Is Technology Really Making Life Easier?
Is Technology Really Making Life Easier MRT Abstract In this research paper I have posed the question; is technology really making life easier? I took the stance that advancement in technology has led to major sociological issues that are currently being felt and will be felt for generations to come. I highlighted the creation of such devices and services such as cell phones, computers, the internet, and social media. My research has only shown more support to what I had believed prior to starting this process.
My conclusion based off the information to follow is that technology may have made our lives more convenient, however it has not made our lives easier or less stressful. Do you think modern technology has made life easier and safer? Or do you think that modern technology has made life more difficult and more dangerous? Today, we can’t imagine ourselves without technical advances such as cars, microwaves, cell phones, computers, and televisions. However, technology won’t stop there, but it will grow bigger and bigger. As technology grows, there are not only advantages, but disadvantages from them.
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A list of the benefits of technology would be very long indeed. However, as with almost everything we human beings have created, technology has a downside. There is, we might say, a dark side to technology. For openers, technology does not necessarily make life simpler; rather, it tends to make life more complicated. Nowadays, for example, nearly every discussion of the “wonderful power of technology to enrich our lives” mentions the cell phone. Certainly, the instant communication brought about by the telephone has been a major advancement.
It was originally a rather simple device that anyone could learn to use in a matter of minutes, and we soon began using phones to make and receive phone calls, usually about matters of some importance. Recently, however, we have created these devices to perform a ridiculous number of irrelevant tasks. One needs a thirty-page booklet to learn how to use them. Anyone who enters a phone store today seeking a phone that simply sends and receives phone calls is likely to be looked upon as a refugee from the Dark Ages.
Cellphones have become the number one thing in most people’s lives. It is the quickest way to keep contact with the outside world. It has made life easier for humans and it has become one of the things that we cannot live without. Cellphones can help us solve a lot of problems, but can also cause a lot of stress related problems because people are too dependent on technology nowadays. It has weakened our social ability, without it, people find it hard to express themselves. Cellphones have dominated our lives with the advanced technology and applications they offer.
Friends from miles away are only a text message away from you, and it can avoid awkward and silent moments because you do not have to talk to someone face to face anymore. Although it can help us in many different aspects, we are starting to rely on it and abuse it. A lot of teenagers cannot be separated from their cell phones for too long, they are always on their phones and they find it hard to not look at their phone before long. Most of their phones allow them to watch movies, read books, listen to music and talk to people, which make them a lot less interactive and productive in real life.
They provide us different sorts of interesting entertainment and useful information, which is easily accessible to people. People who live in the city are always rushed and in a hurry, to them, time is money and one of their most valuable assets, and cellphones are exactly what they need and cannot live without in their daily lives. People who are often on their phones believe that texting and interacting with people on their phone makes up for not seeing them face to face in real person. As they are always depending on their phones, they become lazier.
They do not have urge to go out and meet new people and become more socially awkward as they do not know how to talk to people face to face anymore in their daily lives. A recent study from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business finds that even though cellphones are generally thought to connect people together, they are making the users less social minded. The school’s marketing professor Rosellina Ferraro said: “We would expect a similar pattern of effects with people from other age groups.
Given the increasing pervasiveness of cell phones, it does have the potential to have broad social implications. ” There is a problem with texting. Did you know that one of the main causes of car crashes are that people are texting while they are driving? That is a huge problem. Several studies show cell phones are a leading cause of car crashes. It is estimated that cell phone distracted drivers are four times more likely to be in a car wreck. Cell phones cause over 200 deaths and half a million injuries each year. When you are texting while driving, you are more focused on your phone than on the road.
As a result your speed can change very quickly. You could be at a speed of 20, then 40, then 50, then 60, or 70 miles per hour and sometimes even faster. This cycle will not end if a person is surrounded by a group of people who are always depending on their cellphones even when all of them are spending time together. To people who do not usually use their cellphones this can be disrespectful and impolite as it seems like they are not enjoying the time spent with each other. There are no doubts that cellphones are very important to us, as they can help us in numerous aspects.
