Science and Technology

Technology and it's influence on society...

How has technology shaped jobs in America? by Jeremy Badillo

Below are three photos of how the most common job in America has changed over the last 30+ years, from 1978-2014. The change in a large part has been driven by a change in technology. Notice the number of farmers decline over time to Trucker. The article discusses how the Truck Driver is harder for technology to replace. However, the next article discusses how a rise in driver-less trucks is starting in Europe. As the demand for higher educated jobs expands.

This is one example of how technology has impacted jobs in America. Some other questions to consider would be;

What impacts do you think this will have on the importance of education?

How does a country that is dependent on technology continue to expand, if it cannot meet demand for an educated workforce?

Should corporations gain incentives to educate their work-force?

As more information is transferred through the internet who should be responsible for ensuring the security of personal data?

If the government can support more STEM educational programs, should it? And who should it be accessible to?

NPR Most Common Jobs in America

Driver-less Vehicles

Ellis's Experience

My personal experience with science and technology has been different then a lot of peoples I’m sure, and similar to some others. Up until 2011 when I went to my local Goodwill to take a basic computer class I had never touched a computer before in my life. The class I went to a class that was one of President Obama’s programs where if you completed the basic computer class, and could show at the end of the class that you had an Internet connection you were able to purchase a refurbished computer at a much reduced rate. I completed the class and obtained a refurbished laptop which turned out to be a very good one. Later in August 2011 I was afforded the opportunity to go back to school through vocational rehabilitation as a displaced construction worker. One of the first classes that I had to take was an intro to computers class. I didn't do well in the class, and ended up having to withdraw from it. Even though I withdrew from the class I asked the professor to allow me to stay in the class until the semester was over so that I could try to learn as much as possible. I took the class over the following semester and received an A grade in it. In taking both of these computer classes at my local community college I found that due to the economy at that time there were a lot of older people like myself going back to school, and having to take computer classes in order to get caught up with the new technologies required to be productive again in the workforce. Now I am taking classes full time on-line, and even though I still struggle sometimes with knowing what exactly to do in regards to some of the technologies required in the classes I have done very well. I have found that if I don’t understand a specific required technology for a class such as the digital posters for this group project I have found that most professors, and classmates are more than willing to help. In taking classes in order to earn my associates degree I found that I was very good at science classes such as chemistry, and biology. While earning my degree I volunteered with the food pantry garden at my community college which was a part of SGA( Student Government Association), and helped to feed hungry students at the school nutritious food. I also ended taking some consortium classes at a local agricultural and technical university in the horticulture field. I came to find out that I am very with horticulture, especially plant nutrition. I am currently finishing my bachelors of science in horticulture on-line here at Oregon State University, and I am planning on going forward to complete my master’s degree work in plant nutrition and soil chemistry. I look forward to making a significant contribution in the field, and to society when I am done with my education.

In reading the other group members' experiences with science and technology it becomes obvious that we all have a different perspective about this issue. The one part of the issue of technology that I haven't seen discussed yet is the invasion of our personal privacy, and the extent to which the United States Government continues to spy on it's own citizens. I had truly hoped that President Obama would do something while he was in office to dial back some of the provisions of The Patriot Act. The fact that he didn't do anything other than to renew all of the provisions is very frightening.When you look at all of the data mining that is taking place by the NSA right now , and the fact that a high school droop out like Eric Snowden was able to completely bring their programs to their knees is very frightening. We all know that just because he chose to blow the whistle on what NSA was doing doesn't mean that they have stopped it any. More than likely they have probably just tried to improve their own security. The on thing that bothered me the most during the economic collapse of late was that used the time when everyone was focused on the deficit ceiling talks to push through a bill allowing the use of unmanned drones in this country. What are your thought's about the invasions of our privacy? Now that we have all learned about the three core perspectives in sociology which one would you use to describe our problems of lack of privacy in this country? Would it be functionalist, interactionalist , or conflict theory that you feel best describes it? Please let us know what your views on this topic are.

Personal intersections of Techonology, Jobs and Course Material by Jeremy Badillo

In the above post, the purpose was to explore how technology has shaped the job market in America during the last 30 years. Throughout the class, I’ve discussed my personal experiences and some of the following may be repetitive of that but I want to delve deeper. Hopefully those reading this will find my experience helpful in your own career choices and choosing your own path. In our text book, Sullivan discusses how "the fundamental fear of technology is that machines will replace people in the workplace." (pg 134) For me personally, right out of high school, I enlisted in the Navy; my job was as an electrician on a nuclear powered submarine. This job was extremely technical and not something that could be easily replaced by a computer. In fact, part of the job was operating the computers that ran the reactor. At the time, and still to this day, the nuclear power community in the Navy represents a very small population compared to the rest of the Navy. This training as well as my education through high school fostered something that employers, particularly in the technology industry, require such as critical thinking and problem solving.

