I used to think so, but now I’m not so sure. Is it a naive assumption that ingorance = poverty = tyrany. Rome was the wealthiest society of its era. And to give Godwin its due right away, the Nazis had plenty of technology at their service.
Before there were machines to pick cotton, it was asumed that Black people were here to fill that technical function - and their social status was locked in place as well. I don’t think it was a coincidence that in the middle of the 20th century, as technology made them redundant as agricultural workers, Black people started to become aknowledged as human beings by Whites. When mechinization created surpluses, it increased public school funding for Blacks. As Black people became less ignorant, it was harder for reasonable Whites to assume they were inherently inferior.
I’m just using that example of technological change sparking social change. If you don’t agree with that one, discard it as you wish but I’ll bet you can come up with another.
However, as the spread of information technology has exploded in the last quarter-century, society seems to me to have become more conservative. Traveling over the internet, information should be freer, but the big decisions on how to use it seem to be in comparatively few hands.
Despite technology’s undisputed increase, did it also become more widespread? Did the wealth it created become more widespread, or is it unreasonably concentrated? What does it mean that instead of Lyndon Johnson declaring that our money will be used to fight poverty, Bill Gates declares that his money will be used to fight poverty? Taxpaying citizen vs profit-generating consumer, did I have anymore choice at the computer store than I did in the voting booth, allowing somebody at the top to use what was skimmed off the middle to do something about the bottom?
Is technolgogy like Art: a morally neutral force that may serve either end of the social spectrum, and anything about its “uplifiting qualities” is claptrap?