My hypothesis is focused on the negative impact of technological advances and how technology has changed mankind’s views today. In this study, we look at various topics about things we interact with almost every day of our lives, I believe that mankind has formed an unhealthy attachment to the various forms of technology surrounding them and has encouraged the spread of a materialistic lifestyle and attitude that sees consumption as the only path of prosperity. My project is aimed at proving how technology is not as beneficial to mankind as we all think it is. It has more negative effects to us than positive. Getting started, I focused on the things that surround me, then I realized if everyone was a victim or slave to technology then even I was no different, I like the feeling of having something new, just as much as the next guy, but is it really good for me?
While keeping the saying “everything comes at a price” at the back of my mind. I then began my research focusing on articles and arguments that took place between specialists trying to better my knowledge about impact of technology, but what really inspired me to write this research paper based on the negative impact of technology was my observation of a friend called chuck and his addiction to technology. He genuinely takes pleasure and joy from technology, not a minute passes that he is not using a device or thinking of buying a device which may seem to be a common trend for our generation today. I hope that at the end of this project I will enlighten you about some dangers of technology that we are facing or will face in the near future like environmental and health concerns as well as its effect on various topics like parenting, education, religion and so on.
HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY
WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY?
Technology is defined as” the practical application of knowledge so that something entirely new can be done, or so that something can be done in a completely new way” (what is technology, 2009). Most people confuse technology with inventions but this is not the case. Technology is created or generated from the solutions provided by inventions. Various fields of science as well as commerce and industry have benefited from technology over several centuries of human history (Definition of technology, 2012). STONE AGE
The earliest known use of technology goes back to the Stone Age. “The development of simple tools from wood or shards of rock show some of the first applications of knowledge to create technology to solve a problem” (Definition of technology, 2012). The earliest form of humans and the first creature to create stone tools were the Homo habilis. These tools allowed them to break the link with nature and to start a process which has affected all life on the planet. As their tools advanced so did they into the Homo erectus which experienced the discovery of fire. The discovery of fire dates back to almost 600,000 years and affected our physical evolution, with softer food we grew smaller teeth which gave room for larger brains enabling speech and suddenly food and shelter were easier to acquire allowing larger and healthier populations (Ornstein R & Burke J, 1997). An illustration of the Stone Age is shown below:
As humans continued to evolve, the amount of knowledge increased and history entered the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age shows how man evolved from using simple tools made from wood and stone to developing a way to work with metal, in order to make stronger and more durable tools. The wheel was discovered within this period and has since allowed people greater ability to travel and communicate with each other (Definition of technology, 2012). Illustrations of what modern scientist think the Bronze Age looked like is shown below:
During the iron age humanity had taken a great leap forward, “advances continued rapidly and people developed the ability to work with harder metals and developed the art of smelting iron and retrieving it from ore found in the earth”(Definition of technology, 2012). The Iron Age made way for several branches of technology. Greater tools were developed for the benefit of civilization including weapons that help protect us and technology that helped simplify our tasks and make life easier for us. Advances such as transportation and manufacturing all are development that took place during the Iron Age (Definition of technology, 2012). Illustrations of the early Iron Age are displayed below:
Source: http://www.kidspast.com/world-history/0024C-precious-metals-continued.php “As each age builds on the developments of the previous ones, new knowledge is obtained along the way, this new set of knowledge and the knowledge base of the past allow for new applications to the needs of society” (Definition of technology, 2012). The history of technology indicates that as technology becomes more advance so do humans and there way of thinking. Technology has played a major role in our development today and is an important part of most of our lives.
