Technology Essay, Research Paper
In this paper I plan to defend the position that impact of technology on the society has far more positive sides than negative. One could not possibly imagine how a life would be without a TV set, automobile, birth control pill, etc. Technology is what makes these goods available for us to enjoy at our discretion. The term ?at our discretion? is the main cause of negative effects of technology.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 ? 1955) was one of the first to note that our society is rapidly changing in profound ways. Information age that he sensed came true, in which we live today. Intellectual development is changing the society into what he called ?a global brain? instead of a global village as was predicted earlier. Teilhard named this phenomenon the ?Noosphere: the sphere of human knowledge and wisdom expanding exponentially in volume and speed.?
The modern satellite communication networks, fiber optic cables, everyday-improving computer systems, and other technologies power this explosion of the information. It enables us to get in touch with the necessary sources faster, cheaper and in a more reliable ways. Information technology is the key to the major change of the face of our society. Homes used to be simply storage of most of the tangible personal assets, place to relax and sleep. As information technology improves, homes will ultimately become a place to work, get medical treatment, study, etc.
We are already witnessing some of these changes. In China more than four million students receive instructions via the National Satellite Television University. In India more than one million students are schooled via the INSAT satellite network. Groups such as NASA?s biomedical research team are exploring such techniques as remote telerobotic surgery, in which a laser beam guided by a robotcomputer is able to track the commands of a remotely located surgeon down to .001 inch.
To face the downward effects of the technology one must recognize the environmental pollution, stress, drug addiction, loss of privacy, ?deskilling? of many occupations, etc. For example many architects, accountants, and other professions that used to require extensive proficiency in the field, are threatened daily by the computer programs and expert systems. On the other side, these programs are providing a faster, more efficient and more reliable solutions than a human mind could. Increased unemployment is another issue often brought up as a major destructive effect on the society by technology. All the jobs that are taken by machines are replaced by different types of jobs out there. The only problem is the human unwillingness to change and adapt to the new style of living. Every single industrial worker that has lost his or her job in the process, has an opportunity to be a part of the industrial revolution, and instead of working on the assembly line in the factory he or she can be the one programming or manufacturing the machines that replaced him or her. Once again the only problem is the human laziness and unwillingness to adapt. Ultimately the society will have to adapt to the new lifestyles in order to enjoy higher standard of living that technology provides to it.
The twentieth century has seen the rise of democratic political systems based on the free-market capitalistic ideals where maximum profits, and access to material goods and services are the top priority. This is becoming the prevalent social system mainly due to its support for developing technologies that provide a higher standard of living.
The importance of global availability of information cannot be stressed enough. Advanced telecommunications systems now operate at speeds of up to 1 terabyte per second. The latest developments in fiber optic cables, satellite transmission systems, and sophisticated multiplexing technologies suggest that in the twenty first century almost unlimited amounts of information may be transmitted anywhere at minimal costs. What we could achieve over the next thousand, million or even billion years seems unlimited.
The main problem with the question of where we will be in the 30th, 60th or 341st century is another question: Will earth exist as a planet and humans as species by then? Global pollution, ozone holes, global warming, depletion of natural resources are simply few of the questions raised on this matter. Developing technology is what got us in the position to worry about these, but we are paying more and more attention to these issues. Satellites and Global Positioning Systems monitor daily the holes in the ozone and rain forests are being replenished. We are turning more toward more costly but readily available and recyclable energy sources such as sun, wind, geothermal wells and artificial photosynthesis. New technology is finding new ways for a harmonic life among humans and planet earth.
It seems very likely that Homo Sapiens will survive as species for a number of milleniums from now. The long-term survival adjustments are still to be made. First of all we need to solve our environmental problems and then eliminate the threat of and asteroid or a comet impact. There is increasing evidence that our planet has been threatened on more than one occasion by the impact of a comet or a meteor. Future high power lasers that may be installed on the surrounding planets are one way of prevention of the issue. As Arthur Clarke said, the dinosaurs did not survive because they did not have an effective space program.
As humans as species adapt we may eventually evolve into a new species. Implanted microchips may become a necessity for the new day high speed thinking process. The current speed of our brain, which is sixty-four kilobytes per second, is already obsolete. On the other side we are yet to discover technologies to enhance the creative parts of our brains.