Elijah Reponses:

Team 4

Question 2:

In note 10 of Noble's article (121n10), he states: "'Bottom-Line' explanations for complex historical developments, like the introduction of new capital equipment, are never in themselves sufficient, nor necessarily to be trusted….in the case of automation, steps are taken less out of careful calculation then on faith that it is always good to replace labor with capital….thus automation is driven forward, not simply by the profit motive, but by the ideology of automation itself, which reflects the social relations of production." What is the "ideology of automation" and how does it "reflect the social relations of production"?

My Response

David Noble’s, “social choice in machine design; the case of the automatically controlled tools” begins with the history of automating. He explains the difference of “Automating a machine tool is different from automating, say, automotive manufacturing equipment, which is single-purpose, fixed automation, and cost-effective only if high demand makes possible a high product volume.” 1 He explains the “automation of tools” as a tool enhancement for laborers. These enhanced tools assist the laborers for them to produce a higher quality product (and possibly in less time). The automated tools were considering as a tool improvement for laborers versus grind of manual labor for difficult task.
Noble defines automation, as a cost reduction. He partially explains automation as a reduction of cost by eliminating human error and labor issues. The sale of automation, the ideology of automation, stems from reducing or replacing human labor with technology. Noble’s critic of automation places the social issues of automation with developers of automation technology. He addressed the adaptation of certain automation technologies by government organizations that overlooked other technologies. Noble views these overlooked technologies as useful and less expensive. Yet, he alluded to this as a means of eliminating the smaller and weaker companies. A social division of those who have versus those of have not the financial means for automation. “Ideology of automation” to Noble is considered as a formula which enables the rich and powerful to become larger even more powerful than the small disenfranchised communities. Thereby, the division of the social classes had become greater due those who could afford automation verses those who could not. It also became a means of managing the lower class.

The salesmen pitch for improving the ability and performance of laborers, as the ability of creating a dependency of our laborer with the technology, reflect the social relations of production by creating a dependency of our labor force with the use technology for production.

“By taking advantage of that great human advance represented by the technical and scientific developments that increase human control over the labor process.” 2

Laborers dependence of for using mechanical technologies, removes human errors, but it also creates a larger dependence of the technology for our production. Do to the high cost of such technologies, scientist and engineers assisted in the division of social classes rather with our without their knowledge.

1Noble, David F., Noble, David F. "Social choice in machine design: the case of automatically controlled machine tools." In The Social Shaping of Technology. 2nd ed., edited by Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman, 109-124. Open University Press, 1999. pg 110
2Braverman, Harry. "Technology and capitalist control." In The Social Shaping of Technology. 2nd ed., edited by Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman, 158-160. Open University Press, 1999, page 159

Team 3

Question 4:

For Latour, eliminating the distinction between outside and inside the lab is essential for the project of laboratory studies. Explain Latour’s argument here and bring up any issues you may have with his conceptualization. Additionally, thinking back to Leviathan and the Airpump, did understandings of what is inside or outside the laboratory have an impact on the work of Hobbes or Boyle?

My Response

Latour defines an “inside” laboratory as a control environment used by scientist to manipulate their test and evaluation for producing a controlled result. An “outside” laboratory, creates a social realistic environment that enables uncontrolled forces the ability of impacting test result. As an example, the Pasteur's experiment during the observation of the anthrax virus, “Pasteur goes one step further and works in a makeshift laboratory right on the farm site.”1 This example explains the use of an outside lab provides a significant testing and evaluation influence. Although an outside lab is very useful, for problem replication, finding the results are not as easy. This however is the opposite for an inside laboratory. A scientist must create these influences for an inside laboratory. This is often a challenge for scientist, yet by reversing the outside influences the scientist are able to isolate their findings for what was manipulated. By using the inside laboratories, the scientist can understand each individual influence and observer their experiments by per item. The scientist control the item in the experiment by creating “Raw”, pure, artifacts therefore removing most if not all unknown influences. Latour comparison of an inside laboratory improves the accuracy for solution found in an experiment over an outside laboratory. Outside laboratories are of value for observation and problem replication. This gives the scientist a realistic view of the problem scene only outside the laboratory. In addition, outside laboratories act as direct social solutions to our society’s problems. Pasteur outside laboratory included the society of the area’s farmers with the scientist community. Unfortunately, the unknown elements prevent scientist from establishing accurate results. Hence to create accurate results, scientist must move the experimentation from an outside to an inside laboratory. “At this point Pasteur, having situated his laboratory on the farm, is going to transfer it back to his main workplace at the École Normale Supérieure, taking with him one element of the field, the cultivated bacillus.”2 Although inside experimentation has helps to improve the accuracy of an experiment, others may need to verify that the items within the experiment are not controlled to the point of over manipulation which will create false results.

