At the end of the 19th century, scientists believed that mankind had discovered all there was to discover – that mankind had already exhausted science. Then came the 1900s where Planck proposed the Quantum theory, Landsteiner discovered the human blood groups, Einstein discovered the wave-particle duality of light, Hess discovered cosmic rays, Fleming discovered penicillin, Richter invented the magnitude scale for earthquakes, and so on. The 20th century saw hundreds of amazing scientific discoveries that mankind soon started thinking that there was no end to scientific creativity. We witnessed technology progressed, experienced how it improved our lives, and made the impossible possible. We saw it as a blessing in so many ways. Technological innovation took us from caves to skyscrapers, created virtual reality, speed up transportation and dissemination of information, extended lives and so on. So, no matter the mistakes we have made along the way, we must have done something right.
Not only until recently though that we started to realize that what could be mankind’s greatest innovation could double as the worst thing that ever happened to humanity. Although right now we cannot exactly tell for sure, we can at least make some accurate predictions. So, is technology a bon or a bane? Let us explore its advantages and disadvantages.
List of Advantages of Technology
1. It increased production.
Technology has significantly improved efficiency and benefited businesses across industries. From automakers to bakers, everyone is enjoying its benefits.
2. It increases return on investment.
Businesses nowadays can easily reach their target clients at a much reduced cost though the use of the Internet. They can also now ensure the delivery of merchandises on time through advanced automobile technologies.
3. It made information easily accessible.
Looking for a cure to headache? Need to do some shopping? Writing an academic paper? Searching for a job? You can now do all of these without leaving your house.
4. It supports networking and communication.
The Internet in particular enables us to expand our network of friends and associate effortlessly. We now have social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter to accommodate this. In addition, gone are the days where you need to spend a big amount of money to call someone from the opposite part of the globe. Instant messengers like Skype made communication costless.
Technology has positively impacted our lives in so many ways, and the above are just but a few examples.
List of Disadvantages of Technology
1. It has given birth to destructive weapons.
Technology has given us the atomic bombs, nuclear weapons, poison gas, drones, and so on. And the threat of its abuse and misuse is not only limited to physical warfare, but also biological warfare. One recent innovation that could just wipe out the whole of humanity effortlessly is 3D genomic printing. This technology allows anyone to print any type of cell (including virus) at his disposal. In the future, all one needs to cause human extinction is a genome of a virus and a printing machine.
2. It destroys the environment.
Fossil fuels are extracted from the ground to make cars run and to provide power to households, businesses, computers, etc. Toxic fumes are released into the air as a byproduct of converting fuel into energy. Nitrogen and phosphorous are carried into the ocean because of fertilizer use. Forests are destroyed to build cities and expand human settlements. Mankind is destroying the planet in the pursuit of technology, and these examples are just a few of the havoc we are causing the environment.
3. It has many negative effects on individuals.
Technology, particularly in the form of computers, smart phones, iPods, social networking sites and the like, poses much harm to individual person in both the psychological and physiological aspects. Studies after studies have shown that it can lead to:
Social Isolation – Ask a group of individuals who didn’t know each other to wait in a room, and you will soon see them grabbing their smartphones and getting engrossed in whatever they’re looking at on their screen. We have learned to walk with our iPods on, socialize without physically interacting, and communicate without really connecting.
Lack of Social Skills – The excessive use of instant messengers, SMS and social media resulted in us losing our ability to read body language and social cues in other people.
Obesity – Vehicles, remote control, video games, and computers, these are just some of those technologies that made us lazy to move. Why walk when you can drive? Why play outside when you can play any games you want in your Xbox?
Depression – One thing can lead to another, and depression is just one of the side effects of social isolation and inactivity. The lack of human contact and obesity caused by lack of activity can result to depression, which currently affects millions of people worldwide.
Tendonitis – Excessive use of the thumb to press buttons on mobile devices or video games can result to repetitive strain injury, also called as Blackberry/iPhone Thumb.
Addiction – Guess what? Technology can’t only make you dependent on it but also addicted to it. Studies show that some people can get fidgety or restless when their cell phones are taken away from them.
Lack of Privacy – Gone are the days when we have to approach a person if we want to get his number or address. With a few flicks of the keyboard, anyone can get one’s address and contact information without a sweat. Phishers and hackers are everywhere on the web, and their job was even made easier by those of us who have no sense of privacy.
The negative effects of technology on individuals are numerous, and the above are just the tip of the iceberg.
With all of these said, it is time to answer that one important question: does technology do more harm the good? The answer lies on scale of time you are looking at. Because of its advantages, technology serves us well at this point in time. However, it might not be too long before we pay the price.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.