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Technology: Good or Bad? by: Nick Mueller

Today’s computer technology gives us the ability to network with many people. E-mail gives us the capability to write messages to one another without making direct contact. Popular messaging programs like Facebook, AOL Instant Messaging, and Skype gives us the ability to keep in touch with friends and family without direct contact. Internet sites like Google give us the ability to research certain topics without analyzing them. The question then becomes is technology actually hurting our society?

Many experts have agreed that by constantly relying on technology to communicate our ideas, without actually talking to a physical person will lead to diminishing intrapersonal skills. In simple terms, by using e-mail, Facebook, and text messaging as our main source of relaying information, we will progressively become worse at physically talking to other people.

One website that I viewed discussed the idea that technology makes it capable to accomplish more by ourselves, but sacrifices our ability to work well in group situations. As the world moves more towards a group society that emphasizes working with others, technology will slowly begin to hurt us.

A text-messaging craze is another situation that is taking place with people. The ability to express our thoughts in a few sentences and send these thoughts to a recipient is much easier than actually having to talk to the person. There are multiple debates out there that discuss whether or not this crisis should be dealt with.

Another interesting article that discusses the negatives of technology is from Business Week. The article is entitled, “Google is Making You Dumber.? This article discusses how it is too easy for us to obtain information in the digital age. We simply do not think, but rather go online to Google and search a particular topic and receive a surplus of information.

Many researchers argue that having the luxury of online databases such as Google, make kids less apt to go find information by themselves. The whole idea of finding information within the pages of a textbook or encyclopedia has been lost. In today’s digital age, critical reading skills are being lost. Instead people go online and reading an article of someone who has done the criticizing for them.

The other side of this argument says that by having this online technology available to us, it forces us to think critically and analyze certain things to decide which gives us the best source of information. By having social networking programs like Facebook and others similar, they force us to become familiar with the changing technology. Researchers on this side of the issue also argue that it increases a person’s intrapersonal skills. It makes us more able to communicate with others that we may not otherwise talk to.

My thoughts on this issue are simple. Technology can take away from social skills if a person spends too much of his or her time online. However, the majority of us don’t live online, we are constantly interacting and having conversations with others daily. Although we may talk to some people only online, we talk with others in person daily.

Social networking sites have given us the ability to keep in touch with many of our friends that otherwise we may never talk too. One could argue that we should pick up a phone and call them. By using online sources we save ourselves time and money. If we were to call each one of our friends each night, we would waste so much time on the phone. By using social networking means, we leave them a brief message, and they leave us a brief message back. By doing so we don’t consume so much time.

As for using online sources to research topics, there should be a balance. When a person has to do a quick paper based of small facts, it’s all right to check online sources for information. A person doing so just needs to be careful about the sources he or she uses. Anyone can post things on the Internet, fact or fiction. When taking facts from a particular source it’s important to check for credibility.

Scholarly sources are located all over the Internet. Many prominent companies have databases with free information and articles on multiple topics. Many times a person doing research can even find magazine articles and newspaper articles online.

However, critical reading in books to find information is a useful skill to have. When one is preparing research on a topic it is important to use credible books in addition to websites. By backing up a website’s information with information from a published book, it can be very effective.

Technology within computers is not hurting our society. It is helping our society. By finding the correct balance between time spent online and time spent socializing with others, it equally develops each skill. Computers can be used to do many effective things, and social networking programs like Facebook give us the ability to socialize with others that we may not otherwise. Overall, the pros of technology outweigh the negative.

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It is not the technology that is bad, but the misuse. Blaming technology for something is like blaming an inanimate object for your problems. People use things wrong all the time, but when it comes to technology, no one says that the equipment was misused, but that the technology is bad. Very few things in this world were invented for the direct harm to humans, and those that were, still are not lethal by themselves, it takes someone to actually use the item. Guns for example are linked to violence rather easily, many murders, and deaths have come as a result of guns, but was it the gun who killed the person or the person that pulled the trigger. In the justice system we blame the person as we should. So even though guns result in violence, their purpose was to hunt or stop wars. Mikhail Kalashnikov did not intend for his gun to be used by children, he hoped that the AK-47 would bring peace and end wars, because guns do not start wars people do. Cell phones are not meant to cause car accidents, but people who are on the phone while driving quit focusing on driving and become dangerous to everyone else on the road. In fact, most technology is made for good reasons, to prevent diseases, and to increase efficiency. The assembly line was a great invention that resulted in three great benefits. It increased jobs, decreased product cost, and products were more readily available. This as a result increased the number of people with health insurance, more workers rights, minimum wage was introduced, labor unions, and in general brought more power to the people. All because of one simple invention, but this invention can also be misused, for example, instead of having Americans working on the assembly line, companies can move their manufacturing facilities to foreign countries because it is not skilled labor anymore. Also the companies can do many parts with robots.
Basically we can't judge a book by its cover, just because bad things happen as a result of modern technology, we have to remember it is not the technology, rather, it is the person who misuses it.

Just the other night, I was working on chemistry homework and texting a friend. He asked how my homework was coming, and I told him I was struggling. I could not figure out the density of Mercury at a given temperature and pressure. His response was simply, “Google it.?

The point of the problem was not to merely look the answer up online. Instead, it was to learn how to execute different calculations and solve different types of problems. Simply “googling it? would not help me learn those processes, and it would definitely not help me perform better on the test. I did it anyways.

As I read your position, I wanted to read the article from Business Week that you mentioned. Without even thinking, I “googled? it, and found the article in a matter of seconds. As I realized what I was doing, I was appalled by my actions. Had I become so dependent upon Google that it was an automatic and basically unconscious response to any problem that I came across?

Aside from my dependency on Google, I began thinking about other problems you mentioned. I personally spend countless hours a day on Facebook, which is time I could be using to be productive. I also just received a phone call from my mom informing me that I had a $212 cell phone bill – from my text messages alone. I informed her she should immediately change my plan to allow an unlimited amount. While I do not consider these serious problems (my mom would probably beg to differ!), it is something to think about.

Overall, I agree with your position. While I do spend too much time on Facebook, send text messages in excess, and rely on Google for a lot of information, I spend even more time physically interacting with other people and going to class. I also do my fair share of reading (thanks to a certain English class!). As you pointed out, it all needs to exist in a balance. Each form of technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

As you pointed out, the benefits of technology clearly outweigh any minor problems. In the 1970s and 1980s, math and English were ranked the most important subjects, while computer skills hardly made the list. However, by the 1990s, computer skills came in a close third to math and English, and the importance of technology has continued to rise since then (National Association of Secondary School Principals). Technology helps people solve problems in a convenient and timely matter, and this allows for progression in education and society as a whole.

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