Take a quick glance around the room. Nearly everything within eyesight was likely influenced by technology.
From the manufacturing of the clothes we wear to the microchip-driven cell phones millions carry in their pockets, it’s an irrefutable fact that technology has the power to shape a civilization.
While many enjoy the benefits that this newfound technology brings us, is there a cost? And if so, are the consequences worth it?
Here’s a quick list of the advantages and disadvantages of technology and what they mean for our society.
Advantages of Technology
Even those that make a case against technology agree that technology has enhanced our lives in innumerable ways. From medical technology to smartphones and entertainment, here are just a few of the advantages afforded by tech.
If nothing else, it’s hard to argue that technology has made our lives anything but easier. While there are plenty of advantages of disadvantages of technology, convenience is perhaps the greatest pro.
Consider the sheer amount of access to entertainment one has. With Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and dozens of other streaming services, it’s possible to access millions of movies…all from the couch.
Then there’s the added convenience of travel. Imagine going on a road trip without a GPS system to guide the way. There’s no such thing as ‘getting lost’ anymore.
Don’t feel like cooking dinner? Not to worry! Download Uber Eats or Postmates and order in from a huge list of restaurants.
Access to Information
As great as food delivery apps are (and they are great), many laud technology for the access to information it brings.
And it’s pretty crazy upon consideration. Anyone reading this article has access to thousands of years worth of information. All at the touch of their fingertips, all accessible at any moment.
Academic papers, eBooks, millions of pieces of art — we can access it all whenever we feel like it! There are even ways to take free online courses from Harvard.
Of course, technology is only as powerful as the people that have access to it. Hundreds of years ago, information and access to tools were only given to the rich.
Thankfully, modern tech is accessible to virtually everyone. It’s become so abundant in modern culture that one would have a harder time escaping tech than accessing it.
Be it in medicine, entertainment, or even improving tech itself, giving everyone access to technology is a great way of ensuring innovation and creativity for decades to come.
When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of technology, few issues are as divisive as communication. And while it has its share of drawbacks, which we’ll get to in the next section, it’s impossible to ignore the benefits.
Thanks to social media, instant messaging, and basic SMS applications, we can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Marshall McLuhan talked about this when outlining his thesis of a global village. He asserted that technology would erase barriers and boundaries, creating what amounts to one digital country.
And he was right! It doesn’t matter where a person lives, they have the ability to get in touch with someone across the globe now.
Disadvantages of Technology
As Newton’s third law states, for ever action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. His assessment may have been directed toward the world of physics, but it certainly applies to advantages of disadvantages of technology.
For every great element tech adds to our lives, it takes away something else. Here are just a few disadvantages to living in a tech-obsessed world.
Society is Reliant on Technology
Let’s hearken back to the first advantage, convenience. There’s no doubt that having a GPS at the ready or a whole Netflix library to choose from is great. But what happens when we shut that technology off?
Suddenly, we realize how reliant we are as a society on technology. Imagine something as simple as driving downtown without a GPS. Even those with a great sense of direction are likely to get lost should they make one wrong turn.
Or picture sitting in a quiet room for more than five minutes. After a moment or two, it’d be tempting to reach for a cell phone or digital device.
In fact, it’s believed that people check their phones an average of 85 times per day. It’s not even an issue of convenience anymore, it’s sheer habit.
Increased Digital Noise
Everyone having access to information must be a plus, right? Not so fast.
It’s true that people can access a whole bevy of great educational tools. But not all of those tools are as trustworthy as they may think. Since anyone can access the web, it’s become harder to decipher fact from fiction.
An average browser is bombarded with ads, text, video, images, and all sorts of things. This results in what social scientists refer to as noise, which is anything that distracts from information.
With an increase in digital noise comes shorter attention spans and a much higher reliance on tech.
This is perhaps the darkest of the advantages and disadvantages of technology. Automation and computers are replacing human workforces at an alarming rate.
From assembly lines to fast food, it seems as if no industry can escape the grasp of tech. Society is fast reaching a point where we need to find ways to adapt our job market…or suffer the consequences.
Social media is a fantastic additive to human interaction. But there’s little to suggest that it’s capable of replacing it. Yet that doesn’t stop people from living almost their entire life online spending hours crafting new identities and lives.
Worse, social media can be attributed to an increase in depression among youth. It’s said that the more social media sites one uses, the likelier the more at risk they are for depression.
Final Thoughts on The Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology
It’s tough to argue that technology has drastically improved the lives of many. And yet, it comes at a pretty steep price. Both the advantages and disadvantages of technology are quite hard to argue with. In the end, it becomes necessary to ask: is it worth it?
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