It is the best thing to have when you are bored, and to communicate with people from far away even when you are busy. People can contact you any time of the day and it is very convenient and user friendly. They are made for people in the world to easily connect with each other, instead of making long distance phone calls, sending emails and writing letters like the old days; which require more effort and are more time consuming. It is important to have a cell phone with you because it can make communication easier, provide many applications in it and most importantly safety to their users.
Another example of the complexity of modern technology is the computer. Again, nobody can deny that computers have enabled us to share information, process data, and perform numerous other tasks with speed and ease that, as recently as a generation ago, we would have thought impossible. Computer technology has been advancing so rapidly that new applications are discovered faster than anyone can keep pace – and that’s a problem. Even the computer experts understand only a fraction of what these machines do (just ask an expert for help when a computer crashes).
Although most users can and do master some of the basic operations, most computer owners cannot use many of the functions that are built into computer programs. Much has been written about how the younger generations who have been brought up in the computer age know intuitively how to use these machines. However, evidence suggests that they learn only what amuses or entertains them. I for one grew up in the computer age, however I can say that if you do not keep up with technology is will pass you and leave you in its’ dust. Most haven’t the patience or the desire to go through the complicated process of learning more functional programs.
Furthermore, they tend to use computers rather than their own brains for many tasks that they should be able to perform without mechanical assistance. It is possible to argue that the invention of the calculator is largely responsible for the inability of many people to do simple math; it is likewise possible to prove that electronic spell-checking (which is, and may always be, imperfect) has created at least one generation of individuals who cannot spell and know nothing about the logic of language. Complexity is not the only downside of computers.
They have created an even greater gap between the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated. To use these devices, one needs both experience and education. Lacking computers at home (even if they can access them at school), poorer people do not have the opportunity to gain much experience with them. Even as the computer becomes a commodity (something to which virtually everyone has access), the pace of technology is so rapid that these individuals are light years behind the more fortunate people. Furthermore, since computer skills must be learned, less educated individuals have a vast disadvantage.
Educated individuals can use computers to expand their knowledge; uneducated or less educated people are stuck where they are. The gap widens. Finally, with respect to computers, many of the advantages have spawned a nightmarish array of problems. I recently interviewed several Lewiston Police Officers and asked them what they felt was the most significant change they have witnessed in their field. Technology was their first answer. One officer explained how when he started on the force some fifteen plus years ago he was given a car and a radio.
When he would need information he would have to contact his dispatcher, which would then relay what little, and often outdated, information they had over the radio to him. He explained that now every officer has a laptop computer right in their car tied into some of the most sophisticated databases in the world. The software allows him to run license plates in a matter of seconds which will tell him who owns the vehicle, if it is registered, if the owner has any warrants or such. He said that while yes this technology is amazing and in today’s world he probably could not do without, he longs for the simpler times.
He stated that there is a disconnect with society due to the technology. Officers will travel around in their vehicles like robots verses interacting with people on the streets as they did in the past. He feels that this societal disconnect has led to a lack of respect that police officers once had. While technology has now given us the ability to shop from home, it has opened a whole new area in which con artists can conduct scams, a complex area that authorities admit is impossible to police. While it has enabled us to bank by internet, it has brought on a wave of identity theft such as we have never before seen.
This negative consequence of technology has affected hundreds of thousands of people which have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is when these criminals get and use consumer’s personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, insurance information, and social security numbers to buy goods or services wrongly. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes out there. When the identity thief uses a credit card, bank account, Social Security number or cell phone in your name and doesn’t pay the bill, it is all reported on your credit account.
People don’t know that their identity has been stolen until damage has been done which can cause a problem. While it enables banks and other organizations to process data with lightning speed, electronic processing creates greater opportunity for error. One incorrect keystroke can set in motion an automated series of mistakes that are not easily detected or corrected. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the invention of the Internet is one of man’s greatest and most spectacular endeavors. For, it has truly revolutionized the world in regards to how we engage in business, recreate, socialize, educate ourselves and communicate with each other.
