What do you think about when you hear the word “technology”?
If you are like most people, then you will think about the favorite gadgets that you use each day. That means the image in your mind might be that of a computer, a smartphone, or a video game console.
Others think about the tools that they use in their profession. You might picture robotics, a smart appliance, or an automobile.
Technology is the entirety of our collective knowledge. Every task or action that we take uses the technological history of humanity to encourage productivity. We might consider ourselves to be an advanced civilization today, but on universal terms, it wasn’t that long ago when humans thought that fire was the smartest thing ever invented.
And the wheel? Life-changing!
When we look at the advantages and disadvantages of technology, then it is essential to keep a historical perspective instead of a modern one. We might have the ability to be more productive today than at any other time in history, but every generation can say that because of the collective nature of this wisdom.
List of the Advantages of Technology
1. Technology gives us ways to eliminate repetition.
We use technology as a way to make our lives better in each generation. That means a different point of emphasis occurs in its development. At the turn of the 20th century, we were focused on transportation. 100 years before that, we were focused on industrialization. Right now, we are looking at the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning as a way to eliminate the repetition issues that we see in our society.
When we can remove repetition from our routines, then we can focus on the creative endeavors that technology cannot duplicate. It allows us to maintain or improve upon current productivity levels while exploring new ideas.
2. It gives us the ability to create more equality in our society.
Technology allows us to create resources for people who need specific areas of assistance. It took a long time for Helen Keller to become the first person who is blind and deaf to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. She proved to us that people are more resilient than we often give them credit for if we classify ourselves as being “normal.”
We use technology in this area to create artificial joints, cardiovascular implants, or artificial limbs. Surgeons use new practices with better tools to create improved health outcomes. Where a Civil War physician might have amputated limb, modern medicine repairs the condition without such losses more often than not. It gives us a new way to adapt to disabilities that can impact the human race.
3. We have more knowledge available to us because of technology.
We often use technology as a way to learn new skills, ideas, or concepts. Everything from a pen to the device you are using to read this content fits into this advantage. Modern classrooms integrate several tools that students can use simultaneously to facilitate their learning. It doesn’t need to be a complex invention to help us all create more learning opportunities. Our literacy rates and understanding of mathematics are at all-time highs because of the benefits that happen through technology.
4. Technology lets us have fun in unique ways.
Have you ever played a mobile game on your smartphone? Do you have an Xbox or a PlayStation console at home? Then you have first-hand experience with this benefit. When we can have fun, then our brains can retain more of the information that we learn each day. That’s why our knowledge base continues to rise rapidly when compared to previous generations.
People got into specific professions in the past through lecture-based apprenticeships and classroom learning structures. That process resulted in an average learning capacity of 5%. Because of the interactive nature of today’s technology, we can immediately debate and practice new concepts or skills in the comfort of a classroom environment or home-based learning opportunity. That results in an average learning capacity of 90%.
5. We understand the value of money better because of technology.
We have transitioned from an economy that focused on physical cash to one that uses digital representations of money. Your wages can be directly deposited into your bank account today. Then you can access those funds by using a debit card. It is possible to spend thousands of dollars every day without seeing any physical money because of the technologies found in this area.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seek ways to take this concept to another level. This technology creates a borderless solution that eliminates the need for governments to get involved with currency development.
6. Technology allows us to be more efficient with our time.
When was the last time you spend more than 10 minutes in a queue? Although there are places where standing in line is still necessary, technology allows us to create proactive ways to avoid excessive waiting. You can order food in advance from a restaurant to pick it up, shop for groceries online to have the store deliver them to your door, and use other conveniences to make life easier.
This benefit allows us to explore more of our world because we are spending less time waiting around to meet our basic essentials.
7. We become innovators because of technology.
Many companies are exploring ways to embrace the idea of a digital revolution. We are in the middle of a new global development period where new techniques can create better efficiencies in almost every industry. The organizations that were early adopters of this concept are today’s leaders within their industry. We can do more in less space and time because of what technology offers to us every day.
When our focus can be on innovation, then we have new opportunities to focus on the development of humanity. Whether our focus is on medicine and curing cancer, or it stays on computers and communication networking, we have access to a multitude of efficiencies that wouldn’t be possible without technology.
