Technological determinism is wrong

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Technology is often seen as the engine of social change. But this ignores the cultural forces and changes that enable technological shifts, as well as the fact that technology is often used to preserve the status quo, rather than usher in change, argues Lelia Green.  We have just experienced one of the most significant social upheavals in living memory. The COVID-19 pandemic made us review everything we took for granted: personal freedoms, community engagement, work, leisure, shopping, travel. It struck at the heart of consumer society, and it demanded to be taken seriously. And we changed: quickly, and dramatically.In the rich countries of the global north and its wealthy, educated, privileged outcrops, we have the luxury of looking back on the worst of the pandemic. There’s a sense that normal, pre-COVID, life is resuming, but the truth is we all experienced a huge cultural shift. Our societies changed, culturally, with unexpected speed. Some would argue that it was technology that e…

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