Some people distrust technology, or think they do. Some people dislike technology, or think they do. But why?
I asked that question, and got a nice variety of answers from a nice variety of people. Of course it wasn’t a proper survey, but I think it covered every possible perspective on the issue, and then some. 🙂
But I was able to boil it all down to this: people who don’t like technology do not like it because it is new.
No duh, right? That is what technology means: new. Or at least it does now. Back in Webster’s time it meant something else (the arts). Now it means a nice variety of things depending on who you ask.
- the practical application of science to commerce or industry.
- engineering: the discipline dealing with the art or science of applying scientific knowledge to practical problems.
- human as well as other animal species’ usage and knowledge of tools and crafts, and how it affects a species’ ability to control and adapt to its natural environment.
- the study of or a collection of techniques.
- human innovation in action that involves the generation of knowledge and processes to develop systems that solve problems and extend human capabilities.
- the application of scientific advances to benefit humanity.
- application of knowledge to meet the wants of people.
- the usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, and crafts, or is systems or methods of organization, or is a material product (such as clothing) of these things.
Of course all that does not negate the fact that technology means ‘new’ in addition to all those meanings and uses.
But with all that defining, we have come to an important place. We realize:
- Everything that we have done was, at one time at least, technology. Including cloth, wheels, fire, cars, telephones, buildings, everything.
- God commanded us to invent technology (as a part of the dominion mandate) to His glory.
Therefore, technology, in and of itself, cannot be evil or even bad. Like many other things, it completely depends on how you go about using and making it that makes it good or bad: context is crucial.
People still think of computers and computer related technologies as technology, though, and complain about it frequently. They blame all kinds of things on technology (everything from decreasing IQ to increasing destruction of the ecosystem), and quail at the thought of the newer, better, more powerful and pervasive technologies that are coming up. So we come back to our original question:
Relatively speaking, things that are new, by definition, are untried, are untested, are changes, are untraditional, are different, and are generally better at something in some way. These things are not necessarily wrong or bad: they are necessary steps towards completion and acceptance. Of course each one of these has the potential to create problems, and that is why each technology must be weighed by the creators and the users to see if the potential for benefits outweighs the potential for problems. Everything is like that. Even getting up in the morning is subjected the same analysis. It is a part of everyday existence.
But doesn’t technology make us more lazy by making things easier?
That is a response elicited by one of the above listed qualities of technology: improvement. Technology makes something better at doing something, generally. Every objection I have seen to technology falls into a category arising from one or other of those qualities.
But does it?
Yes and no. Yes, because it enables us to do more with less. No, because that is not a bad thing.
Think about it: if you use less resources to do the same amount you were doing before, then you can use your saved resources to do more. You become more productive, not less. That is why third world countries have more and can do more than many of the richest lords of the old ages, despite their squalor in comparison to us. We are able to do things that people of older generations could not have dreamed of. This is a good thing.
The bad thing is not the technology itself, but how people use it. People can use guns in a good way or in a bad way. People can use cars in a bad way or a good way. People can use computers in a bad way or a good way. Technology is where people have a choice of whether to use it in a bad way or a good way.
But what if it collapses and we are all handicapped? Should we rely on it?
This is really a rather annoying question. Haha. What if all the cars in the world stopped working simultaneously? Wouldn’t we all be crippled? All of our networks would be hampered greatly, and it would take a lot to get back up again. It would be a global crisis.
Yes. But… so what? What if wheels stopped working? What if phones stopped working? What if planes stopped working? What if computers stopped working? Same problem, same question, same situation, same answer: it would be bad, but I would be surprised if it did happen (especially in the case of wheels).
What if technology takes over the world?
This is actually rather silly. Computers are everywhere, so people assume that they are taking over. Wheels and fire are everywhere as well as electricity, but they aren’t taking over the world. The idea that computers can do any more than ubiquitously serve us is evolutionary in source. Computers cannot become sapient. Period. They can only do what they are programmed to do, and just because it might do it better than a human could does not mean it is better than the human. Cranes are stronger than humans. Cars are faster. Computers might one day get smarter than our mutated and worn out minds. They will not conquer us.
People might by using computers, but computers by themselves won’t. No more than the shirt on your back.
What are your thoughts, comments, additions? Can you think of anything to add? Do you disagree? Why?