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The Purpose And Effects Of Technology On Society Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 2779 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Technology is a term that refers to both artifacts created by humans, such as machines, and the method used to create those artifacts. More broadly, technology can be used to refer to a way of doing something or a means of organization, for instance democracy might be referred to as a social technology. “The word technology comes for the Greek word technologia, which is the combination of techne meaning craft and logia meaning saying. So technology can be considered the articulation of craft” (Beniger 243). Technology can also be described as the extent to which a society manipulates its environment. Technology can be defined in different ways with respect to the criteria of intent. For instance in lame man language technology can be defined as the practical application of science to commerce and industry but engineer can define technology the usage science and the knowledge of tools, techniques, craft or its method of organization. Ever since the Industrial revolution, technology has been changing at a fast pace. People always want a better lifestyle for therefore new things are always arising for humans to cope with their physical environment. One of the most important breakthroughs for technology is the agricultural system. The agricultural system is the basis for the technology of the future. The agricultural system brought on the need for transportation, workers and even, battles over land. The need for transportation brought vehicles in order to transport commodities to the market. The need for employees brought mechanical robots into society. Battles over land brought on the need for sophisticated weapons. The agricultural system brought on a revolution. Before 1950, newspapers and radio were the only means media or entertainment into houses. The invention of the television can bring media and other forms of entertainment into your house with the combination of video and audio. Mass production and other job opportunities brought many people from the suburbs and farms into the city. Currently man can now have forms of electricity directed into our houses for heating and light. “Humans are more reliant on technology then ever before. All of these technological advances sound great, however, there is a negative effect to all this technology” (Zuboff 457). Technology can serve to actually harm humans rather then help them. Technology is neither good nor bad, it is neutral. While technology brings us conveniences and luxuries, it can also cause problems. It is a matter of how technology is used. Some people now think that we are allowing technology to become our master rather than our slave. This implies that if we are to take advantage of technology, then we have to think about how to utilize it well. The Negativity of Technology can affect people physically, socially and psychologically.

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Most problems related to technology arose mainly because those who created the technology did not consider their possible harmful effects. For example, many people welcomed the invention of the car in the early 1900s. They believed that cars would be quieter and less smelly than the horses that were commonly used in those days. But as more cars were purchased and used, the traffic noise proved to be more annoying than the clatter of the horse before. Car exhaust also proved worse than the smell of horse manure. The fumes polluted the air with carbon monoxide and other impurities that threatened human health. Also, cars today cause so much traffic congestion in the city that it may sometimes be actually faster to travel on horseback. Technology also changes our sense of common purpose. “New inventions such as the personal computer and machines can change our lifestyles psychologically” (Kurzweil 71). The oil needed for a car to run needs to be imported and sometimes accidents such as the Exxon Valdez incident spills many gallons of oil into the ocean. Even things we take for granted such as the automobile have negative effects on the society like pollution cause by the by-product of fuel, which leads to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. For every problem caused by the little effect of technology which people neglect lead to bigger problems. All of these are little examples to show how technology has negative effects on society.

For a while now, science has been a mystery to man, leading him to want to discover more and more about it. This in many aspects is dangerous to our society, being that scientific developments in new studies have been advancing too quickly for our minds to comprehend. Hanks pointed out that; “Things such as cloning, organ donation, and pesticides, are things that the world may sometimes find useful, when in reality, it only brings civilization down” (221). Humanity attempts to raise science to the status of godhood, which inherit risks that demand careful consideration. Developmental experiments like cloning have been successful, but they bring along with them some very negative results, for instance, in some early experiments in animal cloning some potential dangers had been experienced, cloned cows developed faulty immune systems, other projects which created cloned mice, grew obese, and in most experiments, cloned animals seemed to grow old faster and die younger than the usual members of the species. When attempted on to the human race, not only are they increasing our huge population rate, but we are also adding humans and animals with defects as well as a short life span. It would be a waste of government’s money to bring something to life, that we will have to take extra care of, just to have it die after a short period of time. When talking about organ donation, people usually think that it is a great discovery and that scientists have made a break through in this area of the medicine, with out knowing how highly the chances of ineffectiveness this procedure has. The Human body has an immune system fights against anything that lacks histocompatibility antigens or has antigens different from those found in the rest of the body, such as those found on invading viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms. This recognition system causes the immune system to attack transplanted tissues that have different antigens because it has no way to tell the difference between harmful and helpful organisms, therefore causing the body to reject the organ which causes infection in the person body. Also donated organs go to the patient who is nearest death, even though a healthier patient might benefit more by living longer after the transplant. “A drug called tacrolimus (FK-506) was found to be even more effective for kidney, liver, heart, and lung transplants. However, patients who take this drug still face some increased risk of infection and cancer, and the drug can cause kidney damage” (Hanks 45). This shows proof that when a scientist try’s to “play god” they’re plans are futile and ineffective, and that no matter how much you try to perfect the human body, negative things will be of a greater outcome. There are other forms of development that have impacted on children in way we scientists never anticipated. Carolyn explains by saying that:

Another improvement in our society is the creation of pesticides. When I child is growing up, they need to eat their fruits and veggies so their not so tough immune systems can grow stronger, but when you have such strong pesticides being sprayed in crop fields, it makes it difficult to feed your kids these things, children cannot convert these toxins in to harmless chemicals as quickly as adults can. (78)