As for Leviathan and the Air-pump, the physical location places the air pump within an inside laboratory yet due to the leaking of the air pump, the construction of the actual air pump is view as an outside laboratory. The leakage occurred due to issues with the small equipment components and construction, they acted as outside unknown influences. Latour writings conflict with Hobbes concept for creating theories without experimentation yet supports Boyle’s use of experimentation. Latour understood that scientist learn through controlled experimentation that explains the item under observation which may produce an unknown or calculated result. A result after repeated experimentation allows the scientist the ability to publish their results with a higher degree of accuracy with certainty.

1Latour, Bruno, Give Me a Laboratory and I will Raise the World, page 145
2Latour, Bruno, Give Me a Laboratory and I will Raise the World, page 146

Team 2

Question 1:

Identify the competing discourses of doubt/ support surrounding the nuclear missile in Hughes’s article, and describe the implications for the nuclear missile debate. What can this case tell us about the relationship between technology and society? Does this article introduce different approaches than we have seen in previous weeks?

My Response

The Evolution of Large Technological System, written by Thomas Hughes, speaks of difficulties and changes, “evolution”, scientific events with the systems development. His findings speaks of systems development from early as 1890 through the late 1970’s. Science began to evolve into a paradigm of technical systems. Hughes acknowledges the difficulties found during the technical evolution. “Technological systems contain messy, complex, problem-solving systems.”1 Although many of these systems included successful yet independent inventions, systems developers were challenged when combining multiple components as unified technological system. Hughes based most of his examples in the development of electrical systems. His observation disclosed the changes of development from a single person effort of an entire systems to that of multiple components. "Persons who build electric light and power systems invent and develop not only generators and transmission lines but also such organizational forms as electrical manufacturing and utility holding companies.”2

Hughes writing describes the success of systems as products which performed positively during evaluation prior to their release to the public. This concept of evaluation of systems based on the concept of the systems inventor which goes beyond that of the subcomponents inventors. The concept of testing systems for real-time environments benefits everyone, primarily the public. Although Hughes systems testing for accuracy appears beneficial, the development of nuclear weapons challenges his theory of the testing process. Hughes explanation for testing systems offers promotes the validation of systems such as those used by electric companies as a means for producing quality systems. However, Hughes theory is challenge greatly when considering the technologies regarding weaponized systems.

Donald Mackenzie article, “Nuclear Missile Testing and Social Construction of Accuracy”, describes the social and political debate of those who seek testing for accuracy of nuclear weapons. Mackenzie describes the issues surrounding the testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile [ICBM]. Mackenzie captured these events surrounding the political views in favor of testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons as a means to evaluate their accuracy.

The challenge mounted by "the Armed Services Committee was therefore this: testing the components of a nuclear missile system separately was not adequate to rule out the possibility that some feature of the way they were combined would prevent the missile from working.".”3
Although the opposition made strong validate points, the overall concepts for protecting the unknown through alternative testing, testing nuclear weapon systems without actual nuclear warhead along with the use of mathematical projections. This removes the obvious outcomes of nuclear testing, yet those seeking for validation of accuracy remain skeptical.

Nuclear Missile systems are consider a valid except of Hughes publishing. Although a high profile debate by both political and social groups, President John F. Kennedy and other politicians accepted alternative testing over the long term destruction of ICBM and nuclear testing. Mackenzie’s use of nuclear weapons testing is example of political and social views (Certainty Trough) which hinder the actual testing of a technical system. Although science is often driven by producing realistic result by true testing and evaluation, scientist address both political and sociological views as another problem for them to solve. As a result, previous scientist rely on mathematical projects to formulating testing for weaponized systems.

Although science is considered as an art-form with a high level of free will, scientists must acknowledge the views of society and act accordingly. This is a relatively new approach from our previous reading assignments, as here the scientist were operating in the role of employees with a purpose of creating a quality service for society. In addition, the voice of non-scientist are present as large stakeholders and those of authority. The social views of science are apparent as public knowledge of a technology is also present.

