Is technology really beneficial to society?

Just a little musing on how we take technology for granted today. A lot of people raise the question of whether computers and modern technology really benefits society. When I think of that question, the first thing I think of is that society functioned perfectly well without much of the technology that we deem to be normal and even necessary today. People had forms of entertainment before television, and managed to communicate before the advent of email or even telephones.

But when you really think about it, there is no denying that modern technology, especially the Internet, is extremely beneficial in the sense that it just makes communication so much easier for people with access. And with the number of people with Internet access growing at such a great rate, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that this benefit has permeated every level of society. Yes, it can be, and has been, abused, but it is humans that abuse technology and use them for evil, analogous to the almost-cliched, but true, saying, “guns don’t kill people, people do”.

Everything has its pros and cons; we have to weigh them and take advantage of the pros accordingly. And the advantages of our digital age for communication is far too important to be marred by abuse. Anyway, as hackers find ways to defeat systems, so can security experts who maintain and patch them, to keep problems to a minimum.

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3 comments
  1. g1muelle said:

    I think technology is by definition beneficial to society. We invent technologies strictly for our own benefit, to make our lives easier. However, it’s the unintended uses, the side effects, that generally can be harmful. I think that we shouldn’t slow down progress of technology due to these possible side-effects, but we should be careful that as we move forwards, we keep in mind that humans are not universally good, that the potential for abuse exists, and how we can minimize this potential.

  2. That’s a good definition, but I wrote the post with the idea that we lived just fine back then without the technology invasion, and that many people, such as some Mennonites (most notably the Amish), still do it today. From what I’ve heard, they don’t seem to complain about their lack of conveniences we take for granted, and are as happy as anyone.

  3. I believe that technology is very beneficial. However, most of the technology is purely a distraction from reality. I am referring to the use of cell phones constantly and being connected to the internet 24/7. I had a teacher in high school who said that when she was a child, no salesperson who every dream of calling someone around the dinner hours. Now we see that respect for such valuable family time has vanished. I strive to keep my life as simple as possible so that I can benefit from life in reality not virtual reality.

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