While wandering campus, it’s impossible to find a single person not utilizing technology in some way. Whether it’s blasting dubstep on an iPod, clutching a laptop or gossiping on a cell, we are all guilty of being attached to technology.
Our generation has witnessed some major technological advances. Even today, we see technology evolving to greater heights. But is technology’s convenience always the answer, or do these mechanisms hold the power to literally take over our lives?
Our reliance on technology is absurd. Instead of going to libraries to seek information, we flee to Google search. In 2010 over 31 million people performed Google searches monthly, whereas four years prior that number was only 3 million.
We have the ability to learn more than ever before. In fact, studies say that one week’s worth of news in the New York Times contains more information than a person from the 18th century would come across throughout their entire lifetime.
Technology has altered communication, and has therefore altered relationships. One in eight married American couples meet online. In order to have a convenient conversation in the midst of a hectic schedule, we generally resort to text messaging. The number of texts sent is astounding. Although the first commercial text wasn’t sent until 1992, the number of text messages sent daily in today’s society exceeds the entire planet’s population.
Instead of finding entertainment in being outside, our youth now goes home to watch TV, play Wii or mess around on computers. Within the year 2002, Nintendo invested $140 million in research and development — more money than the U.S. government spent in that same year on research and innovation within education.
Think of the extremely popular technological outlooks we use daily. In a five- minute time period, over 700,000 songs are downloaded illegally nationwide. If Facebook were a country, it would have third largest population in the world! Media sites such as Twitter have generated astounding advertising, earning (what Dell claims) over $3 million since 2007 from tweets alone. And what about our beloved YouTube? More videos are uploaded to this website in two month’s time than if ABC, CBS and NBC were all to have aired programs 24 hours every day since 1948 combined!
When we take a look at older individuals’ lack of knowledge when it comes to technology, it’s obvious how quickly these changes are evolving. I can’t tell you how many times I have to explain to my parents how to use iTunes or work the remote for our basement TV. It’s crazy to think that all of these devices didn’t even exist just a few decades ago.
You may be thinking, “Okay, cool. So I like my phone and I watch TV from time to time. No biggie.” Personally, I love the entertainment opportunities that technology gives.
This all may just seem like mild advances and peculiar teenage addictions, but, if we take a look at how technology will continue to change in our lifetimes, the results are frightening.
Perhaps the scariest step is that by next year, it is predicted that a computer will exist that holds more mental ability than the human brain. By the year 2050, it is predicted that a $1,000 computer will exceed the brain capacities of the entire planet population combined. Basically, there will be robots smarter than our entire globe. Kind of like the movie I, Robot. How can this be safe in any way?
Although this may not seem like an immediate concern, it is. The demands we put on technology are putting us at serious risk. If we continue to greedily push for even faster, cooler and sleeker technological advances, we will one day be terrified of what we brought upon ourselves.
Technology plays a crucial role in our lives as we move toward our careers. We are preparing for jobs that don’t even exist; jobs using technologies that have yet to be invented. Once we have these careers, we have the power to set limits and distinguish when technology is being used in an immoral way. We can set the standards. It’s up to us to make sure we use our technology responsibly, and that we never let it go too far.
Olivia Harlow is a sophomore studying journalism and photojournalism and a columnist for The Post. Email her at email@example.com.