Is Technology Good or Bad? March 16th

The answer is of course Yes. It is sometimes good and sometimes bad. First we need to agree on what we mean by technology. Everyone probably has a different definition, but mine is that technology is the use of science and engineering to make life better and easier. Technology started millions of years ago and is even used by many animals. Birds using tools to acquire their food are using crude technology. Early humans figured out how to use wedges, rollers, pulleys, and screws to make machines that made it easier to do work that needed to be done.

The dark side of technology comes when it is used to kill people, when we make ever more efficient weapons. Think of our nuclear weapons which if used, could end all life on the planet. This is probably best illustrated in the Terminator series of movies. In these movies we develop an artificial intelligence to run our defense system, and then that AI decides that humans are the problem and the robots declare war on the humans.

The use of technology may also have bad side effects. The pollution caused when factories in China and India make our technological tools and toys, create such bad pollution that millions of people get sick and die.

Technology could also be bad when we become too dependant on technology and become fat and lazy because of that. The movie Wall-E depicts a future when  humans have had to move away from earth because they had polluted and filled the earth up with our trash. The humans in the space stations are dependant on robots for everything and they have forgotten how to think and how to move.

Today the use of automation has mixed blessings. Machines can be more productive and work more accurately than people which is good for the factory workers, but bad for the workers whose jobs they take. On the other hand technology is helping find cures for diseases and technology is used to keep us healthier in millions of ways. We all use technology in hundreds of different ways in our daily lives and few of us could survive without it.

People are tempted to go back to those halcyon days of agriculture and living off the land, but there are too many people, not enough land, and it is a difficult and hard life that most people wouldn’t have the skill or temperament to survive. Now small farmers can’t make a go of it and most farms have been bought up by agribusinesses. In those old days a farmer would save up some of the seed from his crops for the next crop. Today the biotech companies are genetically modifying plants to make them produce sterile seeds, and then making it illegal for farmers to save their own seeds. The farmers are then forced to buy seeds for genetically modified foods that won’t reproduce. They call this terminator technology.

There is a perception that some cultures like the Amish shun technology altogether, but they are just more selective in which technologies they use. They don’t use cars, radio, TV or computers, but they do use  gas grills, shop tools, camping equipment, and some farm equipment. “The Amish do not consider technology evil in itself but they believe that technology, if left untamed, will undermine worthy traditions and accelerate assimilation into the surrounding society. Mass media technology in particular, they fear, would introduce foreign values into their culture.”

“Most Amish groups forbid using electricity from public utility lines. Electricity from batteries is more local, controllable, and independent from the outside world. In some settlements, for example, Amish use batteries to power lights on buggies, calculators, fans, flashlights, cash registers, copy machines, and typewriters. Solar energy is sometimes used to charge batteries, operate electric fences, and power household appliances.”

On the other hand advances in technology have saved millions from starvation and disease, and modern medical advances have provided amazing prosthetics, and allowed people to live much longer and more meaningful lives.

Most people realize that technology in itself is not good or evil. Guns are not necessarily bad but the people using them must use them responsibly. Technology may be destroying the earth, but it may also be our only hope for surviving.

The question should not be is technology good or bad but whether the people using it are good or bad and whether they can use it wisely.

Technology Changes

Technology better than you think

Video technology

How technology affects society

Effects of Technology on Learning and Social Skills









About altruist1

I am a raging progressive and a writer. I received Bachelors degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Arts with a Secondary teaching certificate and a minor in Physics. I taught for about ten years, then did various jobs including welding,fabrication and traffic engineering, and am now retired. I am interested in science, energy, the environment, and architecture.
This entry was posted in Problems and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Technology Good or Bad? March 16th

  1. altruist1 says:

    As a result of our discussion, we decided that the proper question is Not, whether technology is good or bad, but rather whether it is Appropriate for the situation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s