Discovering the Relevance of Words
Technology is what gave humans the edge that we needed to rise above our ape cousins the use of tools is a show of intelligence. As humans have evolved over the course of a few million years the technology that we use has evolved with us. We have gone from the use of simple stone tools to being able to manipulate the metals within our great planet. The ability to use tools is a testament to human achievement. Without our technology, we are no better than a chimp in the zoo. Technology is a tool, and with every tool, the user has a choice to use it with responsibility.
The way we as a species choose to use our technology is completely up to us. We can either use it to influence others by replacing emotions with material items, like CEO of major advertising company, Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts, or we can use it to help those less fortunate, like the philosopher, Peter Singer. Each of these men chose to utilize the tools at their disposal however they wish. In the end, both methods go towards a bigger purpose by helping out their fellow-man, whether it is through economic means or charitable donations. In Peter Singer’s article titled “The Singer Solution to World Poverty,” he quotes philosopher Peter Unger on his 1996 book, Living High and Letting Die. “He [Unger] even tells his readers that they can easily donate funds by using their credit cards and calling one of these toll-free numbers” (Singer 61). This method can be viewed as an example of technology being used responsibly. The ability to electronically send money to someone who is halfway across the globe has improved the connectedness humans have had for millennia.
Someone who uses technology irresponsibly would be in the case of 24-year-old James Holmes, who took a tool used for self-defense or war and turned it on “a dozen innocent people during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises on the 20 July, 2012”(Ferner). People like this are on the dark side of technological advancements and give some reason to believe that technology has ruined our great society.
Those who believe that the world would be better had we never invented the current technology do not seem to realize that the modern technology is the same as the technology of the past. Search engines such as Google are just a step up from the original search engines, libraries’ vast sources of information at the tip of one’s fingers, anything that anyone has ever wanted to know is only a click away. Gone are the days of spending hours trying to hunt down the book needed for a reference in that final paper. If technology were to stop advancing and come to a screeching halt, most countries may still be trying to fight wars with sticks and stones. While it is true that technology has a dark side, such as how social networking has allowed individuals with dark intentions to find others with similar interests and for them to rally together than in years past, there is always a lighter side, like with the KONY2012 film that received “over 105 million views worldwide” (InvisibleChildrenInc). With this campaign, the youth of the world participated in a worldwide canvassing campaign, called “Cover the Night.” The purpose of this campaign was to spread awareness about Joseph Kony and to try to get him arrested by December 2012. Without the current technology, this global campaign would not have been possible.
On the other end of this argument there are those who believe that technology has never been better with the advancements made in the fields of medicine and education. With modern technology, humans are able to have a better quality of life and live longer. No longer are heart problems a death sentence. In the year 1996, a Chinese American by the name of Mr. Yao ST was the first man to receive a total artificial heart transplant. In 2011 he was still alive and well. This is an amazing feat, and a great display of how technology has advanced to such a level where we are even able to defy death itself.
With the new technology some children are learning how to use iPhones and iPads as early as six years of age. This has wonderful benefits with this new generation of children able to learn how to read and type at an earlier age than ever before.
Then there are those of us who realize that the technology in years past has taken on a new form in today’s tech. The newspapers of the past have not disappeared but instead made the change over into website form. Those who failed to make the transition into the digital world were doomed to fail. Borders bookstore, which had not turned a profit since 2006, closed their doors for good in September of 2011 after not changing over to a more digital format and instead to stay with physical books unlike their rivals such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon that started selling eBooks.
It made a pretty big bet in merchandising. [Borders] went heavy into CD music sales and DVD, just as the industry was going digital. And at that same time, Barnes & Noble was pulling back,” says Peter Wahlstrom, who tracks Barnes & Noble for the investment research firm Morningstar. He says Barnes & Noble also invested in beefing up its online sales. Eventually, it also developed its own e-reader, the Nook. Borders did not. Instead, it expanded its physical plant, refurbished its stores and outsourced its online sales operation to Amazon (Noguchi).
People and companies alike still choose to cling to the “old ways.” This should not be the case. Instead, they should embrace the new, more connected world. In this new, connected world one is able to go online and purchase a book and then have it instantly appear on their eBook that can hold 6,000 books, plus other features.
With this great power comes great responsibility. If we do not use this technology in a responsible manner, we can become too dependent on it. This is the case in the 2008 Pixar film Wall-E; set in the future. The viewer sees what has become of the human race. This future displays humans as gelatinous blobs that lounge around all day in mobile E-Z chairs, while robots do the hard labor. It is quite obvious that this society is still very technology oriented. This of course, shows the worst case scenario of the human-technology relationship. While this is an extreme scenario it can still be possible if humans continue to use technology irresponsibly and be as dependent on it as we are. In the movie there is a fictional company by the name of Buy N Large that monopolized the entire world, including the government. The CEO of this company became the most powerful man in the world. This company controlled every aspect of the future society’s lives, from what trending item to buy to what and when to eat. Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker uses an analogy at the end of his article titled “The Information: How the internet gets inside us,” “Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn’t really about the quality of the bread or how it’s sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It’s all about the butter” (5). The toast in this analogy is the internet and the butter is the way it is used. Basically, what this can be interpreted as that it is not about the technology but rather how we choose to use it.
One big fear that almost everyone has about the connectedness of our world is that nothing is private. Within the dark corners of our minds, where we hold our most private thoughts and desires can, be found on the internet. Anything that you have ever wanted to know can be easily found online, and this scares some people because there are things that we would not share with our mothers and wives. With this new connected world everything is saved onto one’s computer or smartphone, forever. Every fetish video or Facebook comment is archived by these websites and can easily be digitally traced back to you. For some sites, like Facebook and various other blogging websites, have replaced the diaries that people once held dear. The problem with this new form of a diary is that it can be publically viewed by anyone with internet access. No longer are your thoughts and feelings confined to the pages of a book. They are now in digital form ready to be shared with roughly 7 billion people with the click of a button. It all boils down to how we as a society choose to use this powerful tool.
Ferner, Matt. “Aurora Theater Shooting: City Of Aurora Seeks Feedback On Massacre Site’s Future.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 Aug. 2012.
Gopnik, Adam. “The Information: How The Internet Gets Inside Us.” The New Yorker. Condé Nast, 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 22 Aug. 2012.
InvisibleChildrenInc. “KONY 2012.” YouTube. YouTube, 05 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Aug. 2012.
Noguchi, Yuki. “Why Borders Failed While Barnes & Noble Survived.” NPR. NPR, 19 July 2011. Web. 21 Aug. 2012.
Roberts, Kevin. “Diamonds in the Mine.” Lovemarks. Brooklyn: Powerhouse Books,
2005. 154-160. Print.
Singer, Peter. “The Singer Solution to World Poverty.” New York Times Magazine 5
Sept. 1999: 60-63. Print.