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Submitted By brycatanz
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Issues related to technology’s presence in our lives

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do". (B. F. Skinner) Technology advancements has been both a blessing and a curse, the benefits of faster, simpler and better has caused society to not only be physically lazy but mentally lazy as well. Society tends to rely on technology probably more than they should, remote control vacuums, talking refrigerators, and controlling appliances from miles away has taken away just small chunks of brain power, but as technology continues to evolve, those chunks keep adding up and soon humans won’t need to use their brains for much of anything. While technological developments have made life amazingly easier, simpler and anything is just a mouse's click away, it has brought several negative health impacts, psychological problems and stress in daily life.
Furthermore, the presence of technology in the world today has created many benefits and issues in almost every facet of life. For instance, in Business, companies are much more productive due to the various advancements in communication. Company provided cell phones, email and instant messenger are just a few of the ways that colleagues, bosses and customers can communicate, allowing instant access and quicker results. One of the newer advancements that I have used recently is called “Telepresence”, which is real-time video conferencing that has the effect of people literally being in the room together when in fact they are hundreds of mile apart. Business’s have benefited greatly from these new technologies, on the other hand, employees are now taking their work home with them and are expected to be available every minute of the day, adding more responsibility and stress.
In the same way business has been changed by technology advancements, education has been hugely impacted as well. Technology has revolutionized the classroom with the infusion of desktop computers, laptops and projectors, making it much easier and possibly more entertaining for the material to be presented to students. Although books are still an invaluable source of learning, the internet is a wealth of knowledge and has made research much simpler and quicker to access. Online classrooms have made it much more convenient for adults and even students from afar to attend school. Even though there are many benefits that technology offers with education, it has a few side effects as well, such as the lack of socializing with other students that online classrooms has introduced and the variety of distractions on the computer while studying, specifically instant messaging and games.
As shown above on how technology has effected society in both business and education, it had a much more drastic effect on an entire way of life for a village in Anwar Accawi’s essay “The Telephone.” Accawi’s essay demonstrates how the introduction of technology changed not only the day to day life of the village people but destroyed Magdaluna by providing the villagers with opportunities outside of the village causing almost everyone to leave. “At Abu Raja’sdikkan, the calls did eventually come, as expected, and men and women started leaving the village the way a hail-storm begins: first one, then two, then bunches. The army took them. Jobs in the cities lured them. And ships and airplanes carried them to such faraway places as Australia and Brazil and New Zealand.” “Within a year, only the sick, the old, and the maimed were left in the village. Magdaluna became a skeleton of its former self, desolate and forsaken, like the tombs, a place to get away from. (Accawi F. Anwar)
Until recently Anne Fadiman author of “Mail” had fought off the adoption of email, she was carrying on the tradition of her father with the excitement of going through the hand written letters. Although Anne was excited about how fast and convenient email was, she was disappointed in how different the English language was becoming as she illustrates in these quotes, “I also take a dim, or perhaps a buffaloed, view of electronic slang” and “We are of a different race from the Greeks, to whom beauty was everything.”
Much like Anne Fadiman, in “The Inheritance of Tools” written by Scott Russell Sanders, he too, is in no rush to accept technology into his life. As Sanders states “There are machines for sale—powered miter boxes and radial arm saws, for instance – that will enable any casual soul to cut proper angles in boards. The skill is invested in the gadget instead of the person who uses it, and this is what distinguishes a machine from a tool. If I had to earn my keep by making furniture or building houses, I suppose I would buy powered saws and pneumatic nailers; the need for speed would drive me to it. But since I carpenter only for my own pleasure or to help neighbors or to remake the house around the ears of my family, I stick with hand tools.”
In contrast to the aforementioned essays above, Verlyn Klinkenborgs essay “Our Vanishing Night”, Verlyn does not mention any of the benefits he only speaks of the negative effect that technology has brought into this world. Specifically light pollution, and the effect it has had on wildlife and the atmosphere. Veryln goes on to state “Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life—migration, reproduction, feeding—is affected.” Not only does Verlyn provide detailed information about the affect of light pollution but he suggests a solution of simply changing lighting design and installation.
In conclusion, just as B.F. Skinner stated "The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." Society needs to look past the benefits of technology, such as making common tasks simpler, and take a deeper look into the health impacts, psychological problems and stress in daily life. Do the benefits outweigh the negative affects? Are we causing harm to nature, animals or ourselves by constantly using these new technological advancements? Instead of becoming overwhelmingly dependant on technology which is taking over the world, society needs to learn how to use it to our benefit in moderation.

REFERENCES Accawi, A. (1997). The telephone (p. 47). Knoxville, Tennessee: The Sun.

Fadiman, A. (2001). Mail (p. 306).

Sanders, S. (1986). G. Talese (Ed.), The inheritance of tools (p. 116).

Klinkenborg, V. (2009). Our vanishing night (p. 358).
National Geographic.

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