Technology is indispensable in solving modern problems, enhancing social life and ensuring a better future (Diamond 240). Technology is the application of scientific knowledge to reach among others industrial and commercial objectives of an organization or a society. It has cultural, organizational and technical aspects (Freeman and Francisco 142). Technology has become a powerful tool that is being used to improve social life and solve human problems like poverty and deceases. In addition, technology has increased the power of human beings to control and manipulate nature thereby enhancing our ability to adapt to the environment (Global Scenario Group Report 19).
Despite all the benefits of technology, it has negative side effects like unemployment. It is therefore important to assess dangers and promises of a technology in order to formulate safeguards to eliminate its negative impacts or its misuse. It is also important to put limits on some technologies like biotechnology so as to harness their full potential without lowering the dignity of human beings (Freeman and Francisco 327).
There are many areas in which technology impact positively in the society. The globalization of the internet for example, has extended and empowered the human network (Cisco Systems E25). It has changed positively the manner in which social, political, commercial and personal interactions are occurring. The internet presents a platform on which businesses can be run, emergencies can be addressed and individuals can be informed. It is being used to support education, science and government. (Global Scenario Group Report 24).
Education has immense impact on a society. It trains the human mind to think and make right decisions. Through education, one acquires knowledge and information which can be used to solve problems like unemployment in a society (Cisco Systems E27). Technology enhances the processes of communication, collaboration and engagement which are fundamental building blocks of education. It supports and enriches students learning experiences.
It helps to deliver learning materials like interactive activities, assessments and feedbacks to a larger number of students faster and cheaper. In contrast to traditional learning methods which provide only two sources of expertise, that is, the textbook and the instructor which are limited in format and timing, online courses can contain voice, data and video which enhance understanding (Cisco Systems E30). Technology has thus removed geographical barriers to education and improved students’ learning experiences.
Technology has facilitated the formation of global communities through social networks like facebook. This has fostered social interactions independent of geographical location (Global Scenario Group Report 27). The online communities enable sharing of valuable ideas and information capable of increasing productivity and opportunities in a society. For example, one can post to a forum to share health and treatment information with other members of the forum from all over the world. Though this kind of interaction is not physical, people are still able to share their social experiences and values more efficiently with people from diverse backgrounds.
Technology has also helped to reduce poverty. Advancement in technology has led to new efficient sources of energy even to poor rural communities. The availability of cheap sources of energy opens up a society to investments and economic activities (Diamond 253). For example, technology has made it possible through genetic engineering to engineer crops that convert solar energy to fuels more efficiently.
Governments are thus able to provide cheaper efficient sources of energy even to poor rural communities since solar energy is available virtually anywhere in the world (Freeman and Francisco 307). Genetic engineering can also be used to create plants that produce valuable products like silicon chips for computers efficiently. This can result in improved income and living standards to members of a society. Technology can therefore bring about social revolution by enriching villages thereby attracting people and wealth from cities (Freeman and Francisco 331).
Technology enables farms in remote places to function as part of the global economy. Through advancement in technology, agricultural outputs have improved thus ensuring food security. Technology helps farmers to avoid losses caused by natural disasters like drought. For example, a farmer can use a laptop enabled with a Global Positioning System to plant his or her crops with precision and efficiency resulting in high harvests.
At harvest time, the farmer can use technology to co-ordinate harvesting with the availability of grain a transporter and storage facilities using mobile wireless technology. This can help to reduce losses caused by delays. The grain transporter can monitor the vehicle in-route to maintain the best fuel efficiency and safe operation. In addition, through technology changes in status can be relayed to the driver of the vehicle instantly (Cisco Systems E34). Technology has thus improved efficiency and effectiveness in the agricultural sector. It has enabled societies to have abundant healthy food.
Modern technology is also widely used in the entertainment and travel industries. The internet has enabled people to share and enjoy many forms of recreation, regardless of their location. For example, one can explore different places interactively without having to visit them. Technology has also enabled the creation of new forms of entertainment, such as online games (Cisco Systems E36). Entertainment is important in a society since it reduce stress and problems caused by depression.
Fears have been raised about some technologies such as nuclear weapons being used to cause massive destructions in the world (Freeman and Francisco 308). But the global community has the ability to enforce controls and limits on technology use to ensure that technology is not misused. A beneficial technology cannot therefore be abandoned when measures can be put in place to shape and direct its use. Moreover, governments in the form of regulatory institutions and professional bodies have the potential to regulate technologies that are susceptible to misuse to ensure that they do not impact negatively on values of the society (Freeman and Francisco 316).
Technology is embedded in all aspects of our society and has extensive implications on culture and social activities. Technology has significantly improved health, agriculture, education, transport and communication sectors. These are critical sectors in any society as they contribute to development and improvement of living standards. Although some technologies might have side effects, measures can be put in place by governments and the international community to ensure that all technologies are used for the benefits of the society.
