ryan. As buildings developed so too did the need for mechanical and plumbing improvements. However, this new technology did influence behaviors as people desired to have the next best thing. One example of this is a simple shower. In today’s built context a shower comes standard in every home however, the quantity and quality of the shower is different for everyone as it’s their personal prefrence.

    • Reply
      Joanna Daniyam January 24, 2018

      I do agree that the behaviors demanded the invention of the water fountain. Water is an essential part of our lives, whether used for drinking, in households, for industrial use or even for recreational and environmental activities. I agree that it is hard determinism because water is vital and being able to access free and clean water in public spaces, is convenient.

  14. Reply
    Randy Renteria January 18, 2018

    Footwear has been around as long as civilization. I believe the behavior of individuals had brought the need for footwear in their everyday activities. Behaviors such as getting from point A to B, and work requiring proper footwear brought the need for protection of our feet from elements. Over the years our needs have progressed and foot wear has progressed in relation to our needs. Today footwear is now being used as more than just the need for protection, additionally, it is used for fashion. Nevertheless, footwear still serves as protection to individuals which leads me to believe that footwear is a soft technological determinism.

    • Reply
      Ryan Pickhardt January 22, 2018

      Footwear is worn everyday and is almost REQUIRED to be owned, does that make it hard determism if we dont have free will to wear or not wear footwear? If you were to go into a store without any shoes they would kick you out since it is essential. We have no free will to wear shoes or to not wear shoes in that situation making shoes hard determism. Yet in the summer we can choose to not wear shoes and be completely fine.

    • Reply
      Morgan Dykema January 22, 2018

      I agree that footwear is a soft determinism because it was created for the need that people had. You had mentioned that it was needed to protect our feet but in today’s society I think a lot of footwear is being used for fashion. This isn’t to say that these shoes won’t still do the job and protect your feet but I think the main concern now a days is the style or look of the shoe. It is not so much about the function of the footwear anymore. A new design comes out and that influences people to change their look, making it hard determinism.

    • Reply
      Kate Davenport January 22, 2018

      I definitely agree that everyday practical footwear can be considered to be soft technological determinism, but I think today more than ever, many styles of footwear are simply chosen due to fashion choices. It would be interesting to look and see at what point in history did footwear go from being practical and necessary to being a fashion choice and a way to express one’s self.

    • Reply
      Sam Barber January 23, 2018

      I agree with this statement. I think that most people would consider shoes soft determinism, this is because most people would probably consider their cars or their phones more of a necessity than shoes. Although, in some ways shoes might be able to be considered hard determinism because it is basically impossible to get from point A to B without them.

    • Reply
      Ryan Ayres January 24, 2018

      I agree that footwear was needed because the behaviors of people called for its invention. It can also be said though that footwear also influences certain behaviors because now people can perform certain tasks or do more rigorous activities because of the protection.

  15. Reply
    Kyle Drenth January 18, 2018

    My choice of technology, being the contents on my keychain all were designed for a certain task and need that developed. The keys and small tools I carry on my keyring have specific uses such as unlocking locks and cutting things. The invention of the lock was made in 1848 and was designed so that possessions could be secured. Knives and various other tools were developed specifically for each task whether that be cutting, screwing, grasping, etc. These technologies are considered to be soft determinism since the behaviors and needs brought forth the introduction to the invention of the key and various tools.

    • Reply
      Rebekah Matson January 22, 2018

      I agree that the contents on a keychain are an example of soft determinism. The keys and tools are something that people would need to take with them to complete various tasks. Therefore, the behavior of needing to carry each one individually brought forth the reason for the invention. Making them all small enough and in one spot was a way to make out lives easier based off the actions people were already taking.

    • Reply
      Ryan Pickhardt January 22, 2018

      Your choice of technology is a very old choice, but also something that we have overshadowed with much more complicated pieces of technology. These tools are absolutely soft determinism because there was a need, and it was met by the invention of them. You basically have soft determism holding soft determinism since the key ring is also soft determinism. We have the choice to put them on the ring or not.

  16. Reply
    McKenna Kritsch January 18, 2018

    I had posted about transportation in general; the ability to travel anywhere on whim (finances permitting) has progressed. Beginning with the horse, developing into the drawn carriage then the bike, then the car and the way boats grew to cross larger bodies of water and planes get us father faster, etc., the introduction of transportation began with the basic need to move according to the availability of necessary resources. I would describe the different forms of transportation as a technology with hard determinism because of the way human behavior relies on the ability to move from one place to the other. I think these behaviors largely influenced and demanded the progression of this technology.

    • Reply
      Daniel Bitner January 21, 2018

      Transportation, as you said, has transformed over time. At first I didn’t think that it was a hard determinism technology because excessive means of transportation of planes are not needed for human behavior. However, the idea of transportation is something that was shaped by human behavior and the need to move around. As the technology advanced and the means of transportation improved, human behavior wasn’t changed, it was simply easier to go farther distances for different reasons.

  17. Reply
    Parker Done January 18, 2018

    My technology was an electric shaver. I figure that the behaviors of people influenced the invention more than the invention shaped behavior, although an argument could be made for the latter. By my understanding of what a soft technology is, this is a good example. Obviously, people have been shaving forever so there has always been some form of a razor. However, as people realized that an electric version of the device would be more efficient, this invention was developed.

    • Reply
      Deyglis Castillo January 22, 2018

      I agree with the electric shaver as being a soft technological determinism. I don’t believe that the technology has shaped people’s behaviour but the need for a more convenient, faster, and perhaps a safer way of shaving has demanded the invention of the electric shaver.

  18. Reply
    Sam Barber January 18, 2018

    The technology that I chose was the lightbulb. The lightbulb replaced candles that were previously used to light homes and other buildings. The lightbulb, became so much more effective than previous methods of lighting that it allowed people to change their daily schedule, and to continue working late into the night without being limited by natural daylight. At first this technology might have been considered soft determinism, because it was probably only used by the wealthy, but today it would definitely be considered hard determinism, because lightbulbs are something that people today would find almost impossible to live without.

  19. Reply
    Eunice Slanwa January 19, 2018

    Outlet adapters were invented because different parts of the world design their technology differently. With increase in globalization, technology developed in one country is sold globally. Having adapters makes it possible for people to use technology that was designed outside their country. Also people travel with their technology from one country to another. Adapters make it convenient for them to do so. People’s behaviors demanded the invention of this technology. If you are not traveling, you might not understand the need, or appreciate the simple, elegant engineering of outlet adapters.

    • Reply
      Eunice Slanwa January 22, 2018

      Addition to previous post: I believe this is an example of soft determinism as described by Leo Marx.

    • Reply
      Joanna Daniyam January 24, 2018

      Outlet adapters are simple connectors that enable our plugs to fit different outlets. Outlet adapters are definitely essential and convenient, especially when travelling to another country and you need to charge your laptop or even a phone. I agree that the behaviors demanded the invention of adapters. I would say that the adapters were initially part of the soft determinism, but with the increase in travel from one country to another and the need to operate devices with different plugs, it would be considered hard determinism now.

  20. Reply
    Davis Burchett January 21, 2018

    I think your argument makes a lot of sense for soft determinism, I’m kind of confused as to why you concluded that it represented hard determinism. You seem to point to the ubiquity of the technology, which is not an argument for hard determinism. To argue that the lightbulb is hard determinism you would have to point to specific behaviors that were caused, or at least only possible because of, the advent of electric lighting. Some examples of these might be 24 hour stores and restaurants, or light shows at pop concerts.

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