Let us try to picture the following scenario. As the sun slowly starts to fade and its heat marginally subsides, the front doors open one after the other as all the children charge towards the local park, their parents trailing behind, hands held by the youngest of the children. The air suddenly fills with the shouts and laughter of the kids. On reaching the park, all the children run towards the play area while the parents gather in one place to resume their previous day’s merriment. Everyone seems happy and relaxed, and each person has a reason to smile. This is what our parent’s youth was like. They spent their childhood playing with their age fellows rather than with lifeless computers. They did not have play stations, or Wiis’ or iPads, yet their quality of life seemed good enough. We seemed to be blessed with the gift of superior technology, which we often argue has improved our lives more than it has destroyed it, and the argument is not all that miscalculated. The use of computers and cell phones has grown at a staggering rate in the past decade. “Compared to 5.3 Americans who owned cell phones in 1990, the number shot to 302.9 million by 2010, almost every one of the US citizen. Also, when looking at the number of people in America who have computers in their homes, the ratio was 15 percent in 1989, and by the year 2010 about 77 percent of the American population had gained access to computer in their home with a large part of this population owning multiple computers rather than just one.” (Face the facts USA, America: e-deep in data to mine, Web) Technology has brought into our lives many improvements, and it has made our lives easier in many ways, but the pessimistic effects cannot be ignored. The morality and advantages associated with technology have been under debate every since it was first put to use. Let us explore how justified the debate is and the overall affect of technology in our lives. However, before we can proceed, let us establish what we mean to include while defining technology. Technology means the application of scientific knowledge to develop devices and machinery so that they can assist us in accomplishing tasks that we otherwise may find hard to achieve and that are meant to make our lives considerably easier.
The positive contributions of technology in our lives are quite staggering. Our time has been saved, and our lives improved manifold. It is because of the development of airplanes, jets and helicopters that so much of our travelling time can successfully be saved. Journeys that used to take days or even weeks on horses and camels can now be successfully completed in mere hours. In the accumulation to discounting time, the aircrafts have also made distances easier to cover which has provided us with the accessibility to the entire world. When looking at educational improvements, we see how the work of students has been considerably cut down because of the internet. Research work that used to entail appraising dozens of books in the library and several all-nighters could now be accomplished with ease in the barely hours because of all the information available on the internet. Technology is also known to have made the students more engaged in classroom work. A study by the University of New York also concluded the amount of time and how often students access technology. It looks into the ways students use technology to be connected to their studies even though they are not in a classroom. Technology utilizes the commute time and makes it fruitful (Regalado, Commuter Students Using Technology, Web).
In addition to speed, the internet also affords us quality of information, which is updated on a regular basis. In addition, the access to knowledge has been improved since students in classrooms can easily get in touch with students subsiding in other parts of the globe and exchange knowledge through video conferencing. “According to a report, about one in three American college students are taking or have taken online courses. In the year 2010, 6.1 million students took one or more classes online which accounts for the 280 percent increase since 2002” (Juan, Technology and Learning: Perfect Together? How Students Evaluate Websites, Sources, and Online Learning, Web). “The last decade has seen a dramatic improvement in technology and we have been unbeaten in finding ways to help people with disabilities. As of today, different applications are being developed to help the children and adults with writing and reading disabilities like dyslexia and dysgraphia.” (National centre of learning Disabilities, Apps to help students with Dysgraphia and writing Difficulties, Web). Conjointly, equipment like microscopes and the accelerators have enabled us to gain knowledge in the field of science that has never before been possible. In addition, the constructive machinery like telescopes and wide assortments of spacecrafts has lengthened our knowledge beyond our own world and beyond our solar system for that matter.
The role that technology plays in furthering our field of medicine is no less vital. Medicinal technology has increased the chances of survival for babies that are born prematurely or that are born with certain health issues. Several cardiac diseases have become easier to diagnose and treat due to the new techniques introduced in medicine including electrocardiogram (EKG) (recording of the electrical activity of the heart) , X-ray of the chest, and the Angiogram (imaging test that makes use of the x-ray imaging to study the blood vessels to and from the heart). “The use of coronary stents (artificial tubes inserted to keep the arteries open) has reduced the number of patients dying from heart problems to half the prior number. On top of that, people suffering from diabetes now have access to technology that can measure their blood glucose very accurately and this as a result has reduced the chances of a diabetic patient suffering from major complications like blindness” (Eucomed, How does medical technology benefits people?, Web). Along with everything else, advancements in the surgical field have reduced the recovery time of patients from several years to weeks. This has been due to the use of simpler and painless techniques like endoscopies and laser surgeries where the patient does not necessarily have to be cut open to be fixed. In conjunction with that, the risk of death of women in labor has significantly been reduced ever since the uses of modern ways of looking into the human body have been introduced. The doctors today can anticipate and prepare for any complications that may be expected to arise during delivery beforehand.
