Is technology harmful? (Or, will robots take over the universe?) – Part 2, NO!

Posted: January 25, 2013 in General
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday saw the introduction of this topic when I discussed how technology can be harmful to us, how it can make us lazy and dumb, and asked you whether or not you thought we had anything to fear from the advancements that happen at an alarming pace in this industry.

Today I’m here to tell you that’s a load of crap.

Okay, well, no, I’m not. BUT, I don’t actually think robots are going to take over the universe, and I don’t actually think we need to worry about becoming too dependent on technology for everything we do. Sure, there are issues regarding this topic – but there always have been. There always will be.

Instead, it’s important to focus on how technology can assist us. There’s a very strong argument to be made about technology limiting our experiences, but I think there’s an even stronger one to be made about how it can expand our knowledge.

About every other week I hop on Skype and talk to a girl from Australia about Teen Wolf (hey-ho, self promotion alert!). Some of the most remarkable people I know, the people that I talk to on a daily basis, don’t even live in New York. Some of them don’t even live in this country! I’ve never even met them, yet we share common interests that allow us to bypass the limits of physical boundaries and develop of strong relationship.

On Facebook I can talk to one of my best friends (a former exchange student) whenever I want – despite the fact that she lives in Argentina. When I’m doing research for my writing, the answers to all my questions are right at my fingertips. When I want to spread the love and tell people about a great new book I’ve read, all I have to do is take thirty seconds and tweet out a link.

Technology can divide us. It can keep us from having “real” conversations with each other. It can keep us holed up in our room, bent over our computers for hours at a time, instead of going outside and playing with the kids next door.

But it also connects us. The world is interdependent, and that’s a wonderful thing. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned about other countries and cultures since I started (virtually) hanging around people on Twitter. A simple e-mail can get me in touch with a friend in California, a friend in England, and a friend in India.

Without technology, that literally wouldn’t be possible.

So, sure. There are disadvantages to this technological boom. But let’s not forget there are advantages too. In a growing world, it’s important to stay culturally aware. It’s important to stay in touch. It’s important to stay conscious of what is going on around the world.

As with anything, this whole technology thing requires balance. I’ve been in plenty of situations where people side-eye me because I’m holding a smart phone in my hand. I’ve had people look down on me when I pull it out to check an e-mail. They’ve judged me based on a thirty second assessment of the type of person they think I am. And it isn’t fair. Not everyone is the type of person I described in Wednesday’s post.

So the important thing here is to maintain balance. As an individual, we must maintain balance. Take the phone out when you need to, when you want to. Put it away when you should. Technology is wonderful, but we must remember to stop and appreciate beauty when it’s staring us in the face.

As a people, we should continue to rely on and develop technology. There’s nothing wrong with using it to help us become smarter, faster, stronger, better people. Let’s just make sure that doesn’t get away from us. Technology has made us care more about updating our Facebook status than having meaningful relationships with other people. But it has also taken us out into the vastness that is space to discover new stars and new galaxies.

It’s up to us to decide which direction we want technology to take us in.

So, what do you think? Do you think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to technology, or do you think we’re just one step away from Matrix-esque enslavement? Leave a comment, and let me know your thoughts!

  1. ddog13 says:

    Nuff said. Agreed. Case closed.

  2. You’re right – technology is indeed what we make of it. I think often the outcomes of what we do, technologically, can be unexpected; but this is sociological – not the fault of the tech itself. Down side? The resources needed to make it, I think – in the quantities now being consumed – are worrisome, as are the side-effects of the whole process in the form of industrial wastes and so forth. Further tech, I think, will probably solve many of these issues. Also a responsible attitude.

    We have something of that here in New Zealand – just last week I visited our biggest open-cast coal mine. Here they are removing all the vegetation and animals from the area they’re excavating, preserving them, and putting them back afterwards – literally returning the environment back to its pristine natural state (rare native snails and all). Cool. I’ll post on that in a week or so. Very e-conscious and a good direction for the future. In general, though, I fear the world’s immediate difficulty will be getting through our age of ‘pollute-and-waste manufacture’, which we haven’t quite shaken off yet in a worldwide sense.

    • Karen Rought says:

      That’s really neat! I’ve never heard of anything like that before. You’ve got a great point though. It is worrisome. The rate of our consumption is so high that we can’t possibly maintain this level over a long period of time. But the best thing about this whole problem is that the technology can help us to maintain the environment if we only take the time to realize that it needs to be taken care of.

  3. Julie Glover says:

    As someone who has called the information librarian back in the 1980s to get an answer to an obscure question, I can tell you how wonderful it is to have the internet for research. I continue to be amazed at the amount of information freely put out there. Of course, you have to verify what you read, but we have within our fingertips’ reach an amazing knowledge base.

    I can also keep up with old friends and make new friends through technology. It was fabulous to attend a writers’ conference last year and meet in person I already knew through social media. We immediately clicked because we already had relationships.

    And finally, as a mom, I must say that it’s nice to know my kids can call if something happens and they need me. That level of communication just wasn’t possible in the past.

    On the other hand, technology can be addictive, and we need to step away sometimes.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Technology is SO addictive. I definitely struggle with this, but I think as long as we are aware of this and actively try to combat it, we’ll be okay. It’s all about balance! Thanks. 🙂

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