With the coming of technology-aided communication, people are able to communicate with less and less face-to-face interaction. Even the family’s interaction changes. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and film can also transmit values and norms, and influence or shape attitudes. For example, when you see a television advertisement about certain products, you may be convinced to buy this product even if you do not really need it. Or when you see a certain action done on TV, you may try to imitate it even though it may not be a very wholesome or positive action. Your attitude, action, and behavior can therefore be negatively changed or influenced by technology. One of the most detrimental consequences of social technology such as Internet chat, mobile phones and other, is the effect of bad interpersonal communication. When you communicate virtually you communication is much limited as to when you communicate in person. For instance, “…talking to an individual online eliminated the use of body language, voice tone and eye contact from every conversation” (Beinger 89). In essence the lass face-to-face communication you have with individuals the worse your social skills may likely to become. I am most concerned of the communication pattern youngster use in chatting online with friend they’ve met and haven’t met. In 2003 a world renowned website we opened it goes by the name of facebook, I call it a virtual friend cause all you have to do is search for people you’ll like to be friend with and ask for a friend request. If the other individual feel the same about you he will accept you by accepting this request you have enabled the requester to view all your personal information and your friend. When the person friend is online they chat with each other with different kind to slang.

Another problem is when youngster experiences any kind of emotional downfall they turn to virtual friend such as facebook, twitter and others. They update their status and blog of both their problems and achievements for the world to place their comments. With this causing poor social skill in the years to come of their life, due to this poor anticipated social skill, these young individuals will find it rather complicated to form meaningful and lasting relationships outside their virtual world. For instance, “…they may find it difficult to communicate their message verbally, be unable to understand what people are saying to them or be unable to read various nonverbal forms to communication which signals whether a person is interested or not in your saying” (Beinger 132). Do you think this sounds far fetched? Well its not, as there are already people who are using Internet slang terms such as LOL in real life conversation. This is fine of course, if you’re communicating with someone who knows what this means, if not you might as well speak a different language because they won’t have a clue to what you saying. If we project this trend of blind communication forward into the future and believe it continues what kind of society are we going to be looking at in 20-30 years? If the present generation of children spend most of their days staring at the TV’s and playing video games in their various homes. I question myself, how will they be able to communicate effectively with others when they are all grown. And if they are unable to communicate effectively, how will they form lasting and meaningful relationships with people? Will these individual be able to attract members of their opposite sex? If so, how long will theses relationships if there is little or no communication? Although this might all sound a bit alarmist, the warning signs are all around us right now and we tend to ignore it though more and more people are becoming lonely as a result of this.

Due to the online chat, dating and other form, problems begin to evolve, nowadays when people face such problem they consult therapist, which are based on psychological projection. The idea of psychological projection is simple to explain but has far-reaching implications. Essentially, they repress any attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, prejudices, and feelings that would make us feel less about ourselves. These denied thoughts are simply thrust down into the unconscious where we hope they will wither and die away. Unfortunately, our denied and repressed attitudes refuse to be quiet. They will show up in the people and experiences of our everyday life. Because we feel negatively about these qualities in ourselves, we will judge those others who mirror these qualities back to us. “I believe that psychological projection is something that happens constantly, both waking and sleeping. Our dreams are one big projection party” (Feenberg 129). So everyone you know and everyone you meet is telling you something about yourself. It isn’t all that Bad. One thing I have discovered about therapy is that it works on all of those things that we deny and repress, including the very positive aspects of the self. Although it might seem hard to believe, we also deny and repress some of our most amazing qualities and characteristics.

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Technology’s bad effects are hard to remedy mainly because there are many technologies to deal with. For example, we have problems about the negative effects of some television programs on children, and the waste created by technology. This kind of problems will need a variety of solutions. But people have to realize first that there is a need to take action. Carmakers, for example, can help solve the problems of air pollution by installing a catalytic converter, a kind of filter, to purify the emissions from car exhausts. Producers of technology must develop a means of fighting the bad effects of their products.

We, the users of technology products can do simple things that can help lessen the problems brought about by technology. For example, if we practice recycling, we help solve the garbage problem that is partly caused by products of technology. Scientists believe that most harmful effects of technology can be prevented. Any proposed technology should be tested and studied before it is put to use. Such evaluation is called Technology Assessment. The purpose of assessment is to discover in advance all the possible good and bad effects that a new technology may have on society and the environment. An assessment may show that the benefits of a new technology are greater than any undesirable effect. Or it may show that the undesirable effects would be so harmful that they would outweigh any benefits.

We might think that technology assessment is best left to the inventors who create technologies. Besides, it is impossible to have yourself protected from all the negative effects of technology. Some of these effects will reach us whether we like it or not. But the truth is you can do your own technology assessment from time to time.

Technology is the main thread in history, but technology does not determine history’s course. For better or worse that is left to society. “Particularly in relation to the environment, the century of technological enthusiasm is in the beginning stage of deterioration” (Kurzweil 671). The human-built world is now in trouble. According to Jacques “using technology to recover the pleasant state is a message entirely appropriate for our ecologically concerned times” (43). Society has to take on the responsibility, but whether technology’s ecological legacy can be redressed, remains an open question. Parent or guardians should take into consideration the amount of time their children spend on virtual friends like facebook, skype and twitter, TV’s and video games in order to safe them from their social disaster in the future time to come. Also adult should what they spray in their home when little kids are living with them for they know not what harm such gases may cause to their system. I don’t believe technology is bad. I see technology as being neutral. It is how one sees it that determines whether it is good or bad. I also don’t think it is bad to communicate via the phone chat online or participate in forums. Occasionally blind communication that does not involve direct face-to-face contact is perfectly fine in moderation. In order for technology not to enslave humanity every new discovery should be taken under great consideration in order to identify it positive and negative effect on humanity in all rational aspects. In conclusion, I feel that the advancement of technology is a good trend for our society; however, it must be in conjunction with advance in education so that society is able to master and understand technology. We can be the masters of technology, and not let it be the masters of us.


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