I was asked sometime this past year to be on a panel of judges at a high-school debate competition held at my church. The debate topic was “technology has done more harm to us than good.” Two speakers were selected on both sides of the argument, to convince us of their stance, and persuade us to see things from their perspectives. I admit, I came into this role with a bias in favor of technology, but I was amazed at the eye-opening revelation that my peers graced me with.
Ordinarily, I knew that the opposing team had little to work with because technology, being the practical application of science, has shaped, created, and redefined the world we live in today. Lots of points were raised, however, their greatest argument lied on the issue of exploitation. In this context, exploitation was explained off as the idea that our privacy can be invaded without our knowledge. An example one of the speaker raised was the prevalence of phone hacking and email scandals plaguing consumers today.
To build up this argument, one of the speakers from the opposing team mentioned the idea that companies collect data without consumer’s knowledge and use this information to bombard the public with marketing ploys to unwittingly attract their interests. Other arguments centered on road accidents caused by distracted driving, and the mass availability of weapons such as guns leading to the continued mass killing of innocent lives, as well as the prevalence of suicide in teenagers brought about by cyberbullying. These key points alone were unfortunately not enough to earn them the first place.
The supporters of technology won the debate, largely because there are so many benefits of technology that it can be said to over-shadow the negative aspects of it. The advantages of technology cuts across several sectors and industries. The speakers were very succinct in their descriptions of medical discoveries brought about by science, and by extension technology,
They also mentioned technology’s impact on education, in terms of global-scale learning. Transportation was another aspect covered by the supporting speakers. They had a lot to say about the convenience of travelling in the modern day compared to how it was in the past, I mean, what is a horse-drawn carriage compared to an aeroplane ride? Exactly. The last point, is perhaps the most important to young adults like myself, and that is social networking. At this point, I found myself pondering what life would be like without the internet, and without social media. When the last of the speakers have spoken. Points were awarded, a short panel discussion was held and it was determined that the supporting team had the greatest amount of points cumulatively, making them the winner of the debate.
When I retired to my bed that night, I asked myself, would the kids born into the technological generation survive if we woke up to find that a ban had been placed on technological advancements? And more importantly, I wondered, would the world survive? Or would we be met with a regression back to the Stone Age? I hope we never find out.
Technology and its advancement is generally thought of as good. However, there are also the not-so-good aspects of technology, especially for students like me, one of which is the associated distraction of technology. There is also that tendency to become dependent on computers and other technological gadgets for everyday existence whereby the absence of these tools leaves us handicapped. For example, needing a calculator to solve basic maths calculations.
I am pro-technology, and I believe that the goal of technology is to help us in our daily life, to make it more convenient, if you will. The problem, therefore, lies in human misuse of it. Technology is not going anywhere. It will continue to influence our lives whether we like it or not. Fortunately, we are not powerless in deciding how we choose to use it – Inappropriately? or for the overall good? The choice is ours.