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Monday, March 20, 2006

Question of the Week: Is Technology Good

We live in a world where cell phones connect us to one another instantly wherever we are. We live in a world where letter writing is a lost art because e-mail is just a mouse click away. We live in a world where television and video games are pastimes and where the internet is a means of production. We live in a world full of things I don't even understand like i Pods and text messaging and MP3s and so on and so on. Are these things really good for society? Do we suffer from an overload of triviality in our instant information society?

The question of the week is: Is the progress of technology and/or industry good for societies? Or in other words, is it more beneficial for societies to have modern technology than not?

I say no, what do you say?


At 8:23 PM, Anonymous AS said...

Technology makes us efficient. It makes our society more efficient, which I would say it is definitely a good thing.

We have the potential to live better and longer because of technology. When I think of technology, I just dont think of the ipod or gaming console being sold on Best Buy.

I think about the genetic discoveries, heart transplants, neurological research happening all over the world, which without computers to store, collect, organize and share the data, every advance in medicine we have done up to this point wouldn't be available... at such large scale.

Now the potential downside with efficiency is that it give us, people, more time to do stuff... and instead of spending this extra time wisely... with studies, family, social work, etc... the very technology that help us... take away our time from all that with ipod, games, tivo, satellites, etc, etc... it is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make our relationships a bit more artificial.

Knowledge sharing is something else that has increasingly change the world we live in because of technology. I higly recommend the book "The World is Flat" by Thomas L. Friedman... He basically talks about the globalization of the world (politically, economically and socially) mostly due the spread of technologies within the past 15 years or so... it is an interesting read.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Like most things in life there are good and bad sides to this coin. The last commenter did a good job of covering the pros and cons and I agree with what he had to say.

I definitely notice the time our electronic gadgets suck up and the way we can be 'plugged in' all the time and how this affects our socializing with others, spending time with family members, and it bothers me. I mean, we have modern conveniences that are supposed to free up our time, but then we end up , spending our time doing things like surfing the web blogging, etc.

But on the other hand, I enjoy being able to talk with friends around the world via internet. I love faxing, blogging, and the internet has provided an income for me and a way to research questions in moments.

I think the problem is not with the technology, but with how we handle it.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger DAN said...

I've heard the Friedman book is good -- it is on my list to read.

It's a mixed bag. Technology amplifies us. We live longer, we travel farther, we are more healthy, and we keep in touch better. We also spend too much time on trivial things, we stress ourselves out by staying connected all the time, and we treat each other impersonally like the machines we use.

I think we probably need to adapt. If you look at the changes even in the last 50 years, it is amazing we can keep up with it all and still stay ourselves. As we get even more interconnected in the future, we're going to need to set limits and boudaries. How much time should you spend wathing TV? Playing video games? Talking to your neighbors? Working a hobby? Exercising?

These aren't easy questions to answer, but unless we want our kids to be plugged in all the time, never get exercise, and have miserable social skills, we'd better get around to answering them.


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