Technology, it makes the world go around today. It is responsible for all the things and situations around you. From stories of people from tens of thousands of year ago to wars to the advance in information technology. All of this is achieved, acquired and made possible through evolving technology. China is the biggest economy in the world because of technology, and it is also responsible for the existence and operational capabilities of ISIS. So the question, like so many strong unsolved debates, is technology a boon or a curse and what are the long term effects of living with technology. Whether a boon or a curse is a question that should be answered by understanding its long term effects on this post-modern society we live in.
Technology has led to many breakthroughs, and a simple factor that lead to the rapid advances since the industrial age 200 years ago was population growth. With the mortality rate going down faster than it ever was in the past 10 millennia, there was every demand for commodities among the masses. This could only be sufficed by synthesizing a majority of all basic goods. Oil gave birth to polymers and soon enough plastic was created. This one particular advance in technology made the biggest boom in the industry. Similarly, cheap alternatives were created for almost everything that is a part of any human’s basic need anywhere in the world.
Let’s have a look at specific areas where the long term effects of technology can be found.
On one hand, we feel that the internet has brought the world closer. People connecting globally giving rise to a post-modern culture that probably only sci-fi novel writers could predict. But it is also a fact that the internet has caused a lot of lifestyle conditions that aren’t exactly social. Isolation and lack of social skills, these are just some of the conditions that the internet is mostly responsible for. Listening to music on our music players, with headphones plugged in and staring away into the 5-inch screen of our mobile phones, it is disturbing to see how a device could get so much attention while our own physical bodies deteriorate, along with our mental condition. It is a known fact that socially isolated individuals live shorter than the average person.
Social media is a leading cause for so many issues in our post-modern society. It has become an outlet faceless agendas and revolutions, Cyber-bullying cause so many suicides and harms mental health severely. Privacy is at stake for anyone willing anonymize their online lives, but there has never been a safe gateway that is hack-proof. So much financial information exists online, along with personal information that can be used to bully or plainly destroy a lot of the social structures, the Ashley Madison case from the past month is an example of what all could be at stake with the amount of information stored online.
From all the pollutants in our environment leading cancers and genetic disorders to the neck pain you have constantly, all of this might not be as severe as it is today if it wasn’t for the “highly advanced” world that we have created. Obesity is a prime example of health issues caused directly or indirectly by technological advances. The number of hours leisurely spent binge-watching TV shows, or playing online multiplayer games or watching videos on YouTube, while you eat micro-waved popcorn and other delectable processed foods have all been made possible because, you guessed it right, technology. Ultimately, these lifestyle habits cause issue with the human body that affect many aspects of our daily lives.
Sleep, the most important factor for healthy brain activity is affected highly because of how much we engross ourselves into widescreen. The light from these displays affect the release of the sleep chemical, melanin, and the constant streaming of information keeps the brain engaged in powerful neural activity that leaves no room for the brain to rest. The iPhone Thumb, a strain injury caused by the frequent use of the thumb to work on mobile devices, solely exists because we are now obsessed with the idea of touch-based interfaces.
Sex has been affected at an unreal and ridiculous level. Exposure to pornography through the online-medium has made it difficult for younger individuals to grasp the true nature of this very human-relationship. Sexting and nudes are a rage among young people that has caused more harm than good. There doesn’t exist a boundary to how explicit a human-bond needs to be.
Neck pain and headaches are so common that they are now considered normal, part and parcel of living in post-modern times. Shortened attention spans are what marketing and advertising agencies thrive on, since they have technology that lets them know how much attention is given to which factor of any product and where in the world it is highest or lowest. They calculate all this information to create mediums or platforms that cater to the shortening attentions spans that exist among most of us.
All of this and more exists in our post-modern world. Now, we aren’t saying that technology is bad and it should become obsolete, no. The current method of its development, execution and implementation has led to all the issue that the world as a whole and each individual on it faces. We have the power, the energy and the technology to create a world that can be appreciated. Only time, or we’ll say technology will tell how soon that world can be created.
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