1Thomas P Hughes, The Evolution of Large Technological System, 1987, page 50
2Thomas P Hughes, The Evolution of Large Technological System, 1987, page 52
3Donald Mackenzie, Nuclear Missile Testing and Social Construction of Accuracy, 1999, page 343


Team 1 - Question 2:

The strengths and limitations of his evidence.
By referencing historical scientists within “Nature of Normal Science”, Kuhn is able to capture the attention of reader’s by acknowledging renowned individuals within their fields of science. Kuhn focus his observations with the works as examples of scientists, “Copernicus, Newton, Lavoisier and Einstein.”1 These historical scientists were discuss not only with admiration of their discoveries but also their defects. As the study of law, reflects on historical events and the interpretation of the law, Kuhn was able to reflect on historical science with the interpretation of a specific time period therefore highlighting the scientist findings. This discussion formed the revolution for accuracy of these historical scientific paradigms. These examples supported Kuhn’s view for relating the experimentation with funds, equipment and time periods. An all familiar aspect of any experiment depends on funding. As funding becomes available scientist are able to use or create the proper tools for their experiments. These tools then can impact the scientist ability to improve their experimentation beyond those of previous scientists who sought for solution(s) of the same problem. In addition, their interpretation of the normal sciences are based on their personal experience and understanding of science. Kuhn successfully described these improvements as he discussed the revolution of sciences. Scientists, during this time, challenged and revisited previous scientific findings. Their success included the additions of knowledge and understanding as well as the use of new equipment which supported their theories.

What are the types of science and the time periods he engages?
Nature sciences are grouped into areas in “astronomy—stellar position and magnitude, the periods of eclipsing binaries and of planets; in physics—the specific gravities and compressibilities of materials, wave lengths and spectral intensities, electrical conductivities and contact potentials; and in chemistry—composition and combining weights, boiling points and acidity of solutions, structural formulas and optical activities.”2 These sciences were abstracted from the sciences of mathematics and philosophy. In addition, other fields of sciences had historically and scientifically branched from the objects of nature sciences. Kuhn addressed these natural sciences as historical roots of other sciences. The relationship of these sciences addressed the fundamental practices, for all sciences, with an infinite time of seeking additional information that either supports a theory accuracy or creates a new paradigm of any science.

The revolution of science occurred during the Renaissance period. It is during this time scientist as “Priestley and Lavoisier both saw oxygen, but they interpreted their observations differently; Aristotle and Galileo both saw pendulums, but they differed in their interpretations of what they both had seen.”3 Kuhn explained how scientist viewed a single object based upon their personal interpretation due to the difference in time periods and their previous studies. Of these examples, Kuhn successfully explained the revolutions of science helped improve the accuracy of scientific theories with a notion of a continuance for improving accuracy through use of new technologies, experimentation as well as interpretation over time.

Are there certain areas of science or time periods that more effectively support his theory than others?

The Reissuances period impacted several scientific areas that supports Kuhn’s theory. Kuhn’s use of the Renaissance scientists effectively supported his theory. Although many others including today’s scientists, no other period had such a significant impact of a scientific revolution. It is the significance of rare discoveries which make their finding become a new or improvement of any scientific paradigm. The slow revolution of science offers several applications toward human sciences, as well as the reverse. As further studies of historical sciences and experimentation, human science inevitably changes due to those scientist who seek additional information or an improvement of their science accuracy. This is prevalent as new tools assist the scientific experimentations thus giving the human science a boost from previous and similar experimentation of the same science.

How applicable is his theory to the “human” sciences? (p. 6)
“That is why a new theory, however special its range of application, is seldom or never just an increment to what is already known. Its assimilation requires the reconstruction of prior theory and the re-evaluation of prior fact.”4 The success of NASA development of “New Horizon ”5 and its ability to stream imagery as far as Pluto, supports Kuhn’s theories similar to those found during the science revolutions. As new technology becomes available, scientists can prove or disapprove previous scientific theories based on historical scientific fact. The constant and every changing discoveries of new technologies supplies today’s scientist with a constant barrage of tools which will continuously supply their thirst for new or additional information.

1Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, page 6
2Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, page 25
3Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, page 120
4Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, page 6
5Fraser Cain, “How Long Does It Take to Get to Pluto?”, March 8, 2015, http://www.universetoday.com/119264/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-to-pluto/'

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