8. Prices go down as technology levels improve.
Labor costs are usually the most significant expense for a business. That’s why outsourcing is a common practice in the United States. When countries like China, Bangladesh, or India have a lower standard of living without compromising the quality of delivered work, it allows for a cheaper price on consumer goods.
Technology will take this concept to the next level. Instead of moving 300,000 jobs overseas, artificial intelligence and machine learning could directly replace all of those employees. Although it would create new jobs in programming and management, automation will create efficiencies that can dramatically lower future prices. We already see this in some industries, like the fast-food niche, where it costs less to order items now than it did in the past.
9. Technology improves our ability to communicate with one another.
Did you have the Internet in your home in 1995? If you did, then you likely experienced one of the most revolutionary increases in communication technology. Online chatting made it possible to talk with other people from all over the world by using only your computer. This leap in networking allowed us to start taking advantage of what diversity provides our culture. We could begin to celebrate our differences instead of being scared by them.
We may have gone from chat rooms to social media, but the concept of instant messaging remains the same. Technology greatly improved our ability to communicate with each other. It’s up to each of us to maximize that benefit.
10. We can go further and faster than ever because of technology.
The Hyperloop proposes to transport humans at faster speeds than ever accomplished before and history on our planet. Although we have sent astronauts to the moon multiple times, the top speeds for planetary transportation max out at 2,200 mph. New technologies could help us to double that speed without military applications in the next decade.
Even when we look at the fastest vehicles that we use today, we are still traveling further and faster than in the past. The Boeing 787 operates at a cruising speed of Mach 0.95, allowing anyone who can afford a ticket the option to travel almost anywhere in the world in a single day. Many of these technologies are extremely safe to use, enabling us to experience cultures in ways that were never possible before.
11. Technology adds convenience to our lives.
Can you imagine trying to find a specific destination while using an atlas? Technology allows us to embrace the idea of convenience without needing significant wealth to enjoy it. We can order food for delivery online from a favorite pizza place, purchase almost anything we want on a website like Amazon, or travel just about anywhere in the world with GPS.
These technologies don’t always give us the exact results we expect, but the convenience it offers is worth any potential hassle. You can download an app from virtually any business, use it to purchase something or make a reservation, and continue on with your day without being tied to a desk.
12. We have access to more information than ever before in our history.
One of the favorite ways that commentators use to describe this advantage of technology involves newspaper content. Unless you were in a major city like Philadelphia or New York City, the average size of a local paper was a single page. You would find about the same amount of information on that one piece of paper as you can on the average website’s home page today. Whether that observation is real or farcical is up for debate, but the idea is solid.
Technology helps us to see numerous perspectives instead of a single one. We can read blogs from people in almost any country, access local news from almost anywhere, and stay connected to the lives of our family members and friends with social media.
List of the Disadvantages of Technology
1. Technology has addictive qualities that some people must manage.
Have you ever checked your smartphone to see if there were any texts or notifications that you had missed? The average person looks at their device almost 100 times per day. We are so connected to the information access that we have because of technology that it feels like an addiction. We can stream movies, play games, and have access to other entertainment options almost everywhere on our planet.
Unless we can be in control of our choices, technology creates the disadvantage of making us pay attention to it instead of the people around us.
2. It is easier to falsify one’s qualifications because of technology.
Some people live by the philosophy that you need to “fake it to make it.” Because we have access to so much information today, it is much easier for someone to falsify their qualifications. That also means the ability to copy or plagiarize previous publications is more common now than arguably at any other point in our history. Unless our laws and regulations catch up with the innovations that we produce each year, we have no recourse to stop these behaviors.
False personas are only one issue to consider with this disadvantage. Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, fake news has become a new lexicon in our global language. It is up to each of us to determine if the content we consume or share is real. We have enough information to verify facts, but do we have the will power to make that investment?
3. People can threaten others anonymously because of technology.
We live in a culture that is rather judgmental today. Although the goal seems to be an effort to bring out the best in each of us, technology tends to empower individuals to tear others down instead. Behaviors like stalking, bullying, and verbal threats are much higher today because it is possible to stay somewhat anonymous. As we have seen in recent years, emboldened people who can conduct themselves in this way online can transition their choices into real-life scenarios.