The Internet eliminated all impediments of conventional methods of operations. Through its construction, the world economies have flourished. Therefore, it can be said in a nut shell, that the Internet has made life on earth easy to say the least; but to what expense? The amount of people that have used the internet has grown 572% from 2000 to 2010. What would the world be without internet? It has only been 20 years since its creation but yet it has affected society immensely. Internet has had both a positive and a negative influence on society.
Due to the significance of both influences, internet cannot be seen entirely as good or bad, people can only have strong opinions on the matter. Before explaining all of the benefits to society the internet has had, let me start with showing that there is a good argument that the internet has had a negative impact on society. Skeptics argue that the internet is not beneficial to society because it limits face-to-face interactions, society’s most important type of interaction. The limiting factors include, but are not limited to, email based sites, like Yahoo. om, Gmail. com, and Hotmail. com, and social networking sites, like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. They limit face-to-face interactions because it is more convenient then meeting up with everyone that a person would like to talk with. According to the National School Boards Association (NSBA), who published a report on research and guidelines on online social, educational, and networking, the average teen will spend more than 9 hours a week on just a social internet site (Creating & Connecting).
It is not terribly surprising that skeptics will say that spending close to two hours a day in a desk chair, on a computer, searching the web, downloading music, chatting with friends or playing internet games is a complete waste of time. They believe it should be used for studying, playing sports, being outdoors, the list goes on and on. Sadly, skeptics are completely right when they say these things are not productive, in fact, the way which most people use the internet is not productive. The NSBA’s report shows statistical figures that support the skeptic’s thoughts.
Teens reported that they are on social sites, like Facebook, about 41% of the time that they are on the internet and downloading or listening to music 30% of the time they are on the internet (Creating & Connecting). Clearly not the best use of time and it only leaves 29% for the rest of the endless list of the possible things to do on the internet. They could be using the time they are on internet for more productive means. Nevertheless, it seems too hard for people to use it for something productive, or beneficial to society, like reading the daily news.
However, some of the available internet sites to read and learn from leads to the next negative aspect of the internet, unreliable and falsified information. The internet has very few regulations and almost no one policing it. With the addition of anyone having the ability and access to make a website, it presents a problem. The problem, it allows them to publish whatever they would like, not matter if it is true or not. This causes unreliability, especially for students such as myself researching information and it can be very difficult to find out if the source is credible or not.
For instance, according Lucy Rector, a professor at Harford Community College who published a comparison of Wikipedia and other encyclopedias for accuracy, breadth, and depth in historical articles, Wikipedia is only 80% accurate (Rector, Comparison of Wikipedia). This means that one out of every five times a person visits Wikipedia they could being reading something that is not credible, this presents an outstanding credibility problem. This has had an effect on society, as now people must always determine whether or not the information they are presented with is credible.
The creation of the internet has opened a new market in society for scammers. The National Consumers League produced a study in 2001 that showed internet fraud had generated 7 million in profit, nearly doubling from the year before (2001 Internet Fraud Statistics). These days it is hard to escape scams because they seem to be lurking around every corner. Online shopping fraud is no joke and has steadily increasing by millions over the years. In Europe, the amount of money lost per year due to online shopping fraud is 21. million, according to an article about how “Online Fraud Rises by 185%” written in the Sunday Times (O’Connor, Online Fraud Rises by 185 per Cent). The article goes on to say that today’s scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and convincing. Oddly enough, one of the main reasons for this is because it used to be that sites with the goal of fraud used to be terribly published. Often having spelling and grammatical errors that were easy to spot and then avoid. Skeptics say would argue that because of the internet, people have been seduced into scams costing people millions.
The internet is full of graphic content and no one checking ID’s. Due to the internet, pornography has become more common and has had a negative effect on society. According to an article on “the Effects of Internet Pornography”, internet porn is viewed by 66% of men from 18 to 34 at least once a month (Wang, The Effects of Internet Pornography). In the article Richard Berry, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers states that, “Pornography had an almost nonexistent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago”; its significant role now is “clearly due to the Internet” (Wang, The Effects of Internet Pornography).
