The Benefits of Technology
The door closes with a click after a little girl and her mom amble into their house after the little girl had clambered off the bus from school. Immediately, the little girl races up the stairs in anticipation before bouncing onto the couch and reaching for the television remote. Mindlessly, her mother follows the girl up the stairs and goes into the kitchen to load the dishes into the dishwasher while talking on the phone. Knowingly or not, both the little girl and her mother used various forms of technology throughout their day. Forms of technology are everywhere, tools used to improve the quality of life for people through inventions, like running water and refrigerators. Over the past few decades, humans have entered the technological age of computers and smartphones. These new developments have revolutionized everyday living. As with everything, technology has its setbacks as well as its benefits. Despite its complications, the impacts of technologies are overwhelmingly positive for society socially and economically.
The fundamentals for influencing society is through education and medicine. Specifically in education, as children grow and develop, the information and method in which they learn will have significant effects on their futures. The new technologies established help aid to a child’s learning and also shape how children view technology itself. Technology has changed the education experience for children and is being used across the country. In fact, “48 states and the District of Columbia currently support online learning opportunities” (U.S. Department of Education) and try to seamlessly integrate technology to be an extension of the curriculum. When schools use technology to enhance students’ education, they are creating a blended learning experience. The blended learning experience can cause more students to be motivated to learn, accelerates learning, and gives the children an advantage of being exposed early on to the technology that will become an everyday constant in their lives.
In instances where the education a child is receiving is lacking in some way, technology can be used as a supplement. For example, schools who are in distant and remote location or ones who cannot afford to have elaborate science labs and equipment can use computers and smart devices. Technology can “improve educational productivity by accelerating the rate of learning, taking advantage of learning time outside of school hours, reducing the cost of instructional materials, and better utilizing teacher time” (U.S. Department of Education) being overall more efficient and more effective. Technology has also allowed for more students to be able to learn and give opportunities to children who have not been able to communicate or learn like other students have. Tools such as “dynamic Braille displays, voice recognition systems, talking books, speech synthesizers” (Purdue University) help the disabled further their education. If children are learning more productively now, they are better equipped to be more productive as they age and become adults. Teachers are able to provide education to a more widespread demographic due to technology, changing the workings of society from the basic education of the younger generation. The children going through the school systems today have the potential to be the best generation yet.
Society is constantly improving due to better education and also new medical breakthroughs which are able to occur from new technology. In the past, doctors have struggled to create solutions to innumerable diseases. Now with the help of technology, doctors are the path to creating cures to ailments previously thought untreatable, and have already created many advanced drugs in the process of doing so. An invaluable resource for doctors who are trying to find remedies for diseases is the human genome. The Human Genome Project, a program designed to sequence all of the genetic material of a human, started in the 1990 and was declared complete in 2003. Since then, genome sequencing technology has been vital in categorizing diseases and the creation of medication for those diseases. With certain ailments, doctor can locate exactly where in the DNA there were mutations or problems and then find resolutions for those problems at a much faster pace with the genome database. The Human Genome Project was a trailblazing showcase of the advances in technology in medicine. Technology has also allowed for a more personalized and much more efficient experience in the doctor’s office or hospital. There are individual medical records for each patient that can be accessed and tracked quickly, and also large databases filled with information regarding diseases that can be referenced. All of these new practices allow doctors to address the overall larger scope of treatment in regard to a particular disease (Hendricks). The amount of time information takes to travel has been reduced to mere milliseconds, which is critical in times of emergency. Technology has altogether benefitted the medical field invaluably and continues to aid doctors in helping their patients.
Scientists as well, have made groundbreaking discoveries with the aid of computer science. Science has always been interwoven with math and calculations, which now have been made much easier due to technology. Scientists rely on computers for analysis, and are “becoming increasingly dependent on computation” (Johnson) for their experiments and for new discoveries. The breakthroughs made by science from technology can then be used to improve technology as well. Technology and science “serve to inform and extend each other in both intended and unexpected ways” (Compton) by feeding of each other. Science is the key to understanding the way in which the world operates, and without technology, science would not have made significant discoveries . The future is in technology and what technology can help achieve, in medicine and science among other areas.
The advances in technology because of science have changed industry itself and the job market as well. For people going into the workforce or already a member of the workforce today, developing technological skills will prove to be advantageous for any profession. Almost every job in this modern era involves contact with devices that stem from technology like smart phones and computers. Computers make tasks easier to complete, which is why coding is becoming such a necessary skill to learn. Companies have even started to require coding knowledge in various types of jobs, with “as many as 7 million job openings in 2015 in occupations that required coding skills” (Dishman). Looking forward to the future, not only will current jobs have different requirements and qualifications, but entire new professions could be available. The workforce is adapting to the modern times created by technology, so “65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t even exist yet” (Bremmer) but that will be established as technology progresses. Technology really changed the perspectives of the working people. Communication is much faster and the expectations held for a job also changed. When employees went home from the workday in the past, there was a physical and mental unconnect from their job and the responsibilities their profession entailed. Presently, even when people are home, they easily accessible by bosses and coworkers and in close contact to their responsibilities.
