Technology and social change are connected in many ways. You can check on history and see that technological advances impacted institutions of family, religion, morality, and even marriage. It goes back to the early beginnings of man on how life changed with the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel. This shows how technology and modernization affected people in how they interacted with one another, gained and shared knowledge, and even how they see the world.
Sociology states that human beings have a desire to change, which is why social change will always occur. Social change occurs within the life of an entire community, not just in the life of an individual or group of individuals. Social change also happens when a society experiences a drastic change such as modernization caused by technological advancement.
Technology adoption has risen during the pandemic such as the usage of fintech, interaction with social media, shopping with e-commerce, and use of no-code development. No-code development is touted by Gartner as a driving force in business with 70% of new applications developed will use low-code or no-code technologies by 2025. No-code platforms are also experiencing rapid growth from Bubble, Adalo, and Webflow as more users and business rise from it.
As the Industrial Revolution changed how society worked, so did the digitization of our daily life. As no-code becomes more mainstream in the coming years, how will it contribute to social change and what can we expect from it? What kind of products and services can we do with no-code to promote positive social change?
William Fielding Ogburn is a sociologist in the 1920s published a theory of social change suggesting that technology was the primary driving force of progress but that it limited society’s response to it. Because his theory positioned technology as a primary cause of social change, it was considered a form of technological determinism theory. This theory assumes that the state of technology in a society determines the development of its social structures and cultural values. Ogburn argued that there are four stages of technical development- invention, accumulation, diffusion, and adjustment.
The stage where innovative technology is created. Inventions are added to the cultural base that wouldn't have occurred if society hasn't gained knowledge and developer expertise in a particular area.
The 2nd stage is where there is a growth of technology because inventions outpace the process. This speeds up the obsoletion of prior inventions.
This is the stage where there is a spread of an idea from one cultural group to another or another field. It brings inventions together from various fields and can be combined to create new inventions.
The last stage is where process by which the non-technical aspects of a culture respond to the invention. If there are irregularities or non-response, this creates a culture lag. Culture lag is when culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, thereby causing social problems and conflicts within a society.
No-code development uses visual programming which makes it easier for anyone to build an app, website, or software. Professional developers can also use it to reduce redundant tasks and let them perform high-level programming. With this kind of technology accessible to anyone, what are the possible positive impact of no-code?
Learning no-code is already a step toward building a better future. Major research firms have predicted that no-code investment will double from 2015. However, this can also be a tool to make information more accessible to anyone anywhere. It can be used to teach children in schools, empower a community or give support to a group in far-flung areas, No-code gives the power to create a customizable platform to serve a targeted group.
With no-code, you can create your own platforms to engage a niche group. Since you created that social space, you also have control over how to make it safer and more relatable to your target audience. Creating connections contributes to the Diffusion stage which pushes for crossover innovation.
Research and development are one of the initial costs of setting up a new product. Even in tech, this is one of the lengthiest stages of product development. However, no-code is time and cost-efficient. With visual programming, development time is reduced, and with minimal tools needed it’s not expensive to set it up. With these factors, more people are encouraged to test out their ideas and validate them with minimized risk. By doing this more, they gain more knowledge and have a chance to improve it.
We discussed how no-code can help advocacy groups and non-profit organizations in terms of external and internal processes. This means added efficiency on their part even with a limited budget and manpower. No-code can also be a vital tool for first-response disaster situations that utilizes tech in emergencies. An example of this was seen in Switzerland during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. #Ensemble19 webpage was set up entirely to help local small businesses that were severely impacted by the pandemic. It was a no-code app quickly set up on Bubble that connected local entrepreneurs to consumers and sell vouchers for greater liquidity in lean times, It was a resounding success since it earned USD$600,000 days after its launch.
Feedback is the core of improvement. Government protests are loud feedback on what may be lacking in society. No-code has been used as a tool to make information accessible to anyone at any time. Black Lives Matter found their no-code Carrd website embedded in social media and had a snowball effect to empower a larger group. No-code can be utilized to organize and mobilize a large number of people for a common goal.
We are entering a new phase of digital connectivity in a couple of years and we see this as another major shift in our society. No-code is all about the democratization of technology and the practicality of usage. When people are given the tools to create, we have more diversified content. When we have diversity, we can encourage communication, reflection, and discussion of the issues presented. Positive social change happens through Dr. Ogburn’s 4 stages and this happens when knowledge is gained and shared.
You may also want to read