In the same branch of the internet but a more disturbing reason the internet has had a negative impact on society is child pornography. The internet has led to a global outburst in child pornography, conventionally thought to be too morally wrong and unthinkable of a behavior it can leave victims with emotional and physical damage for the rest of their lives. Society could do without their children being emotionally damaged for the rest of their lives. Although skeptics will say that the internet has affected society negatively, their argument is minute compared to the agreement that internet has had positive effects on society.
Skeptics can argue that the time spent on the internet could be used for something else more productive, that the internet has created a numerous amount of unreliable and incorrect information that is published, and that it has helped scammers steal money and much more from society but it is nothing compared to what the internet has contributed to society. Internet has given society a new form of communication, a new way to acquire information, and a new and improved way to shop. From the birth of the internet came the birth of social network sites, such as Facebook and Myspace.
Now a day, a person can communicate with anyone across the globe with the touch of a button. Although the time a person spends on social networks like Facebook, Myspace, Skype, Yahoo Mail, and Match. com can be completely useless, the sites, themselves are often beneficial to society. Facebook and Skype is a great and easy way to stay in touch with friends and family. Yahoo Mail and every other email account website cut down on paper pollution and put up a good fight against the inconvenience of the mailing system. Even Match. om has its benefits to society, now people do not even have to leave their seats to meet new people or ask them out, this is apparent in Facebook and Myspace as well. The point still being that, the internet has given us a new form of communication that is overall much more efficient, but possible less effective, than the ways people used to communicate with each other before the internet. Rick Nauert would agree with this. Rick Naurt has a PHD and is the senior news editor for the University of Southern California, in 2006 he said “More than a decade after the portals of the Worldwide Web opened to he public, we are now witnessing the true emergence of the Internet as the powerful personal and social phenomenon we knew it would become (Nauert, The Internet as Agent of Social Change). ” When asked if the internet increased regular contact with others, he answered, “42. 8 percent of Internet users agree that going online has increased the number of people they regularly stay in contact with (Nauert, The Internet as Agent of Social Change)”. Clearly, the creation of the internet and social networks has helped our society stay in touch and meet new people.
The internet has led to a massive increase of easily accessible information and a lot of it very credible. The internet is enormously vast, with information on virtually every topic. A person can pretty much type anything into Google, even a question, and get what they are looking for. When talking about how the availability of information has changed society for the better, think of how hard it was to acquire information for papers for students before the internet. It was accomplished by moderate amount of time spent in a library. However, this led to teaching students good work ethic and did not allow time for procrastination.
Not only can a person just learn anything over the internet, according to Karen Farkas, who wrote an article about “Online education growing as colleges offer more classes to meet student demand”, found that 29% of students have taken one or more online classes (Farkas, Online Education Growing). Although it is not surprising that in today’s day and age it is possible to get a college degree by taking exclusively online classes. Connection to the internet is not the only negative aspect of technology that computers provide. Consider automated answering systems and the disconnect of speaking to a human being.
The only individuals who see any benefit in these systems are executives who, with their eyes on the bottom-line, look upon them as a cheap way to reduce or eliminate customer service personnel. These systems create the illusion of offering customer service when, in fact, they have practically eliminated customer service altogether and shipped what is left overseas. Automated answering systems constitute an area of technology that symbolizes what happens when tasks that only a human being can perform effectively are left to machines. Customers universally hate these systems because they provide little or no ervice, waste time, and often put the customer into an electronic loop that leads nowhere. The worst of these systems are those that provide voice messages in which a machine pretends to be a real human being. Verizon Wireless is a great example of this nightmare of a system. The creators of the Verizon System actually programmed the computer to recognize profanity, which usually is caused by frustration, and automatically connect you to a “real” human. While we may find definite advantages to almost any technological advancement, it is very difficult to find anything good to say about automated phone systems.
In contrast, few of us question the value of technological advances in transportation – notably motor vehicles and airplanes. Because of these developments, we can travel further and faster than anyone a century ago would have imagined possible. However, even here technology has its downside. We live in a more dangerous world, not only because cars, trucks, and airplanes can kill but also because the ease and speed with which we can get from one place to another has made national borders more porous.