Analysis and evaluation
1.The sources I used are qualified on the subject of technology and its social impacts. Cisco Corporation is a leading and credible technology firm. Its products are widely accepted all over the world. In the Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility Report of 2009 the organization outlined its key activities and how they contribute to the social welfare of the community. Cisco also offers certification courses that are very popular world wide.
The Cisco Networking Academy Program is a good example of how technology can be used to enhance learning experience. In the program, the instructor provides a syllabus and establishes a preliminary schedule for completing the course content. The expertise of the instructor is supplemented with an interactive curriculum comprising of text, graphics, audio and animations. In addition, a tool called packet tracer is provided to build virtual representations of networks and emulate functions of various networking devices (Cisco Systems E31).
Freeman and Francisco in their book give a lot of examples of how technology can be used to enhance social life. They also point out some side effects of modern technology and how they can be addressed. In addition, the publisher of this book, Oxford University Press is a credible publisher and the source can thus be relied on.
Some social impacts of the modern technology are common in homes and workplaces. For example, the impacts of the internet on commerce are common. Majority of people have embraced electronic commerce and are buying goods and services online from the comfort of their homes. Electronic commerce has thus opened new doors of opportunities that are being exploited in the society.
Diamond in his book explores the rise of civilization, discussing the evolution of agriculture and technology and their impact on the society. He gives clear examples of how technology has improved the social welfare of communities especially through improvements in agricultural production. Some of the examples he gives are common and can easily be related to what is going around.
The Global Scenario Group report is a credible source. Its main sponsors who include Stockholm Environment Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, the Nippon Foundation, and the United Nations Environment Programme are advocacy organizations in the fields of technology and the environment. The research explored the historical background of technology, the current situation and what the future might look like. It gives clear examples of major scientific discoveries that are driving technology and their potential impacts.
If I had adequate time, I would do additional research to find more information on effective measures the international community can take to ensure that technology is not misused. I would particularly focus on tools the international community can employ to protect technology from irresponsible individuals like terrorists. This is because technology itself is not bad, but it is the human beings who in some cases use it irresponsibly. Therefore, if correct measures and controls are put in place technology can be used for the benefit of all in the society. This can eliminate fears and most of the side effects of technology.
2a. Technology shapes institutions, values and day to day activities in our society. It affects identities, relationships, social structures and economic activities (Freeman and Francisco 316). Technology is thus inevitable in the modern world. The internet has enhanced our social, political, commercial and personal interactions enabling us to share information and ideas more efficiently. Technology has significantly improved the quality of education. It has enabled learning materials to reach a larger number of students efficiently and cheaply. An improvement in the quality of education enhances the social life of a community since it enables individuals to make creative decisions capable of solving social problems.
Technology has facilitated the formation of online communities were members can share their diverse experiences and ideas. This has the potential of increasing productivity in a society. In addition, technology has helped to reduce poverty. It has resulted in efficient sources of energy even in rural areas thereby opening up rural areas for investments and developments. Modern technology has also improved efficiency in the agricultural sector therefore ensuring food security. Moreover, I discussed how modern technology has been used in the entertainment and travel industries to create new forms of entertainments like online games. Finally, I noted that although some technologies have side effects, governments and the international community have the potential to direct and control the use of technology for the benefit of the society.
2b.Some of the evidences I used include the Cisco Networking Academy Program which is an example of how technology can be used to improve quality of education. The second evidence is of a farmer using a laptop enabled with a Global Positioning System to plant his crops with precision and efficiency. The example illustrates how technology can be used to improve agricultural production. The third evidence illustrates how genetic engineering can be used to engineer crops that convert solar energy to fuels more efficiently. The energy can then be used in the rural areas to create wealth and employment opportunities. Finally, I illustrated how technology has been used in the entertainment and travel industry to create new forms of entertainment like online games.
2c.The major assumption I made is that the international community has the potential to control and direct the use of technology. This is only possible if there is peace and cooperation among all countries of the world. But this is not the case especially in the Middle East. The instability in countries like Iran and the existence of extremists have increased fears of technology being used to cause massive destruction.
3.Someone might ague that technology is a problem because we rely on it so much and that although it makes us better it also make us worse. My position is that in any human community there must be control and order. It is therefore the responsibility of governments to ensure that the society is protected from negative effects of technology. Some people might point out the destructive effects of technology on the environment to ague against it. But if correct measures are put in place we will be able to assess the dangers and promises of any technology in order to formulate effective safeguards against its side effects.
Cisco Systems, Inc. Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility Report. cisco.com. Cisco Systems, Inc. 2009. Web. 2009.
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York. W.W. Norton. 1999. Web.
Freeman, Chris and Francisco Louca. As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolutions to the Information Revolution. England. Oxford University Press. 2001. Web.
Global Scenario Group Report. Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead. gsg.org. Global Scenario Group. Web. 2002.