Technology In Contemporary Society 2 After reviewing all of the learning resources for the week, respond to the following items: Integrating and citing at

Technology In Contemporary Society 2 After reviewing all of the learning resources for the week, respond to the following items:

Integrating and citing at

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After reviewing all of the learning resources for the week, respond to the following items:

  • Integrating and citing at least 3 resources from this week, what are some trends that we are likely to see in the future that will partner technology and government/policy?
  • Based on what you learned from this week’s resources, what impact has social media had on government, politics, and activism? Where has social media had a positive impact? Where has it had a negative impact? 

Remember to use your own words and your best writing skills. You may include external sources in addition to the Week 5 resources, but be sure to cite your sources, and provide a corresponding reference list.


Technology, Government, and the Law

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

Week Five

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)



Government: the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it



Politics: the art or science of government

Law: a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority

Are government and law forms of technology?



Both are social structures created to serve humankind

Both evolve as needs change


Why government?



Nomadic existence

Traveled in small groups

Everyone contributed to the welfare of the group

No need for a structured government or laws


Early Civilization

Agriculture and domestication of animals – allows for permanent settlements

Required many hands doing the same tasks

Natural leaders emerge in small groups and tribes

Technology leads to the need for government and laws

Technological advances in agriculture (e.g., plow) lead to better crop yield

Better crop yield led to population increases

More workers available to do non-farming work


Emergence of a

crafts-based industry

Craftsmen controlled their own yield (production)

Craftsmen had portable skills

Highly skilled craftsmen had higher status and were in greater demand – beginning of market economy

Motivated to innovate to stay ahead of the competition

Rules were needed to establish fair practices

Leaders were need to enforce rules


Beginnings of Government
and Law

Need for government to manage increasingly specialized society

Hammurabi code (1772 BCE) – King of Babylonia – 1st set of laws organizing society, establishing punishments for crimes (“eye for an eye”)

Required that all members of society agree to adhere to the law

Ancient Greece (8th – 5th C. BCE)

Birth of democracy

One man, one vote



What is the role of law?

Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE)

The “rule of law” is the principle that no one is exempt from the law

 “the rule of law . . . is preferable to that of any individual”

Image source


Ancient Rome (509-27 BC)

Cicero (106 BCE – 43 BCE)

All people have certain rights that should be preserved

Ancient Rome was a republic (representative government)


Rule of Law

The rule of law is a system of rules and rights that enables fair and functioning societies.

The government and all members of society are accountable under the law.

The laws are clear, just and are applied evenly.

Laws protect fundamental rights and freedoms, including the security of persons and property.

The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.

Justice is timely by competent, ethical, and is adjudicated by members who are representative of the community.

(Source: World Justice Project)

Adapted from:


When government functions properly, the rule of law is upheld.

Some forms of government, by definition, violate the rule of law (e.g., totalitarianism, authoritarianism).


Forms of government


Democracy is growing around the world…




…or is it?




Technology and Politics


Politics is the “art of government”

The process by which government leaders govern

The process by which government officials are selected and held accountable

Technology plays an important role in all aspects of governance


1856 – Australia first to use uniform secret ballots

1888 – Massachusetts adopts the secret ballot

1892 – first use of lever voting machine

1964 – first use of punch cards and computer tally machines

1977 – precinct-based optical scan system patented

1990 – FEC issues first standards for computer-based voting

1996 – first use of internet voting

As voting methods have become more sophisticated, many concerns have been raised about the reliability and security.

Voting Machine Technology




Media Technology and Politics

First General Election Presidential Debate (1960)

Much was made of Richard Nixon’s awkward onstage appearance in contrast to a more polished John Kennedy.



Technology and Politics

Some politicians have used social media to great effect…


Others…not so much


Are we voting for the best qualified politician or the politician who has the best social media presence?



Social media’s contribution to political partisanship

Social media appears to increase political polarization

Social media increases awareness of political issues among users.

Social media platform algorithms show users only content that agrees with their political views, confirming what they already believe (confirmation bias).

Messages with more emotional or moral content are more likely to be shared. Politicians know that using emotionally-laden content will improve their visibility, but this further polarizes audiences.

Question: Should social media platforms actively attempt to reduce extremism and polarization?




Government control and technology

Government oversight of technology allows for large scale projects to take place using public resources

May not be the best to advance the technologies it creates – market forces may do a better job

Uses regulation to generate taxes and fees, but also protects the public interest by controlling access

The Patriot Act: Response to 9/11

Government overreach or protecting national interests?

Allowed FBI to search correspondence and financial records without a court order

Allowed law enforcement to access business and financial records, including library activity

Allowed for searches to be conducted in homes and businesses without owner knowledge or permission

Food for thought…


Does the government have too much of our information? How much is too much?

Is our public safety worth sacrificing our personal privacy? Or is it our responsibility as citizens to volunteer information that the government needs to function on behalf of the people?

What role should the government play in restricting or granting access to technologies like the internet, social media, etc.?

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