I can see now that my personal experience and the lens through which I view others has been somewhat limited by my exposure to education and experience in the military. As discussed in the book "unemployment, underemployment and temporary or contract work have become a more widespread problem today than they were in earlier decades and that this is an especially serious problem among those who are least able to acquire work skills or advance their education: the poor, minorities, the young and women." (pg 135).

After I left the military I attended school for a BS in Mathematics. I did not complete my degree, but now have an opportunity to return to school and work on a B.S. in Economics. My company pays for half of my school and the military pays for the other half. I have always understood that I am very fortunate in this respect, to not only get a chance at college, but a second chance. Currently I am working for a telecommunications company.

After I got out of school, I had an option to go back in to the nuclear power field in Southeast Louisiana, or start working in sales. I started working in sales, and the service industry which taught me a great deal of personal relationship skills. Being able to talk to people to influence their decisions through sales and service was a major skill set I did not have growing up, although, I did do community service in high school as a Police Cadet for the San Mateo Police Department. I also have a motor-skills deficiency that I was diagnosed with while in high school. Through my experience with sales, I built a solid resume of sales experience, but always kept a technical understanding. It helped that I stayed working for technology driven companies. I've worked for my current employer for almost 4 years now. I started as a sales representative in a company owned retail store. After my wife and I moved to Atlanta, I was promoted to an Assistant Store Manager position.

The position I worked in was at a retail store in Woodstock, GA. "If there were a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet its furthest from." - Luke Skywalker. I often think about this quote when I think of Woodstock. The people were not particularly friendly and I would often hear them express frustration with their cell phones, tablets, iPads and home services. More often than not it was user error, and after attempting to explain the problem, customers would reply "I'm not tech savvy" or "I don't care just fix it." This unwillingness to learn goes back to the previous quote about peoples fear to embrace what technology has to offer. Most of them were frustrated with the $200+ phone bills they would have to pay and did not truly understand the power of the device they had in their hands. I would express to them "Mr. or Mrs. Customer, you're holding a hand held computer that has access to literally all of the world’s information in your pocket..." Often, our customers saw little value in what was in front of them. My job and the job of my sales team was to create value for them and teach them how to use the device. The most effective method of doing this was to share personal experiences with the devices.

Understandably, they were frustrated at their children's expectation to have an iPhone or an iPad. Many times I would see children act very rudely to their parents over a cell phone. One of my favorite lines to tell a customer was "If I didn't know how to drive a manual transmission car, I wouldn't own one." My point was to question why they are paying for something that is causing them frustration when it's unnecessary. I think sociology has offered me a very interesting perspective on this phenomenon, in that most people do not want to be excluded from their peers. They feel a need to adhere to social norms, and the values that surround them, if everyone else has an iPhone than they needed one also.

I should probably go back to the start a bit and mention that my high school was located in Burlingame, California. It’s a small city located between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The City had a population of 28,000, the median income for a family was well over $100,000 throughout 1997-2001. Growing up during the tech boom of the late 90's, I remember my 6th grade class was using AOL to connect with the International Arctic Project. We would communicate via through the internet and via satellites with the team that was exploring the North Pole. We were even featured on Good Morning America in 1995. Since then I was very much exposed to the internet, the good and the bad. From that point on I have always had a computer with an internet connection. The inequality of my situation was really driven home by the reading “Digital Inequality: From Unequal Access to Differential Use.”

“Social scientists and policymakers began worrying about inequality in Internet access as early as 1995 (Anderson et al., 1995), when just 3 percent of Americans had ever used the World Wide Web (Pew Center for the people and the press 1995).” (pg 102)

Science and Technology have always been at the forefront of my life and personal experience. The culmination of my experience has gotten me to where I am now. About a month ago, I left my retail management position and moved into a sales performance reporting position. My current job is as an analyst for one of the company’s regional marketing teams and chief of staff for the regional director. In addition to creating excel presentations and PowerPoint presentations. I am responsible for project management, database creation, strategy creation and implementation. It is a very different environment than what I did in retail, but it was my educational, job history and advantage of my status that has allowed me to get here. Going forward, once I finish this degree, I will continue my education. Additionally, I still have my background in electrical work to fall back on. Even at the point where I lived below the poverty line, I was still wealthier than most living under the same circumstances. I still had internet, still had a computer, and still able to feed myself most nights. My biggest take away from this class, is the privilege afforded to me. Not because only because of the perception of my race, I am half white and half Hispanic, but because my social class positioned me to have access to educational opportunities and digital experience most Americans do not have and for that I am grateful, but also feel a sense of responsibility to give back to my community.