4. Technology allows us to manipulate content to create echo chambers.
If we want to live in a world of lies, technology allows us to accomplish that goal. Deep-fake videos, satirical content, and one-sided pros enable the formation of echo chambers that can create a false reality. Unless we have the desire to authenticate every content item we consume, the odds that real data gets shared is equal to false information. Anyone who knows how to turn on a computer can figure out how to manipulate videos, photos, and other materials to create whatever reality they prefer.
This issue creates a unique problem in life. If everyone prefers to live in a world of falsehoods, then how do we find a place to share some common ground?
5. People work longer hours than ever before because of technology.
The average worker who has telecommuting responsibilities with their profession will work an average of seven hours more than someone who commutes to an office every day. When we look at the progression of technology in farming, there are fewer workers in the agricultural sector because today’s tools make workers more productive. It’s a lot faster to plow a field with a tractor than it is to do the work with a couple of horses.
Since most of our communication for our professions occurs through email, we must consciously decide to disconnect from our networks to get a break from our careers. If we are unable to do so, then it can lead to burnout, higher stress levels, and health concerns. It’s telling that about half of people feel like they need to stay in contact with their job even when they are on vacation.
6. Technology can create social disconnects that we struggle to manage.
Instead of having an in-person conversation with a family member or loved one, our comfort zone today occurs in social media and with technology. We might be communicating with others more often than ever before, but the quality of those conversations is somewhat lacking. Think about the last text conversation that you had with someone. How many sentences were there in that message?
Writers today are encouraged to create short sentences that use simple words because people are in such a hurry. This disadvantage creates a social disconnect because we are not entirely communicating everything we want to say. With our increased use of emojis, society has come full circle from the Egyptians and their hieroglyphics.
7. We don’t always know how to repair the technologies we use.
Did one of your parents teach you how to fix a car before you would be allowed to drive it? Our world has changed a lot in recent years, and many of the technologies that we use daily our items that we don’t know how to fix if they break. That means new industries and economic development can develop in the service sector, but it also places us at a disadvantage when we need assistance. We have become more dependent on others to make our lives easier because of the technological progress we’ve made over the years.
8. Technology creates a new series of data security issues to manage.
Hundreds of millions of people have suffered identity theft issues in recent years because of data breach incidents. Whether it was The Home Depot, Capital One, or Experian, the lack of privacy that we have in today’s culture is surprising. People have fast access to our payment information, home address, and birthdays because of the effectiveness of search engine technologies – even if you aren’t on the Dark Web.
If you initiate a web search that says “find [insert name],” then you’ll receive multiple results with pictures and public information to review. When your name is somewhat unique, then anyone can find you almost immediately.
9. Automation can make us lazy.
The idea of working smarter instead of harder might be a reflection of a desire to be more productive, but it is also a representation of the changes that we see in our culture. Many of today’s jobs are sedentary, and the programming of artificial intelligence in the future is only going to increase this disadvantage. If we allow machines to do all of our heavy lifting, then it is up to each person to get the physical exercise needed outside of their professional responsibilities to maintain their health.
10. We must create new laws that stay up-to-date with the latest tech trends.
Technology can change so rapidly that new ideas can become a reality in less than a year. Trying to keep up with these changes from a legal standpoint can feel like an impossible task. Bitcoin has been around for over a decade, but only now are their processes and procedures being developed to use blockchain technology. We are unable to keep up with this evolution, then it can become impossible to protect individual freedoms in some ways.
11. Technology can produce dangerous outcomes if we allow it.
Nuclear weapons are a technology. We can justify their existence by saying that we need to defend ourselves or others, but it comes at a high cost. Just ask the people who lived through the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It is essential to remember in the advantages and disadvantages of technology that we are responsible for making it a positive or negative experience.
We can communicate in ways like never before. We also have the ability to destroy entire civilizations like never before.
That’s why our focus must be on responsibility instead of dependency. When we can get the little things right at home with technology, then we are building a foundation of assistance that can reach out to our neighborhoods, communities, and countries. If we can remain disciplined in our actions, then we can accomplish anything.
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.