What is a “Techno-fix”?

I briefly mentioned in one of my previous blog posts the term “techno-fix” and defined it as “…something that addresses a symptom or side-effect of a problem but not the root.” As you can probably guess, techno-fix is short for technological fix and it can be further divided into three categories.

  1. Counter-technologies: these are created to deal with the negative repercussions of technologies.  For examples, specially designed boats that go out on eutrophic lakes to collect algal mats, the algal blooms probably resulted from pollution (which came from ‘other’ technologies).
  2.  Social-fixes: using purely science or technology to solve social-justice issues. An excellent example of this is increasing industrialised agriculture to solve the issue of world hunger, although poverty and hunger may not even be a cause of a global food shortage but instead of economic and political factors.
  3. Efficiency improvements: increasing efficiency only in increments.  For example increasingly the fuel efficiency of cars slowly with each new model is a marketing tactic more than an actual improvement.  It seeks to bring profits to manufacturers who can release multiple models, each with a slowly increasing efficiency to get more sales, as opposed to jumping directly to high efficiency.

So as you can see each of the 3 categories of techno-fixes don’t address the root of the dilemma.  If you’re interested in reading more about technology and the environment check out Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment by Michael and Joyce Huesemann.  It is also were I got these definitions.

Huesemann, Michael and Huesemann, Joyce. Techno-Fix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 2011. Print.

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