Outside of work, the businesses employees work for and buy from have also adapted with the ages. As more of the public use technology in their everyday lives, companies have successfully started to take advantage of the internet as an advertising platform. A study completed by an independent research firm determined a “significantly higher impact from improved use of technology compared to outsourcing, shared services, and business process reengineering levers” (Genpact Research Institute) for enterprises. The internet and all of the new electronics allow for companies to create websites and provide information online increasing their outreach to potential customers. A method companies use to interact with consumers online is advertisement. Online promotion by companies and businesses is the most impactful way to advertise since technology is so prevalent. As a result, in 2013, “online advertising made up about a quarter of the $500 billion global advertising business” (The Economist) and still continues to grow. Not only have the way current enterprises operate been influenced, but the way service is offered has also changed to benefit from the internet. Entrepreneurs are establishing startups that are exclusively online or only offered on mobile devices which are extremely successful. Taxi companies are competing against companies like Uber and Lyft, apps which allow anyone with a car to become a driver and earn money, and Airbnb threaten to take revenue away from hotels and inns. By doing so, these companies connect people with commodities with other people who will benefit from the use of those commodities, and “through technology, a market for things that have never had a market has been created” resulting in millions of dollars in profit (Evans). Industry altogether has benefitted from technology use as technology has allowed companies to change their presentation to the public and their proceedings along with providing entrepreneurs a new platform to launch new businesses.
This relatively new platform, the internet, has also transformed communication and leisure in half of a decade (Wagstaff). Technology expands exponentially, and naturally, the amount of consumers buying new technologies follow in suit. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center found in 2015, “64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind” and with those smartphones, are now able to text and email and participate in social media. All these forms of messaging increase the ease of communication, and sustain unconventional relationships. Apps such as Twitter or Instagram can initiate friendships or relationships and other apps like Skype will help maintain those relationships. Social media connects users with similar interests and open up a public space where everyone’s thoughts and ideas can be heard (Castells). By doing so, “39% of the survey respondents reported feeling closer to their friends because of social media” in research collected by NR Media Group (Reider). Technology has fostered a society with more positive and intimate relationships.
Likewise, technology also helps citizens improve their relationship with their government and their community by providing access to vast amounts of information so people can become informed. Before the internet, there were very few places to obtain information and no option as fast as the internet is today. Today, news about politics and popular culture is spread over various different social media platforms and also can be found with a simple search. All of these new channels to relay information has led to 75% of Americans “feel better informed about national news” and 74% also believe they are more educated about international news (Purcell, Rainie). The sheer amount of information and data stored on the internet is tremendous, and the amount contributed each day is just as immense. Everyday, millions of internet users will rely on Google or other search engines with questions, and Wikipedia is a often a place to find the answers. Now, Wikipedia is trying to encourage multilingual editors to write articles about topics that do not already have articles in different languages. In the process, Wikipedia is “‘democratizing access to knowledge’” (Abate) since more of the world’s population can attain Wikipedia articles in their language and become more informed. An increasingly educated public can lead to more participation in society, more discoveries and overall more productivity and contributions to society.
Technology may have many benefits, but it can also be incredibly damaging and detrimental. Since technology is relatively new, the long terms effects of technology are being studied currently, and the not all of the results are positive. New developments in research show prolonged technology use could be potentially harmful. The damage of technology is particularly evident in the development of younger children. As kids rely on iPads and other electronic devices for entertainment rather than playing actively, children are developing serious medical issues and not meeting important developmental milestones. Exposure to technology is not safe due to “children’s developing sensory, motor, and attachment systems have biologically not evolved” (Rowan) to adjust to electronics. If the children of the future generations are not maturing normally but rather with health complications, then the future society will not have progressed, but digressed instead. As children grow up, technology can also diminish social skills. When participating in social media and instant messaging, people communicate behind screens instead of in person, which can easily evolve into a dependence on a screen for communication rather than a choice. Conveying the true meaning behind a person’s words becomes more difficult when “93% [of communication] is based on nonverbal body language” , a factor not included in social media (Tardanico). With all of the new opportunities for communication, technology users could be the most disconnected demographic yet. With all of the recent advancements in research, technology may not benefit society in the distant future.
All of the setbacks to technology are problems capable of being resolved. Technology itself has immense potential to help the world become even more advanced than it is today, though the way people use technology is the cause for the concern. Anything in excess is disadvantageous, and electronics are no exception. However, with proper regulations and monitoring, technology is a tool that can be used to accomplish great tasks. Understanding technology is understanding human progress. The human race could not have achieved anything without the creation of new technologies to aid them. Humans discover new findings which are then used to improve the quality of life people live, and with the benefits from former technology, humans will go on to make new discoveries. Technology is the pathway to the future. With the potential for achieving the impossible, technology will continue to amaze and achieve great things,
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