Technology Assessment

Subject: Education
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1004
Topics: Teaching Philosophy

Performing research for technology assessment

Technology assessment refers to a holistic scientific, communicative, and interactive process designed to influence the formation of political and public opinion on the environmental and societal aspects of both science and technology (Baker & O’Neil, 1994). The process involves evaluating the various aspects of new technology to determine its possible impacts on both the society and the environment. An assessment of technology requires comprehensive research, which is a complex undertaking characterized by both questions and challenges. Critical questions border on the definition of the technology, its functionality, and impacts on both the society and the environment. Some of the challenges anticipated in such research include finding appropriate information that addresses the fundamental aspects of the technology. Finding relevant information is always difficult given the fact that the technology is probably new thus lacks appropriate research on some of its implications.

The key to answering all the questions and overcoming the challenges lies in studying and understanding the technology. Studying the innovation is critical since it provides one with the opportunity to understand the intricate aspects of the technology including its functionality, uses and possible benefits and drawbacks. Studying the technology would require experimenting with its important features to assess their efficiency and ability to undertake their works as assigned in the prototype. Similarly, interviewing key stakeholders such as the innovators would also help reveal some of the important information regarding the technology and its intended use. Innovators, users, and operators provide practical information as they describe their experiences and expectations with an innovation. For established technologies, looking for existing information on the internet would help avail important information. However, one must evaluate the authenticity of the information derived from the internet. 

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Difficulty in predicting use and effects

The innovation of the lead-acid batteries revolutionized the transport industry. The cells became popular with cars and other types of motor vehicles as they perform critical roles including igniting the engine. The lead acid batteries are therefore a critical component of vehicles without any potential alternatives. In fact, most innovators rarely criticize the batteries. However, most batteries have an average lifespan of between two and three years. With more than one billion cars across the world and the number increasing daily especially in the developing countries, the environmental effects of the lead-acid batteries remain understated. The lead in the batteries, heavy metals, and the Sulphur dioxide acid have adverse effects on the environment and the safety of humans. Attempts to recycle the batteries have little success owing to the danger arising from the components of the batteries.

Predicting the future uses and effects of the lead-acid batteries was difficult because of numerous factors. First, innovators prioritized the car. The battery thus became an innovation designed to improve the functionality of the car. No one gave a thought to the battery besides its relevance in powering a car. The increase in the accessibility of electricity further led to the manufacture of various electrical products primarily to rely on alternating current. As such, very few people concentrated on the direct current provided by the batteries to power any household appliances. Similarly, recycling is a new technological trend that arose from the decline in raw materials (Federici & Scherer, 2012). The abundance of raw materials to manufacture batteries thus encouraged the people to overlook the future uses and effects of lead acid batteries. 

Stakeholder analysis

Besides focusing on the technology, the assessment also focuses on the key stakeholders of innovation who include the financers, the decision makers, the users, and operators (Decker & Wütscher, 2001). Each other four groups of stakeholders are essential to the success and profitability of any technology. The deciders, for example, make both strategic and technical decision to adopt a technology. In assessing the group, the assessment focuses on the functionality of the technology, its perceived benefits, and potential effects. The group considers both the pros and cons of the innovation before deciding to either adopt or abandon the technology. Financers, on the other hand, evaluate a technology based on its perceived economic benefits. When assessing the financers, one must strive to establish how the technology seeks to meet the interests of the financers which may include profits and environmental benefits among others.

End users constitute the largest group of stakeholders. The group has numerous yet equally critical concerns that an assessment must incorporate. First, the group must derive some benefits from the technology. An innovation must promise to improve the quality of life for the users to adapt to the change. The second concern for every user is safety. Most technological innovation presents a degree of risks. The technology must present ways of concealing the risk thereby providing a safe and secure way of use. Cost is yet another fundamental concern that will influence the uptake of technological innovation. Finally, operators need to understand the technology. As such, the greatest focus on operators is in training. The group requires holistic training to enable them to understand the intricate aspects of the technology. Improving their understanding of the innovation is key to improving their productivity. 

Technology definition

Solar power technology is a critical technology that converts energy from sunlight into electricity. The technology entitles photovoltaic effects that rely on the photons from the sun to excite charge carriers in the solar cells to generate electricity (Bailey, 2014). The primary application of the technology is in the creation of solar panels for both domestic and commercial use.

The scope of the study will include the use of the technology in both domestic and industrial scales. Similarly, the study will cover the benefits, drawbacks and both the intended and unintended effects of the technology.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Bailey, S. (2014). Solar power: Technologies, environmental impacts and future prospects. New York : Nova Science Publisher. 
  2. Decker, M., & Wütscher, F. (2001). Interdisciplinarity in Technology Assessment: Implementation and its Chances and Limits. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.  
  3. Baker, E. & O’Neil, H. (1994). Technology Assessment in Education and Training, Volume 1. New York: Psychology press.      
  4. Federici, S. & Scherer, M. (2012). Assistive Technology Assessment Handbook. New York: CRC Press.       


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