Indispensable Technologies: Mapping the co-evolution of needs and novelty in the digital revolution
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This study aims to investigate the co-evolution of technology and needs. It takes a look at, firstly, how some technology becomes indispensable; and secondly, when this occurs. In order to accomplish this, the study builds a framework from the concepts of the diffusion of innovation, social construction of technology and the sociology of expectations; the framework is linked to various indicators which are then analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Finally, the cases are subject to a further qualitative comparison. The study reveals that, amongst other things, indispensability in general appears to be a complex interaction between meanings in social groups, the value respectively attributed to these as well as the degree to which the artefact is routinised.