Technological Advancements: When is Enough, Enough?

jaclyntommer

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Through rapid and intense development of technology in recent decades, social media, along with other forms of technology, has taken a firm and possessive hold of our everyday lives. It is easy for us to highlight all that technology and social media has provided us with in the recent years, but many people do not realize that the lasting effects of such things are causing considerable harm to our society. Although there are both positive and negative effects, technology has definitely brought about more harm than good to the society we know and inhabit today.*

*********** Given that social media is one of the most popular and recent technological advances, people, and in particular young people, no longer tend to live in the moment or actually experience something while it is happening, but rather, prefer to view a snapchat story or an Instagram post. Face to face communication has been eliminated and almost fully replaced with screen to screen interaction. More often than not we see instances where people use social media or technology as a method of protection or something to hide behind. While these are serious statements made against society, it is vital that people see the ways in which the use of incredible yet threatening technologies and social media outlets need to be improved. Although many people do see the negative impacts caused by such things, we just can't seem to back away from it. In an article published in the New York Daily News, author Sharelle M. Burt lays out the details for her readers. She states, “Technology can also apparently affect your state of being — a little more than half of millennials believe they would be happier if they could use their smartphones less.” (5). With more than half of millennials wishing they could take a step back from today's technology, I find it easy to agree with this, as when I was growing up technology, while present, was far more limited. A decrease in the quality of life is evident to me and society would greatly benefit from everyone taking a step back from their hand held devices.*

*********** Another reason society and individuals would benefit from a decrease in social media and technology is that the internet and electronic devices are taking over basic things ranging from reading and how we absorb information, all the way to things such as jobs and career opportunities. In Nicholas Carr's “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, he explains the ways in which reading an article or collecting research online differs from obtaining this information from a book. Carr cites multiple educated individuals such as doctors and blog authors who discuss how the internet has made them unable to read longer bodies of work, and the difficulty they have absorbing information as their eyes analyze it from a congested website. Sure, the internet does have the ability to lead us to read more and even more frequently, Carr goes on to explain. But as for what and how we are actually reading, Carr says “…it's a different kind of reading, and behind it lies a different kind of thinking.” (738). Not just reading online, but communicating screen to screen takes away our ability to actually understand the words that are being written to us. Breaking down the thoughts and understanding the tone of a message sent by email or text message is nearly impossible when surrounded by relentless notifications and the obstacle of monotone Times New Roman font.

*********** Concerning the impacts of technology on employment, Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist of the IMF and currently a Professor of Economics at Harvard University, brings an outlandish, yet very fitting point to the attention of his readers. In an article he published on World Economic Forum, Rogoff discusses the threat professional chess players faced in the 1970's, as they feared computers would soon acquire the capability to play chess better than humans. He goes onto discuss the victory of the IBM computer who beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov. “Soon, potential chess sponsors began to balk at paying millions of dollars to host championship matches between humans. Isn't the computer world champion, they asked?” (2). If careers as far out as professional chess playing are being to be ruled out by devices, who knows what jobs will be left for humans in the work force in a few short years from now. Not only have the affects of technology on employment left countless individuals jobless, but now also has begun forcing people to live their lives day to day saying they lost their career to a device.

Certainly technological and social media progressions have brought about a series of positive effects, but are the pros of these effects enough to outweigh the cons? While it may be appealing and extremely convenient for anyone to be able to post or view anything and everything at the touch of a button, think of what comes along with this. The simple “touch of the button” has not only serious but potentially everlasting consequences. In a society where people, especially growing children and teenagers, see themselves as invincible or think the delete button really means delete and sharing personal information is okay because they are separated by cyberspace, it is dangerous to put the power of posting in the hands of those individuals. While some do fear that technological advancements are reducing the need for human labor and contributing to the termination of certain lines of work, it is also true that technological and social media advancements bring about new job opportunities. For example, think about the thousands of people Facebook employs or the people who have careers in the technical support field. Although this may sound great and can act as a promising example of all the good technology has done for the world, further studies discussed in Kenneth Rogoff's “The Impact of Technology on Employment” show that the use of robots and online shopping could result in the loss of up to 5-10 million retail jobs per year (2). There is no doubt that technology and social media do a great deal of good for society, but the consequences and harmful impacts of such things outweigh the minimal and temporary joys they provide.*

*********** With society as a whole growing, this means things such as technology and social media grow at double the speed. While some may see this as a positive and helpful growth overall, it is evident that these things contribute heavily to everything we find going wrong and all of the unprecedented occurrences in our society. Technology has provided a platform for both physical and mental danger and addiction to devices and social media has only gone on to further these dangers. True, the creation and use of technology and social media outlets can be helpful in many ways, but the advancements have gone too far and are greatly misused in society. It is time for individuals to look up from the screen and see the faulty world that technology has created around them.



Works Cited
Burt, Sharelle M. "Work, Relationships and Self: Webby Awards Research Shows the Impact That
Technology Has on Our Lives." New Yorl Daily News, 24 Oct. 2015, [url=http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/]Lifestyle: Food, Health, Homes, NYC Events - NY Daily News[/url]
new-research-shows-internet-impacts-lives-article-1.2409204. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.
Rogoff, Kenneth. "The Impact of Technology on Employment." World Economic Forum, 2 Oct. 2012,
[url]www.weforum.org/agenda/2012/10/king-ludd-is-still-dead/[/url]. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Norton Field
Guide to Writing, 4th ed, W.W. Norton & Company, 2008, pp. 735-48.
 
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