The majority of western culture seems to be reliant on technology, but does technology facilitate or hinder us? As a biased approach I would strongly suggest that technology improves our quality of life to the extent that if it were removed from our society, our quality of life would suffer dramatically. In my life I am aided by technology every day so I have chosen three of the most essential and life altering pieces of technology that affect me at present: Printers, word processors and the internet. I will put to you the detrimental effects that removing technology could cause for me, which can be applied to many others either in my situation or in the same frame of mind.
Considering the printer first, disregarding my course and interests, the printer as a whole has allowed life, particularly in western culture, to move at a much faster pace. Consider the expense and availability of books be it printers were removed. Disregard the time it takes for a person to write the original text, a book can now be printed within 48 hours  with little expense incurred. Assuming professional writers were to be employed; writing on average 60 words p/minute. An average book consists of approximately 90000 words; (90000wrds/ 60wrds p/m= 25hrs) so 25 hours of labour. £4.98(National Minimum wage 2012)*25 = £124.50 for each employee with at least 3 days to write, not taking into account the cost of paper, ink, binding and distribution. So on average, in order for publishers to make a profit, each book with cost approximately £200. £200 that I would not be able to pay for each of my course books, and I assume not many other students would either.
So now university is retreating back to the older days where only the middle – higher class would be able to afford the additional fee’s that are incurred. Not to mention that a lot of the working class would not be able to afford books, reading would become a privileged skill that only the higher classes could afford, as it originally was. When the bible would be written by Monks, it was rare for the working class to be able to read it; so the priest who would preach, would be able to interpret the bible in whichever way he liked . Even if we to assume that the typewriter would be a cheaper alternative to writing, it still couldn’t be a viable option as it would still cost around the same price. Not to mention these prices are based on the assumption that no mistakes are made. Human error is inevitable in life, therefore there will be mistakes made which, assuming at a larger extent that many of these books could be already complete before the mistakes are noticed, could cost a large-scale company unimaginable amounts. Books are what people have always referred to as the knowledge of life. Books are a big part in not only my life, but a majority of peoples’ certainly in Britain. Could we really afford to find alternatives that may not live up to its’ predecessors?
Essays, assignments and homework; the basis of my life for the next 3 years, Microsoft Word is going to become my right-hand man not only for ease and time, but also to make sure that my coursework and assignments are accepted. Handwriting is becoming a lot more sloppy and illegible, when writing essays and completing homework, personally I would prefer to use the computer as there will be no difficulties for the tutor in reading the writing of the essay I have submitted. Educationally, when completing an essay or an assignment, especially if it is to be a credited piece of coursework, no student wants to have the danger of illegible handwriting hanging over their head. Students could hand in the most advanced and incredible essay to a tutor, and points could be deducted just for having illegible handwriting.
Although personally my own handwriting isn’t illegible, there are certain letters than I am unable to write to a satisfactory reading level for everyone, therefore I would prefer to write our assignments or essays using the computer, print off the work and hand it in. Although this may take more time, it at least gives me peace of mind that points aren’t being deducted because of my illegible writing. I find writing in Microsoft word much easier than handwriting; people are now finding it much harder to write legible as they aren’t confident enough, our brains are working a lot faster than we are able to write; so our handwriting suffers as a result; this is where word processors really do change and help us. Now, I could not possibly measure the change and aid that gives to my life as it is simply a solution to a growing problem in our society .
The internet is one of the most valuable and knowledgeable tools the computer has to offer. With its’ sizeable accomplishments, the internet has revolutionized the technology age. The internet allows me to communicate with necessary resources, especially in this society. Computers and the internet are heavily relied on when it comes to university, having the convenience of simply uploading a file onto the intranet system which allows for students to print out and use the file how they prefer for their own learning style.
This is a significant save not only for your pocket but for the environment too. Consider my course, Software engineering. Every lecture has at least 20 slides. Since the alternative is not to rely on technology at all, those slides would be converted into notes. 4 pages at least. 20 pages a week. We attend university at least 38 weeks out of the year so; 20 *38 = 760 pages. So, we now have to buy at least 5 notebooks @ approx. £1.50 each = £7.50. Consider the length the lecture will have to be extended to, to allow for every student to copy the notes on the board. The average student can write at a rate of 40 words per minute (take into account most students rely on computers, so handwriting speed and skills tends to be a skill less practiced). 645words per page * 4 pages (front and back)= 2480/ 40 = 62m. So 62 minutes just for writing down the information, not including the time it takes to soak in the information and listen to what the lecturer is teaching you. So either our time with be insufficiently used or our knowledge will be sacrificed, in which case they both dramatically affect my life.
Technology is an adapted part of western culture, specifically referring to students and the youth below. We rely on technology so much that if it were removed, our youth would be dramatically affected. We rely on it for everything from research, to reporting, to solving our problems; technology is part of the family and is here to stay. Technology has built a bridge for fast pace learning, cheaper solutions and even allows us to skip specific learning stages which now seem obsolete to the youth i.e. Grammar. I personally would have great difficulty in finding alternatives which would allow me to storm through life at the pace and level that technology allows; it is the stepping stones which allow knowledge to grow at alarming rates. It is magnificent the accomplishment technology has allowed us to achieve; in medicine, in construction, in agriculture and in discovering our own universe. I propose technology to be one of the most essential assets to our 21st century lives.
 “Pandora’s Box”, Andrew A. Adams and Rachel J. McCrindle, 2010, Chapter 2  http://accomplished.ca/printing_handwriting.html