• Technology and Culture: The Dissemination and the Potential 'Lock-in' of New Technologies

      Leydesdorff, Loet (2001)
      How do technological innovations change the patterns of their cultural diffusion in socio-economic networks? Cellular automata enable us to show Arthur's (1988) model of a potential 'lock-in' of a new technology in terms of dominant colours on the screen. The 'lock-in' effects can be combined with local learning, network effects, and more complex dynamics. Recursive and interaction terms can thus be declared separately in the construction of a simple, but non-linear model of technological development and innovation. This enables us to specify conditions for a 'break-out' or a 'deadlock' between competing technologies. Using Axelrod's (1997) simulation model of 'cultural dissemination' as another network effect, it will be shown that the cultural assimilation of a new technology can co-evolve with the 'lock-in' of a dominant technology. This effect can be annihilated by the further development of the communication with an emerging dimension. Implications for technology and innovation policies will be specified.