Sullivan, Thomas J. "Chapter 5: Education, Science and Technology." Introduction to Social Problems. Tenth ed. Pearson Education, 2016. 134, 135. Print.

Paul DiMaggio, Eszter Harittai, Coral Celeste, Steven Shafer, and John Brueggemann. "Excerpts from "Digital Inequality: From Unequal Access to Differentiated Use." "Inequality in the United States: A Reader. 1st ed. Boston, MA.: Pearson Edncuation Inc, D.b.a. Allyn & Bacon, 2012. 102. Print.

Spencer's Expirience

Throughout my life I honestly can not say that I have really experienced any of the unfair expectations and opportunities in the science and technology fields. If I had to pick one thing that I have noticed though, it would probably be that generally men are expected to go into a science or math heavy career such as engineering, where women are expected to enter a career that is based on taking care of others. In my opinion, this has really added and worsened the “typical” gender stereotypes that much of our society enforces. I am currently a business major and music minor, but originally I came to OSU for engineering. Sometimes when I tell people that I’m just not very good at science and that I want to enter a career in business/music they respond by saying how that’s not “manly of me” or that I can’t be successful in those fields. Similarly to the other issues we have covered and discussed in this class, I think that this just adds to the immense social pressure when it comes to choosing a career and conforming to societies standards. I’m not saying you should rebel against society, but I do believe that you should pursue what you think is best for you, regardless of what society tells you. Overall, I think that society as a whole has become significantly more excepting of women and men pursuing careers that don’t fit their “gender roles”, especially the last few years with this new progressive movement of breaking down stereotypes and gender roles. Again, this is about the most I've experienced these social issues in science and technology fields, but I am sure that many of you (my classmates) have first hand experience of the unfair opportunities and pressures in the science and technology fields.

After reading through my classmates responses to our poster as well as going through and carefully reading about what Thomas Sullivan had to say about social issues in science and technology, I came to realize that throughout our entire life’s we are almost pushed in a certain direction from the start of our educational careers. “Tracking, or ability grouping, refers to the clustering of people together into classes or tracks within classes that contain students of comparable abilities or students with similar educational goals.’ (Sullivan, 409). As I was reading this passage by Sullivan a light went off in my head. After reading this I realized that for the most part, my entire life I was essentially being manipulated by the education system into what career route I should pursue. It’s not that they directly told me I need to do engineering, or business, but by the classes that they had me take (especially in high school) they were indirectly setting me up to pursue a career in a math heavy field.

I think that the biggest issue with this system of tracking is that it puts labels on students and in a sense tells them what they are and aren’t capable of achieving. “The danger in tracking, however, is that the track becomes a label that creates expectations on the part of both the teacher and the students regarding how well individual students are capable of performing.” (Sullivan, 409-410). By labeling students from a young age, we instill deep-rooted ideas in them of how to act, and perform based on what they believe they are capable of achieving. This will only lead to a lack of self-confidence because for many of them, they will have believed the lies that are only good at certain things and can’t be successful in different fields.

Another interesting statistic given by Sullivan that helps me back up my experience of gender inequality in science heavy fields is that “Although women constitute about 46 percent of the labor force in the United States, they are concentrated at the lower end of the status hierarchy…women tend to hold jobs such as secretary or receptionist, which provide relatively low income and prestige. The better occupations, such as physician or engineer, are help primarily by men… Some employers still prefer to hire men for jobs requiring technical or managerial skills.” (Sullivan, 184). As I stated in my personal experience with social issues in the science and technology fields, I felt as if there was a social stigma and pressure for men to enter science and math heavy fields while women should enter fields that are centered around taking care and helping others. Sullivan’s passage is a clear example of how there is still gender inequality in the workplace. Especially when it comes to men and women choosing careers that are socially acceptable or unacceptable.

Sullivan, Thomas J., and Kenrick S. Thompson. Introduction to Social Problems. Eighth ed. New York: Macmillan, 1994. Print.