The same technology that can deliver us to Grandma’s house halfway across the world can also deliver an explosive device that can obliterate Grandma and a few thousand of her neighbors. The recent discussions with North Korea are just an example. In addition, we have been seriously depleting the Earth’s natural resources to run these machines and have appreciably hastened global warming because of the gasses that they emit. On a simpler level, too, we may perhaps question whether it is necessarily desirable to go further and faster. Is it always better? Do we enjoy the trip more, or has the process of getting there become a hassle?
For what are we saving all this precious time? Is it to have more time to watch commercials on TV, many of them promoting technology that we don’t need? Entertainment is probably the one area in which technology has had positive effects with very little negative impact. If the content of television is mediocre, we can’t really blame that on technology. If the music that people listen to on their various gadgets is trash, we can’t blame the gadgets. If we are spending more time being entertained because we have, thanks to technology, a wide variety of entertainments to choose from, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
We can complain about the intrusion of too much marketing in the entertainment media, but that is not the fault of technology. Indeed, with television, there’s a quiet little war going on between the technology that subtly tries to sell us products and the technology that enables us to bleep out the advertisements. To be objective about it, the so-called downside of technology – real as it is – represents more what’s wrong with us than what’s wrong with our creations. We are making them complicated, often more than they need to be, because we arrogantly believe that man will always be the master of the machine.
We turn the cell phone into a public nuisance and a safety hazard instead of a useful tool because we are too foolish to use it wisely. We cause sporadic outbreaks of massive “computer errors” because we are stupid and careless; what we call computer errors are, in fact, idiotic blunders made by human beings. We are the self-destructive species who turn machines for transportation into weapons of mass destruction. The real issue regarding technology is not whether it is good or bad but whether we are grown-up and mature enough to use wisely what we have created.
The evidence suggests that, on the whole, we are not and technology may just be our demise. Works Cited “2001 Internet Fraud Statistics. ” Welcome to Fraud. org, Online Home of NCL’s Fraud Center. National Consumers League, 2002. Web. 23 May 2011. . “Creating & Connecting// Research and Guidlines on Online Social and Educational Networking. ” Creating & Connecting// Research and Guidlines on Online Social and Educational Networking. National School Boards Association, July 2007. Web. 22 May 2011. . Farkas, Karen. “Online Education Growing as Colleges Offer More Classes to Meet Student Demand. Online Education Growing as Colleges Offer More Classes to Meet Student Demand. Cleveland. com, 07 May 2011. Web. 22 May 2011. . Heltz, Braxton. “National Business Association – How The Internet Has Changed The World… ” NBA – Membership Association Serving the Self-Employed and Small Business Community. National Business Association, 2007. Web. 23 May 2011. . Kraut, Robert, Vicki Lundmark, Sara Kiesler, and William Scherlis. “Why People Use the Internet. ” The HomeNet Project. Carnegie Mellon University. Web. 23 May 2011. . Nauert, Rick. “The Internet as Agent of Social Change | Psych Central News. Psych Central – Trusted Mental Health, Depression, Bipolar, ADHD and Psychology Information. Ed. John M. Grohol. Psych Central, 29 Nov. 2006. Web. 23 May 2011. . O’Connor, Rebecca. “Online Fraud Rises by 185 per Cent – Times Online. ” The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion. The Sunday Times, 1 Oct. 2008. Web. 23 May 2011. . Rector, Lucy H. “Reference Services Review | Comparison of Wikipedia and Other Encyclopedias for Accuracy, Breadth, and Depth in Historical Articles. ” Emerald. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2008. Web. 23 May 2011. . Wang, Laurie. “The Effects of Internet Pornography « Power to Change. Power to Change. Power to Change Ministries. Web. 23 May 2011. . Williams, Chris. “Online News and Advantages. ” IdeaMarketers – Free Content Directory. IdeaMarketers. com. Web. 23 May 2011. . ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY “2001 Internet Fraud Statistics. ” Welcome to Fraud. org, Online Home of NCL’s Fraud Center. National Consumers League, 2002. Web. 23 May 2011. . “Creating & Connecting// Research and Guidlines on Online Social and Educational Networking. ” Creating & Connecting// Research and Guidlines on Online Social and Educational Networking. National School Boards Association, July 2007.
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