Technology does the good outway the bad?

As a freshman in high school in the year 2016, it is obvious that technology has been a major part of my life for the majority of it. However it did not really blast off until I turned 8 years old. One night, my family, and I were sitting around the dinner table, and my dad was telling us about this new thing he ordered online, he called it an iPad. He said it was like a laptop without the keyboard, a laptop that you could touch. It sounded absolutely incredible, and it was. So much power at one man's, I couldn’t even comprehend all the things it could do, it was unheard of. I was hooked, and apparently everybody else was too. As of March, 2016, Apple sold 308 million of these iPads. Apple changed the way we think of computers, and that would change the world.

The original tablet, the iPad.

Now, I wield the sweet, sweet power of the internet in my hands whenever I want to, and think nothing of it. I can watch The Empire Strikes Back on my computer, while playing Flappy Golf with friends at the same time, when I’m bored during free period. Every classroom I’ve been in this year consists of students each with their own laptop. Doing school work without the internet has become near impossible. It has become clear that the game has changed and the looming presence of technology has become a necessary part of our everyday lives. But as human beings we ask ourselves questions all the time, and an important but somewhat question that humanity has posed has been : Is technology all that good?

A major source of our technologic obedience goes to our cell phones. We use them to communicate with others, store information, and capture moments with our camera. When the iphone came out in 2007, people weren’t aware of the future that laid ahead of us, the people buying the product had no idea of its capabilities. Now nearly every person who owns a phone uses it for everything they can. We take pictures of our food, our pets, ourselves, and broadcast it to the rest of the world. Social media has become a massive part of society, some people are judged simply on their facebook page or their number of twitter followers. The only problem is that social media might be disconnecting us from the world around us. The recent rise of fake news on social media, has tricked us into forming biases, and views based on things others have said.

Another reason why our phones may be hurting us is that we rely on them so much. A children’s book author named Jon Klassen, wrote a book in 2011 called I Want My Hat Back. It is about a bear who has misplaced his beloved hat, goes on a frantic hunt for it throughout the book, and eventually finds it. At first this just seems like a simple, childish story meant to put children to bed and make them feel good that the bear found his hat. But as the book continues, I realized something: I know exactly how this bear feels. I experience the exact same feelings when I misplace my iphone. I then said to myself “I want my phone back”, and it suddenly clicked. The book is a metaphor for the terrifying feeling we all have when we can’t find our phones. I know personally the feeling of reaching for my phone and not having it be there. Immediately your brain runs through all possible situations in which it could have been lost, or every place you have recently been in case it might be there. This begs the question of what might happen if we lost our phones, or our computers, or our tv’s for good. We use it for so much now, how would we do anything? Like it or not if all technology was destroyed tomorrow, we would be a mess.

The evolution of the

Another danger of technology is the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The idea that the human brain can be designed, programmed, and replicated. Theoretically having robots that can think would be extremely helpful, they could understand what we need, how we need it, and even why we need it. The dream of robots wiping our own asses for us is quickly becoming a reality. However the nightmare that is robots taking over the human race is also much more of a possibility than once thought. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has publically stated that artificial intelligence “could spell the end of the human race.” If we give machines the power to think, what is stopping them from growing more intelligent than us, and from finding ways to overthrow us, and put themselves in control? British inventor Clive Sinclair, the man who produced the first ever pocket calculator, also believes that artificial intelligence will be humanity’s undoing. "Once you start to make machines that are rivaling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it's going to be very difficult for us to survive. It's just an inevitability." A being, that acts like us, thinks like us, that can jump into the internet, and shatter an empire over night. If an artificially intelligent being decided it wanted to, it might be able to access things like our nuclear launch codes, and other highly classified information, and release it to the world, or even hold it ransom, and bring a nation to its knees. A programed person, with the ability to find a weakness in the tightest security. It sounds like science-fiction, but it is one-thousand per cent a possibility.

The concept that in the future, things will be easier, and that technology will open up new opportunities for us as a species, has always been fantasized. Look at the science-fiction genre, movies are made every year about people using interstellar travel, encountering aliens, or robots, all in world where technology is advanced. And we watch them, and go home reassured that none of that could ever happen. Well it is time for us to open our eyes and look at our new world. Yes, all of the technology we have access to is absolutely incredible, and the thought of it somehow becoming better is mind-numbing. But if we are not careful, something that is in our homes, our cars, even our pockets, could destroy us all.

Jenna Wortham “Is Social Media Disconnecting Us From the Big Picture?” The New York Times Nov. 22, Accessed 8 December, 2016

Kevin Kelly “How technology evolves” Ted Uploaded by Ted, February, 2005

Klassen, Jon. I Want My Hat Back. Candlewick Press, 2011

Jamie Lincoln Kitman. “Google Wants Driverless Cars, But Do We?” The New York Times, no.2, 19 Dec. 2016 Accessed 19 December, 2016

Hiawatha Bray “A civil defense for the cyber age?” The Boston Globe 18 Dec, 2016. Acessed 19 December, 2016

Peter Holley “Bill Gates on dangers of artificial intelligence: ‘I don’t understand why some people are not concerned’” The Washington Post 29, Jan , 2015, Accessed January 4, 2017


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