Technology Is a Double Edged Sword Paper
This course, and the video series it is centered around, explores intersections of scientific, technological
and social development. The purpose of the project is to enhance an engagement with this essential
idea. Through this semester, as the history of technology was explored, several themes relating to the
aforementioned intersection emerged. The prompts below relate to these themes which have often been
discussed in detail in class. Projects should be centered around at least one of these prompts.
1. Predictions on the future of technologies are often wrong.
2. Humans often do not understand how a technology works but that does not prevent them from
becoming very skillful at creating or using these technologies.
3. Changing weather and climate have often acted as a trigger for technological change, so what is new
about climate change now?
4. Discoveries or inventions may sometimes take years, decades or centuries to be put to use.
5. The success or failure of an invention is often determined by many factors that may have nothing to
do with how brilliant the idea of that invention might be.
6. Technology is a double-edged sword.
There is no specific type of submission that is preferred. Depending on the idea that is explored and the
kinds of arguments that are made, some students might like to submit a write-up. Others might like to
submit an audio-visual work. Some might prefer to express their thoughts through a cartoon strip. The
point is that students choose their preferred mode of submission. It could be either:
• an article, write-up, essay, report etc. (1000 words max., preferably around 500- 600), or
• a poster, or
• a movie (no more than 5 minutes)
• an artwork such as a cartoon strip or some other graphic idea, or
• something entirely different not mentioned above.
Again, the main point is that students get to decide their mode of submission. The only format not
permitted this semester is a presentation. The presentation method does not lend itself very well to zoom
sessions especially when most presentations are supposed to be 5 minutes or less. So submissions should
not be in the form of slides (power points, google slides etc.)
4 Content and Grading
For grading the assignments, two questions will be asked of each submission:
1. How clearly has the main idea been articulated?
2. How logically and how well has the main assertion been backed up?
Question 1 will carry 20% of the points. The remaining 80% will depend on how logically and how well
has the main point been backed up.
It is recommended (not required) that students work in groups. It is my experience that groups with
2 or 3 members work best. Some students might like to work alone. While there is no restriction on
working alone, it must be understood that generally, the quality of work from one student working alone
is substantially lower than if the same project was done by a group of 2 or 3 students. Having said that,
it must also be mentioned that depending on the type and form of project, in some cases working alone
might be better. It is up to the students to decide how they would like to distribute the workload – by
working in a group or on their own.
All students in a group receive the same score. There is only one submission for a group.
6 Submissions and Deadlines
Deadlines for the project are mentioned in the schedule that is a part of the syllabus. Please refer to that
schedule to keep track of deadlines.
The preferred format for submissions is PDF. However, acceptable formats include MS Word for writeups, and PNG, JPG for posters/artwork.
Movies must be uploaded to Youtube and a link to the video must be submitted as the assignment.
For any clarifications, please contact me during class, in my office, or by email (GBEVLI@CSUDH.EDU).
For the most part, students receive replies of their emails within a few hours. In some cases it may take
longer, but certainly within two business days.