Back to The Future was a movie that made many predictions about what was for them the future. Though not all of the predictions became true, they got the overall idea right, technology would be a great aspect of society. We now have small version of a computer with incredibly fast internet at the tips of our hand at all times. According to many scientist, our body (human) evolved to its current form and shape because of series of events that made it extremely necessary in order to survive. In other words, our anatomy developed over time to maximize the chances of our survival; each and every part of our body became tools. However, there was a stop to that anatomical development (at least in the outer physical aspects), that is when our species started to create their own tools. Overtime, our nails were not needed to be so long to cut or use them as self defence, because we created sharp tools out of wood and rock, and overtime, metal. Though, the human body may have stopped evolving, the evolution of tools emerged. Since then, it continues to do so in a shockingly rapid manner; and with it, our over dependence and reliance on today’s greatest (to some degree) and most advanced tool, technology in all its forms.
Technology can make our lives much more easier than it was not too many years ago. However, I wonder whether there is an extent to which it becomes a negative aspect of society? In my humble opinion, I believe there is an extent where technology can become harmful. Some may argue that technology is the best asset to today’s society, and I am in stand to say that they are a hundred per cent wrong, because I am typing this essay on a type of technology (laptop) that facilitates in so many ways in which I do my school assignments, something that my mom and even siblings didn’t have and envy me for. But, to some extent, though technology facilitates every aspect of life, we may have become too dependable on it. Alarm clocks (or phones), are one of my greatest personal examples. A few years back I used to wake up without having to hear the loud ringtone near my ear, that has changed when I started setting up my alarm. Now, my body has completely relied on it to wake up, and when it does not go off, my whole day goes off. That does not happen just to me though, a few months back, my mother did not set an alarm to get up each morning, I then advised her to do in case she ever risked oversleeping; she is now dependent on an alarm, too.
Getting around from place to place has never been so easy, and the GPS (Global Positioning System) has to be accredited for that. Personally, having a voice from my phone tell where to go gave the confidence to drive to new places when I had just begun driving. I remember I thought I would never drive across those scary Portland bridges, but having a GPS gave me the courage to do so. But besides those great aspects of the tool, Eleanor et al have found that we may be missing on a lot of cognitive development when relying on a GPS; this is as they found that London taxi drivers had greater grey matter, or hippocampi (2000). The reliance on a GPS may cause to not fully process and mentally solving maps, therefore storing and easing the retrieval of information in a much more effective way.
Technology can and has influenced or social life more than we tend to give it credit to. Today, many have used technology in the name of “greater communication”. Social media has evolved to be part of most people today (with one of those exceptions being my mom). Now, people can see images of one another on the screen of a computer, smartphone, and/or watch. It sure is handy to be able to communicate “face-to-face” with a person with technology, but there may be a problem when that is the only way we interact with people. Though the creators of online dating sites may not agree, physical and direct communication is necessary for our well being. If we become more comfortable telling people we like them through the tap of a screen, we make have(arguably) become antisocial. Not to mention the dilemma of us trying to recreate perfect images of ourselves to seek social approval.
Finally, and one of the most important evolutions of technology (mostly for the market), is its use to sell products. We are blessed to have an easier time because of technology, but the market’s main use of technology is to make profit. Now, we do not have to turn on a television to see ads of products that are portrayed as an absolute need; today, all we have to do is unlock our phone screens, open one our many apps and be bombarded with advertisements. We can no longer listen to online music without it being interrupted with ads about services that are, conveniently, close to where we (or our mobile devices) are. This clearly shows and supports the theory of a production-centric culture. As it seems, technology serves as a medium for the market to tell us what we need (to buy).
I am by no means attempting to devilize technology, much less to proclaim a ban to it. I would be a hypocrite if I this were the purpose of this paper. My opinion is that we need to become conscious consumers and citizens. Technology is everywhere we go and plan on going. Technology has an impact in our lives every single day, and because of that, we need to be aware of what it does to us. Like other topics, the topic of technology and its effects is very important for us to study. However, I believe that spending the little time we have in this class would be of great benefit for everyone. Because after all, today’s popular culture would not be without the existence of technology.
- Eleanor A. Maguire, David G. Gadian, Ingrid S. Johnsrude, Catriona D. Good, John Ashburner, Richard S. J. Frackowiak, and Christopher D. Frith. “Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers“. PNAS 2000 97 (8) 4398-4403; published ahead of print March 14, 2000, doi:10.1073/pnas.070039597
3. O’Brien S. and Szeman, Imre (2004) Popular Culture: A User’s Guide. “The Culture Industry Thesis.”