Technology with respect to communication has introduced us to contemporary ways of getting in touch with and communicating with people all around the globe, crediting to the social networking sites, e-mails and video conferencing applications. People are successfully communing with others without any concerns as regards to national boundaries. The increased communication has also made it possible for us to exchange cultural information. In addition, video conferencing software like Skype; Viber and Whatsapp have extensively reduced the cost of worldwide communication. When observing the improvements that technology has brought to the business sector, we see how data entry and backup software have eliminate the need to maintain extensive paperwork and enabled us to store information in data warehouses that could be accessed in a matter of minutes. The advent in the field of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s) has also provided us with fast and easy access to the world wide web, social networking sites and has also catered to our supplementary information needs with availability to us around the clock.
Technology has brought with it many vices that now are very hard to take control of. Myriad weapons in the hands of violent people is claiming many lives and spreading terror and dread among the masses. Very diminutive part of the world today is unexposed to the unfair and unnecessary use of the nuclear and the other weapons. The nuclear war has also given way to several health issues and mutations resulting in the birth of children that are deformed and even crippled. Furthermore, technology today has exposed the young to all the content that could easily be access by the press of a single click. This information also includes volumes of inappropriate content that the adolescents should not ideally be exposed to, which adversely affects their mental state and familiarizes them to inappropriate as well as violent content that inauspiciously affects their conduct. Additionally, the social networking sites today have exposed the teenagers and the adults to cybercrimes where others exhibit inappropriate behavior, and cause distress and anguish to their targets. In addition, the information that is exchanged through e-mails and chat messages could quite effortlessly become target of hacking and because of which sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands and easily be exploited. In addition, a small virus attack on the computer’s operating system could result in loss of information collected over extensive periods and could inconvenience those who maintain and employ the said information. “Technology has also engaged our present generations because of which, their minds aren’t free to concentrate on their surroundings and to people addressing them. This is what the great Albert Einstein had anticipated so many generations ago, hence his quote “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” We even see adolescents sitting in church busy with their smart phones and other devices.” (Brehl, The downside of technology, Web)
Where on one hand transportation and the industrial machines may have made our lives easier and more comfortable, they also exhibit a dark side. The waste smoke and gases that are emitted from cars and other heavy machinery pollute the air with carbon dioxide gas, which lead to harmful global impacts including global warming; and the pollution results in respiratory problems in people including asthma and allergies. Technology has also provided us with a source of entertainment, and it occupies most of our time. This leaves us with less time to spend with family and friends and, as a result, our social life suffers adversely. Families are, therefore, being driven apart and spouse relationships are suffering disparately. In addition, Technology has eliminated physical labor and has automated many tasks and doing so in turn has made us lazy and reduced our physical activity. Due to these advancements and lack of exercise, our health is deteriorating, and our average life expectancy is declining. Excessive use of technology is also depriving us of the necessary sleep that we require. “Recently, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a study where 95% of the people admitted to using electronics within one hour from going to bed and two thirds of the researched people admitted to not getting enough sleep through the week. Also, according to a study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association 6 and 7 year olds who spent most of their time in front of the television had narrower arteries at the back of their eyes and faced increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes during their adulthood.” (Health Ministries, reduce the adverse effects of technology in your family, Web)
Even though technology has its dark facets, its advantages outweigh the handicaps. It is however important that we do not completely ignore the downbeat characteristics related to automation. We could reap the full benefit resulting from the development of machines and at the same time, try to minimize the depressing side. The children should be administered for the use of electronics, and they should not be allowed to use them a few hours before bedtime. They should also be encouraged to participate in recreational activities so that they rely on less upon the electronic devices for entertainment. It is also of utmost importance that we educate our children regarding the risks associated with open sharing of information over social networking sites. The employers should also introduce policies refuting communication with employees after hours to promote fine health. In addition, the adults should take time to exercise in order to maintain optimum health. Sensitive e-mails could be encoded before sending them in order to avoid the risk of leakage of sensitive information. Additionally, websites that are sensitive should be opened with tips, which mean Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, as information sent over https, is more secure than over ordinary website. So, to what extent does technology have an impact on your life? What changes are you willing to make in your life to make technology beneficial for yourself and the environment?
Brehl, Robert. The downside of technology. 31 October 2012. <http://www.catholicregister.org/columns/item/15323-the-downside-of-technology>.
Disabilities, National centre for learning. Apps to Help Students With Dysgraphia and Writing Difficulties. 2012. <http://www.ncld.org/students-disabilities/assistive-technology-education/apps-students-ld-dysgraphia-writing-difficulties>.
Eucomed. How does medical technology benefits people? <http://www.eucomed.org/medical-technology/value-benefits>.
Juan, San. Technology and Learning: Perfect Together? How Students Evaluate Websites, Sources, and Online Learning. 19 November 2011. <http://www.nyu.edu/frn/publications/emerging.pedagogies/Gaab.html>.
Ministries, Health. Reduce the adverse effects of technology in your Family. July 2011. <http://www.nadhealthministries.org/article/81/resources/facts-with-hope/july-2011-reduce-the-adverse-effects-of-technology-in-your-family>.
Regalado, Maura Smale and Mariana. "Commuter Students Using Technology." 14 September 2014. EDU CASE. 2 November 2004 <http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/commuter-students-using-technology>.
USA, Face the facts. America: e-deep in data to mine. 09 June 2013. <http://www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/america-e-deep-technology>.