Double-edged sword

The term “technology” is usually applied to electronics today, but I think it important to recognize all of what falls under this umbrella-term to best determine its purpose. By definition, technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. This encompasses man-made fire, spoken and written language, clothing, and even silverware—all are innovations intended to ease the strain of daily survival and existence. As Louis C.K. noted with cell phones, it is absolute reliance on technology that starts to cause problems.

People commonly rely on their phones and email to communicate with anyone who isn’t sitting right next to them, but sadly even that has exceptions. We can hope that impersonal online connectivity does not entirely replace personal interaction in some dystopian future, but we are already witness to the changes it is causing. The entire online dating industry is an example of the reconstitution of personal relationships resulting from modern electronics. Text messaging, as we mentioned in discussion, is a revolutionary social technology. Unfortunately, most of us lack the literary expertise required to simulate the subtleties of intimate human interaction through text conversation, and this is probably why it is so popular among those who wish to escape face-to-face socialization.

When technology is used to replace, rather than augment, an experience like socialization, the technology becomes more of a handicap than a beneficial tool. I believe this is what makes many people view any technology in a negative light, like any other addictive substance: the user’s lack of self-control or good judgment.

 

-Trent Rommel

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