Since the beginning the time, humanity has used technology to make life better in some way. Every discovery is a form of technology. At one point, being able to create fire was cutting-edge technology. We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time thanks to the innovative ways we have used technology over the generations.
Technology certainly makes life better, but it can also be a hindrance to our daily routines. Modern technology can be addictive. The average smartphone owner checks their phone almost 100 times throughout the day. We have come to a point where we rely on the technology sometimes more than our own ingenuity.
Here are some more of the pros and cons of technology to think about and discuss.
What Are the Pros of Technology?
1. It allows us to experience new cultures.
Technology has allowed the planet to become a smaller place. Over the course of a day, it is possible to travel to the other side of the world to see new countries, new cultures, and new opportunities. Even in previous generations, shipbuilding technologies provided this same benefit. In the future, spacefaring technology could be the next evolution of this experience.
2. It provides us with deeper insights.
Technology collects massive amounts of data that can be mined for numerous insights and benefits. These analytics allow us to pinpoint specific weak points that can be turned into strengths. It can identify new business opportunities, create new learning opportunities, and help people discover new facets about themselves so they can achieve more than ever before.
3. It allows us to do more with less.
Imagine what a cutting-edge farm looked like in the early 1800’s. There was no mechanization. Everything was done by horse or by hand. That limited the yield an area could produce. Those yields, however, were still greater than what previous generations could achieve if they didn’t even have equipment to work with horsepower. Every time there is a technology improvement, we are able to do more, in any industry, with fewer resources being consumed.
4. It improves profits.
New technologies are always expensive, but that’s because they create more profits. It is possible today, through technology, for a sole proprietor to run a global business from their garage or home office. New technologies have created platforms where freelancers and independent professionals can make more on their own than if they worked for at traditional employer. Technology can even improve the efficiency of delivery and distribution mechanisms, which can also improve profits.
5. It makes research become simple.
For children born in the 1980s or before, there was a time when finding information required a trip to the library or owning an encyclopedia. Today, the technologies of the data access makes it possible to find out anything at almost any time. Want to know why your leg is hurting? Need to order some food for dinner? Want to book a vacation? Can’t remember the name of a movie, but you remember who starred in it? Technology makes it easy to research, purchase, or discover what we want or need every day.
6. It saves time.
If a worker is able to save 10 minutes of time because of technology, that’s an extra 10 minutes they can do something else. We can save time through technology with improved communication, improved manufacturing processes, and automated systems. Computers, after all, can work with greater efficiency when compared to how a human typically works.
What Are the Cons of Technology?
1. It can be powerfully destructive.
Technology can be “good” or “evil” based on how it is used. Innovation has led to incredibly destructive, world-altering weapons with atomic, nuclear, and hydrogen bombs. Hackers can use the internet to steal personal information. In September 2017, more than 143 million people were affected by a single data breach at Equifax. If humanity were to ever become extinct, there is a good chance that technology would provide a needed assist.
2. It helps us destroy the environment.
2017 saw a lot of firsts around the world from an environmental perspective. Hurricane Irma became the most powerful storm of its type to form in the Atlantic Ocean. In Seattle, there were records set for the most consecutive days without rain and the most time above 80F. From a global perspective, 2017 became the second-hottest year in modern recorded history. Without careful supervision, it is clear to see that our use of technology has the potential to destroy our home without using any weapons.
3. It leads to health problems.
Many forms of technology, from computers to televisions to automobiles, cause people to sit for a majority of their day. This constant sitting could be just as dangerous to a person’s health as smoking could be. Consistently using technology can lead to hand, wrist, and forearm pain, lead to social isolation, and may even be a contributing factor to the formation of depression-like symptoms.
4. It has created a lack of privacy.
If you want to find out a lot of personal information about someone, the technology of the internet can serve your needs quite effectively. A website like Dirt Search allows you to enter a phone number, look up a business, or find a person using public records. Crawlers can put all of your social media feeds onto one page for someone to review everything you’ve ever posted. Then consider cameras and CCTV in most public locations and it is possible to track a person’s every movement online and in real life.
5. It isn’t cheap.
New technologies are difficult for some socioeconomic groups to access because of their cost. That includes technologies that we may consider to be essential to life, such as medical advances. Reaching some nations with standard vaccines or something basic, like a mosquito net to prevent malaria, can be extremely difficult because of the costs involved. Technology has created the idea that everything is a profit/loss concept and one could argue that part of our humanity has been lost because of that.
6. It creates the need to constantly upgrade.
Technology can create greater efficiencies, but it can also create the needs to constantly upgrade and improve the technologies being used. If there is 100% reliance on a specific technology and it stops working, then nothing will get done.
The pros and cons of technology show us that we can have a better life and be more productive, but only if we are aware of the potential negatives and proactively work to contain them. There will always be a good side and a bad side to technology. It is up to each of us to find the good in it every day.