Technology & Contemporary Life

Subject HPSC20009 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

January, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jan-2015 to 13-Feb-2015
Assessment Period End 13-Mar-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 30-Jan-2015
Census Date 06-Feb-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 27-Feb-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour leclture and 1.5-hour tutorial each on day - 27, 28, 29, 30 January, 4,5,6,9,10,11,12,13 February 2015
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Michael Arnold


Dr Michael Arnold

Subject Overview:

In this subject students will study a variety of contemporary and future technologies, and will examine the implications of these technologies for society, and for daily life. Topics covered include techno-utopian and dystopian visions; ethics and biomedical technologies; cybernetics, cyberspace, cyborgs and other 'cybers'; social networking systems; artificial intelligence; technology and crime; virtual reality; technology and the economy; privacy and surveillance; and technology and contemporary media. Students will participate in theory supported by many examples and 'hands-on' experience. Students who successfully complete this subject will be able to critically analyse and evaluate controversial issues relating to technology in the social context, and argue credible positions in relation to these controversies.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • identify and draw upon the major theoretical and philosophical discourses through which the relationship between contemporary technologies and society might be understood;
  • critically analyse and evaluate controversial issues relating to contemporary technologies in a social context, and argue credible positions, based on evidence in relation to these controversies;
  • form sound judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments;
  • develop skills in both writen and oral communication;
  • develop the ability to communicate and collaborate constructively in a group context;
  • demonstrate ethical integrity in learning activities, including ethical engagement with issues related to tehcnolgy and contemporary life.


A 1000 word essay, 30% (due 2 Feb 2015), an 800 word tutorial paper and presentation, 20% (due 3-13 February 2015) and 2200 word essay, 50% (due 27 February 2015)

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Science
Related Breadth Track(s): Science, Technology and Society

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