Technology: Ally, Not Antagonist

February 2, 2018
By Anonymous

Many people say that technology is dangerous and that it leads to nothing but the downfall of society, yet, many of these naysayers are not aware that 92% of all currency is digital- over 50 trillion dollars. This means that were we to stop developing this technology, we would be taking away something of great value. Potentially, this will lead to not fully realizing major opportunities, such as connecting to others and exploring new frontiers. Money is incredibly important, and technology is the lifeblood of it, as these ideas thrive on new developments. This, along with the countless other advancements made in technology is furthering our lives in many senses, and outweigh the supposed risks that come with them.

We live in an age of instantaneousness and immediacy. For countless activities, a computer can assist the user, a computer can assist them, and will perform the desired action at a fraction of the time. This speed is brought to us exclusively by recent technologies. Speed doesn't just come with the want to perform actions, it also helps put others in contact with each other. One person could not have communicated with another, more distant person until recent years, without developments such as phones, radios, and the internet. Without these tremendously useful inventions, we wouldn’t be where we are, and those who say technology is the opposite of progress certainly cannot dispute this. In an article about how technology establishes a deeper connection between us, writer Peter Economy says that “...maintaining close connections is certainly easier across digital media…” (Economy). He goes on to say that he, along with countless others, have found themselves celebrating special occasions hundreds of miles apart from another, all because of new developments that many say is deteriorating society. 

Some go as far as saying that we are becoming less involved in education and that online education is allowing the lazy to get opportunities handed to them without work. This was proven to be far from the truth, as a study by Des Moines University showed. The results proved that “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” (Boose). This shows how technology is impacting education in the inverse way that many expect, and that it helps us rather than hurts us. Principles such as these reach past our own world, and into our literature. This is shown in Adam Christopher’s novel, “The Machine Awakes,” which describes a world centuries ahead of our own, and they are capable of spanning great distances for communication in times a fraction of our own. At one point, a character desires to be rescued from Jupiter’s moon, Europa, from Earth and is told that the ship rescuing her will arrive in a mere 27 minutes (Christopher, 369).  The distance is nearly 400 million miles and is spanned in virtually no time. Obviously, we cannot achieve this level at the moment, but it shows the potential we could reach, and how we get to a level of connection that allows us to span the solar systems in minimal time. Though fictional, Christopher’s hyperbolic demonstration is of what could be achieved in a society that is constantly expanding its horizons.

Though connecting with old friends is more easily achieved when using the power of technology, meeting new people is easier than ever with these new technological advancements. Advancements, such as dating sites, enhance the human race, rather than destroy it. Suzie Lee, an expert in the field of online dating, says that we use technology for online dating because we crave connection and that online dating is a new way of doing so (Lee). Desiring new experiences, we turn to the internet for new people. Were we to not create inventions such as these, we would be stuck where we are, unable to explore the world with our fingertips. Online dating is hugely impactful to society, and meeting these new people is something that would have never been thought possible if we, as a society, had not created things such as the internet. A study done by Columbia University says that the average American knows 600 people (Gelman). The average amount of Facebook friends is 338, which shows just how impactful social media is on our social lives (Maize). Inventions such as these are what push society to be better, and make our world greater as a whole.

Technology is seen as one of the most important parts of our society, but few people know exactly why. When looked at closely enough, it can be found that this is because technology is what makes our society. We would be nowhere without these advancements, from the printing press to the printer. We would have gone nowhere without the power of new inventions. Henrietta Lacks is one of these people that helped our world, as her contributions to the scientific community were almost unparalleled. According to Rebecca Skloot, a writer that covered her life, she was the sole reason for “some of the most important advances in medicine: the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization...” (Skloot). There are people that say the methods of obtaining these were morally dubious, as they retrieved some of her cells without her permission. These people say they violated her permission, and that it is unethical, yet these people refuse to acknowledge that Polio alone affected nearly 60 thousand people in 1952 (Smithsonian Museum of History). The extent of Lacks’ heroism is unmeasurable, and the amount of lives she has saved is beyond belief. It is ridiculous that some people would think for a moment that the act of saving dozens of lives is unethical.

Tales of advancements such as these were not born with the rise of new technology, and have existed with various societies throughout history. Many millennia ago, Aeschylus, an ancient Greek tragedian, wrote the story “Prometheus Bound.” This story covered an event where the Titan Prometheus gifts mankind fire, which revolutionizes their world. Citizens of Greece discovered this newfound invention could help with every part of their troublesome lives. Fire was the closest thing they had to advanced technology, and humans taking advantage of it was referred to by Prometheus as “enjoying some of the comforts of the gods." (Aeschylus). Technology being used in every aspect of our lives is living as the Greek Gods supposedly did thousands of years ago. As a society, we have advanced significantly from fire, and have sent people to the moon and back, an advancement that cannot be seen as a terrible thing. Inventor Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian scientist, once said that “A planet is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever...” (Branson). We still live in our cradle, and prohibiting the advancement of technology is only keeping humans in their infancy of exploration. Earth is just the beginning for humans, and we are using spacecraft to advance this. Tsiolkovsky desperately wanted to see a man in space, so that we may expand our knowledge beyond where it is now.

For decades, people have pushed for greater technology, for better lives, and for efficiency. For decades, we have been creating this, and now some feel that it is wrong. Preventing flourishing technology is stopping our world from doing what it is meant to do. Animals are constantly changing and adapting to survive, and humans are the same, still having to develop new things to aid us in survival or peace of mind. Anyone can communicate with people hundreds of miles away, or read about a space station floating thousands of miles away. A life this easy cannot be achieved without the advancements in technology in recent years. We have come a long way from where humans began, and couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without using our brains to think what was previously unthinkable. What we do today shapes what we have tomorrow, and inventing new things is carving a place for us that is better than where we were the day before.

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