TECHNOLOGIES IMPACT ON THE SOCIETY AND BUSINESSES
Technology as stated above is an important part of most our lives and a lot of people cannot imagine what their life will be like without the internet, and electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, televisions etc. According to the responses gotten from my questionnaire, 11 out of 15 people agree that they use electronic devices 4 hours a day minimum, which is about 75 percent of the people asked. Technology is growing at a very fast rate and things that we thought were not possible a few years ago are now becoming a reality, which shows that technology holds endless promise and could go even past what we expect. Most people will praise technology for its numerous achievements and advancements that they benefit from almost every day of their lives. However, what they fail to realize is that it has affected and continues to affect society and people in general in a negative way. IMPACT ON PARENTING AND CHILDREN
Technology is constantly growing and with every generation comes with it, new technological advances and development. “Technology has had many effects on children, some effects are good, others not so good. In either case society has to adapt to the fact technology is going to continue to grow and be a staple in a child’s life. Innovation is not going to go away anytime soon, if anything technology will become a larger influence in their lives” (Goessi L, 2007). Many children today are addicted to the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, computer, video games, etc. and according to the responses gotten from my questionnaire 10 out of 15 people agree that technology has affected parenting negatively.
Source: http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-photo/dhjv62a/1/1248702970/children-playing-with-water.jpg/tpod.html In the past, children spend their time outdoors making friends, playing and running around the neighborhood look for the ice cream man. Children didn’t have video games to replace games like cops and robbers that were played outdoors. Back then life was more carefree and children did not have electronic items or devices like cell phones to them busy. Parent could afford to let their children go outdoors in search of adventure without worrying excessively like we do now a days. The growth of the media thanks to technology has made parents paranoid by constantly reminding them about the negatives in society. Parents nowadays, encourage the use of technology as a substitute to their children going out doors, forgetting the various effects technology can have on children such as promoting fast food and laziness which could lead to childhood obesity, making them addicted to games and the internet as well as preventing face to face interaction making them unable to express themselves (Goessi L, 2007).
MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH CONCERNS
Technological advances in the field of medicine and health services are perhaps the most vital in our society today (Buttepatil P.R. 2012).” This field deals with the maintenance, prolongment and restoration of human health through the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injury” (Buttepatil P.R. 2012). Technology has provided us with numerous ways to manage and treat diseases, for example X-rays help in the treatment of broken or fractured bones, Pacemakers and artificial hearts help prolong the life of people with damaged hearts and tools like mammograms help doctors to find cancers before it becomes life threatening(Why is technology important,2012). Although technology has provided us with numerous ways to treat sickness and prolong life, electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, television sets etc. have raised some health concerns.
For instance many scientists believe that we are hypersensitive to the electromagnetic waves that are produced by the Wi-Fi and phone signals which surround us and this could lead to cancer (Health problems caused by technology, 2011). Scientist also believe that use of electronic devices can reduced a man sperm count “Using a mobile phone for more than four hours a day can increase the risk of sperm damage due to electromagnetic radiation,” says Dr Ashok Agarawal, of the Cleveland Clinic of the U.S. (Deafness Caused By Loud Noise, Health Problems From Technology, Injuries Caused By Technology, 2010). Other health concerns include internet addiction, deafness caused by loud noise from electronic devices, back and leg problems from using computers, sperm count problems, people refusing to interact with each other and much more (Deafness Caused By Loud Noise, Health Problems From Technology, Injuries Caused By Technology, 2010). TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESSES
Technology has had a massive impact on the business world. Technological has changed the way business is done all over the world. Technological advances like the internet allows people to communicate and hold meetings from different geographical locations all over the world. Ecommerce enables people to make purchases from almost anywhere and allows businesses to save cost on inventory. People doing business can exchange information very easily which makes business processes faster and more efficient. The way business is done nowadays is truly nothing like it was before technology took over and mass industrialization took off. Although technology has help improve the way people do business and expand their markets, it has also had some negative impacts on businesses.
The newspaper industry, for instance has suffered greatly because of recent technological advances like the cell phones nowadays that contain so many features that it practically renders news papers useless which has made some newspaper companies shut down because they can’t compete and not enough revenue is coming in. other sectors that have been affected by technology are the music and movie industry. Companies that produce CDs for music and make DVDs for movies have practically been rendered obsolete because the internet provides us with access to all this material without having to live our home and with the large storage capacity of present day computers there is hardly a need for CDs and DVDs (Corkern .A, 2011). Due to the technological advances some companies have to struggle in order to survive. Most companies choose to upgrade and use the latest technology in order to compete and this might lead to people losing their jobs and unemployment increasing.
IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON EDUCAGTION
Technology has also had great impacts on education. Every individual learns differently and we all learn at different paces depending on the subjects. Technology has helped learning to become richer due to the availability of large databases from the internet and has provided ways for individuals to learn from anywhere in the world. Technological advances like E-learning systems have given teachers employment and have enabled students from all over the world to get a proper education without having to move. Through webcams and Internet connectivity, students connect with other students across the world to learn about their language, culture, religion, and their daily lives.
According to the responses from my questionnaire, about 14 out of 15 people which is about 93 % of the people asked agreed that technology is an effective tool for students of all abilities and increases academic achievement when implemented moderately. However, a lot of people also agreed that majority of their time is spent on non academic activities and that technology is costly in terms of resources, time and effort. Technology has provided opportunities for many students who would not ordinarily have such access and this is to great advantage. However there are a few disadvantages that this poses.
Source: http://teacherstraining.com.au/technology-in-school/ Devices such as cell phones, computers and TVs act as distractions and create a strong barrier against education. Instead of enhancing learning, school becomes an environment purely for social interaction. Technology has encouraged learning by making a large amount of information available on the internet. However, this has also encouraged plagiarism. Students and Teachers alike are driven to easily take information that they find on the internet and use it without proper evaluation, referencing and attribution to the original authors or creators of these resources. This does not support discipline and the main reason for learning which is to create original ideas from fresh knowledge or pre-existing ones through adequate methods.
Teachers must be prepared to deal with these issues as they use technology in their classrooms. E-learning systems have helped spread education all over the world. However, Students do not have the opportunity to have a physical interaction with one another. The students are in a virtual world where they are not able to sit down together, interact and learn from one another’s experiences. This poses a challenge in general as the reason for a campus is to drive person to person learning, cultural exchange and most importantly discipline. Online learning takes away this important part of learning.
IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND GLOBAL WARMING
WHAT IS GLOBAL WARMING?
“Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels”(Riebeek H.2010). The increase in the overall temperature of the earth is called the greenhouse effect which is necessary for the survival of all life on our planet. Due to a larger increase of average global temperatures these days people are starting to point fingers at technology for speeding up this process to a point that is unsafe, putting the future of mankind at risk. Most people according to my questionnaire agreed to the contribution of technology to global warming while other disagreed because they felt that it is a myth and doesn’t really exist. However, many scientists have proven its existence by noticing change in the environment like rising of sea levels. The image below shows the increase in mean surface temperature after every twenty years:
There is a lot of debate on this topic. However most people will agree that the main cause of global warming is manmade. Most forms of technology nowadays are designed to consume a lot of energy and the main source of this energy is the burning of fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. Although scientist are trying to develop alternative fuels to reduce the pressure on the environment, machines for everyday use like cars and machines for production of goods and service still continue to consume a lot of energy, putting all of our live at risk.
In conclusion, technology has changed our lives in many ways both positive and negative. Most people know of the damage I mentioned above and although their ethics, cultural norms and values go against the excessive use of technology, most people can’t imagine their life’s without it. They refuse to accept the fact that technology is like a double edged sword which on one side can kill someone and on the other side can lead to ones own protection. However, the decision to use it proficiently is ones own decision. Technology will always continue to grow and in order to ensure that it keeps benefiting mankind we should try and make sure that we don’t let technology control us.
This is a copy of the questionnaire used to the research for this project. Study on the Effects of Technology
This questionnaire is part of a project being conducted in order to know the various effects of technology on mankind and to determine whether it has more positive impacts than negative. This questionnaire will focus on things we interact with and witness every day. This questionnaire is not very complex and we assure you that all data collected is confidential and anonymous. You may choose to participate or not and are free to discontinue participation at any time.