Social Technology

Social technology is a term so broadly defined that it becomes hard to narrow down or demonstrate the limits of.  It refers to a method of using both human and technological resources in order to directly influence social processes.

Historically, this type of phenomenon was simply known as social engineering, but as technology and social norms have evolved, the term social engineering has largely been abandoned. One of the primary reasons for that is that there are many negative conations associated with the term social engineering due to the history of its use.


Beginning in the early twentieth century, social engineering became heavily associated with the policies of the Soviet Union, and the political ideologies of socialism and communism. Karl Popper defined two different types of social engineering; utopian social engineering and piecemeal social engineering. Utopian social engineering is when the tools of social engineering are used in order to reach a type of ideal state, a perfect society where all the people living in it are happy. While this seems benign on the surface, creating this utopian society would require consolidating power into a centralized rule, leaving the vast majority of citizens are powerless. Attempts at this utopian social engineering have led to numerous atrocities being committed under tyrannical rulers. Piecemeal social engineering is when instead of trying to make a perfect world, social engineers focus on fighting against injustices, and righting the wrongs in society. This has evolved into the social justice movement that has become so prevalent today.

Overall, social technology involves using the resources available to us as a society in order to change the way that our society operates. This can be done a huge variety of ways, involving many different areas of study.

One of the most important of these areas of study is psychology, because it helps social engineers begin to make changes to the way that people think, and as a result the way that society as a whole thinks. Arguably the most important factor in beginning any attempt at social engineering is the education of the general populace.

Historically, one of the most efficient and effective method of oppressing a demographic of a society has been through withholding education all together. But today, the methods of social manipulation require a higher degree of subtlety.

So for the most part, the main uses of education in social engineering are in the manipulation of the actual information being used to educate. In the modern United States, the main focus of the educational system as a whole has become standardized testing. By and large, students are being taught only what they need to know in order to pass these tests, and the effects of this on our society as a whole are still not entirely clear. But it has changed the way that students learn how to learn, and what they do end up learning to a significant degree. Social technology is being used in a similar way in every aspect of day to day life, gradually changing the way that humanity views itself and the way we think we should live our lives.