Has technology made our lives easier or has it made it more complicated than it should be? In countries such as the U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea and in many developed and developing countries, it is now almost unthinkable to live without turning the computer on at least once a day, checking the phone for text messages or plugging to the Internet. With so much time spent turning on to a gadget, are we really relying too much on technology? Should we question our modern behavior and ask ourselves, are we too plugged in to technology? More importantly, are we better off being so?
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Are we too plugged in to technology? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Sign of the times?
The question of whether or not a new capability is good probably goes as far back as the time when the wheel was invented. Who knows what some of our ancestors thought when fire was first brought into the cave to stay? It is likely that there were as many dissenting voices (and grunts) as there were supporters to the cause. So complaining and being pessimistic about technology is really not a modern affliction. It does remain as a strong issue today.
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Wired to plug in?
Probably the real reason why we embrace technology is that we are open to change. The human brain is wired to adapt to events and circumstances. There may be obstacles to its learning initially particularly when it comes to new technology but it can overcome these barriers. This explains why no matter how strange new technology can be, it is only a matter of time before people begin using it.
So how far have we gone?
According to studies by some scientists, the ability to focus on a specific task is compromised by stimulation caused by multiple sources of information. About 30% of Americans agree. In a poll by New York Times, younger users of technology believe it makes it more difficult for them to concentrate; about 10% of Americans say interacting with technology lessens their interaction with their kids and about 14% say it affects the amount of time they interact with their spouses.
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Can we trust technology?
There is no doubt about it – technology has made our lives easier – it has cut our working time in half, allowed us to find solutions to common problems in a few clicks of the mouse and gave us access to information we never dreamed we would ever have just a decade ago. However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Technology is not only addictive, it can also encourage us to fall into a complacent stupor, content with the seemingly perfect world that it presents.
Therein lies the problem, though.
The more we rely on computers and programs to do the job for us, the more we begin to lose our appreciation for our capability to do things ourselves. After all, why do all the backbreaking computations in mathematics if a program can do it for you? Technology has also allowed us to cross thousands of miles of land and sea to communicate but it has also prevented us from making personal connections. Overstimulation has also killed off much of our sense of wonder.
So are we really too plugged into technology or is it really worth it? We should remember that with advancement, there are always consequences – good or bad. Technology will always bring with it unwanted effects, some of which might even be difficult to anticipate. What we need to remember is that we have the choice to use technology for its positive aspects, that we can choose to take advantage of its capability to help us achieve bigger and better things. We made these machines and the programs that run them. It would be the height of irony indeed if, in the future, we become slaves to the things we created.
Technology is one of the worst addictions that our generation has fallen into. Do you agree that technology is destroying our society and how we interact with each other? Do you think we are too dependent on technology? Share your thoughts in the comments.