Karen's Experience

Science and technology, a man's world I have been told time and time again. When I entered college I wanted to prove people that it is not just a man's world, but that women could compete too. Engineering, a career that deals heavily with science and technology, was the career I wanted. Since day one when I told people I wanted to go into engineering I got laughed at and told I would never be able to do it. I am now currently working for a large construction company and people still doubt me. Out on the job site I have struggles with people not listening to me because they just see me as a women and not a hard worker like my male coworkers. Every year more and more females choose to enter careers that deal heavily with science and technology and every year those females prove that anyone who sets their mind to it can accomplish anything. As I grow in this industry I hope more women become apart of it and strive to be the best. And as more women enter this industry I hope more males start to realize we too can compete with them.

As I’ve talked about in my experience above, I am female who is an engineering major (construction engineering management to be more specific). As many know, engineering is mostly made up of men, especially the CEM program here at Oregon State. Many people have laughed and have not believed me that I am an engineer and tell me I look like someone who would be a nurse or in business. In our textbook it goes on to talk about the functionalist perspective, and the functionalist perspective believes “education thus functions as a mechanism for placing people in various positions in society” (125). By judging me, people would think I was placed in the wrong position, but when they get to know me they soon realize I’m right where I need to be. Till more recent years science and math were always seen to be a man’s job and something women should stay out of. People who believed in this functionalist perspective would think that school for men would be science and engineering while school for women would be nursing. The conflict perspective believes that education is a resource, a valuable one at that. That the richer get more education because it benefits them more. Reading through classmates comments and posts throughout this course I would disagree with that. People have commented and told their stories of how it has not been easy for them to pursue an education. Some have had to sleep in their cars, some have gone without knowing when their next meal is going to be. But still they decided it was worth the time and investment to go to school and better their education. The interactionist perspective deals with how the student and professor interact with each other. Without any interaction, one may not know how they are doing or how they are performing. Once there has been some interaction, one can start to improve on whatever they are lacking. After reading the comments on education I believe we all have a mixer of the three perspectives. School can help us figure out where we fit in and what we succeed at, we go to school and pursue more education to use as a resource for the rest of our lives, and we need the interaction to benefit from school and learn the material we need to learn.

Sullivan, Thomas J., and Kenrick S. Thompson. Introduction to Social Problems. Eighth ed. New York: Macmillan, 1994. Print.

Lawrence's Experience

Science and technology has been apart of our culture for quite sometime now. From the looks of things it is not going to change anytime soon. People are going to continue using cellphones, computers and other electronic devices. Technology is huge in this world. With that being said people who don't have an education or personal experience dealing with technology will have a difficult time finding a job. Almost every job deals with technology. I personally would like to be a police officer. Police officers now in days have to deal with computers. They have them in their vehicles and even with the desk jobs. I need to obtain my degree in something in order to be efficient enough for the job title. As you go through college you eventually will deal with computers. When i graduate with my Psychology degree i will have a lot of experiences dealing with computers and other technology because colleges and schools today don't just use chalk boards anymore. They use smart boards and computers to teach the class and to take notes by students. My mom did not graduate highschool. Therefore when ever she applies for a job she does not get most if not just about everyone of them. With her not being educated in that certain area, she is not qualified for the job. If my mother continued to go to school and futhur her degree than maybe she wouldn't be in the situation she is in now. While going through my sociology class i realized the internet and technological world has been fair to certain people. Alot of adults in the old generation have to go back to school and learn about the new technological advances going on in the modern world. It's unfair to people who have to get jobs that require them to know how to use the new technology when they didn't have the opportunity. As Jeremy mentioned above. “Social scientists and policymakers began worrying about inequality in Internet access as early as 1995 (Anderson et al., 1995), when just 3 percent of Americans had ever used the World Wide Web (Pew Center for the people and the press 1995).” (pg 102) As technology grows so does the higher education level required rises. Paul DiMaggio, Eszter Harittai, Coral Celeste, Steven Shafer, and John Brueggemann. "Excerpts from "Digital Inequality: From Unequal Access to Differentiated Use." "Inequality in the United States: A Reader. 1st ed. Boston, MA.: Pearson Edncuation Inc, D.b.a. Allyn & Bacon, 2012. 102. Print.


1. What examples do you see in our society that discriminate in the science and technology fields?

2. What experiences do you have with social injustice and pressure in the science and technology fields?

3. What do you think we, as a society, should do to eliminate these social issues?

Buffett on technology replacing jobs