We are starting a new category “Technology”, and Rohan’s post on the negative effects of technology is the first post in it.
Technology has become an inseparable part of our life, and we need to adapt to it in a way that we don’t harm ourselves.
Rohan takes us through the past and present of technology, and discusses its addictions and affairs in our life. – Ed.
When was the last time you traveled on foot rather than using your car?
Do you consider yourself as a genius because you have Google to answer all your queries?
Is your worst fear a black screen and a lost charger? Are you the kind of guy who falls asleep reading your Twitter timeline?
Almost all the things you use today in your daily life are a result of technology. Technology has completely changed our lifestyle. It has drastically changed the clothes we wear, food we eat, the way we communicate, our health etc.
The first thing I do after getting up in the morning is checking my messages. Do you share a similar habit?
For years, many great thinkers have already predicted that we humans are going to be ruled by technology. And that is what is happening in the 21st century.
Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Technology too has a lot of negative effects.
The drawbacks of technology on our environment, health, behavior, relationships, business, education, society, etc. cannot be overlooked.
Almost every action or activity we perform nowadays is somewhere associated or dependent on Technology. Thus making us addicted to it.
The situation becomes even worse when we have to rely on technology to think, work, communicate, or even breathe.
Our brains have been so badly engaged with modern technology that despite its negative effects, we get a superficial rewarding feeling. And we compulsively respond to that feeling to get even more of it.
Decoding Today’s Technology
The Human history has witnessed many ages including the Ice age, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, etc. There are many more ages to count if we consider them nation-wise.
Every age was responsible for bringing up a new technology. Technology is ever changing.
These days we often get to hear or read that currently we are witnessing information age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age), Internet age or technology age. Okay, I know you have some more ages to add to this list, popping up in your mind. 😉
But I think our ancestors have already gone through the information age. This might come as a surprise to you, but that is what I think!
The great paintings and carvings are the best example of ancient Information age. The graphitized walls are indeed information. So do you still think that the existing age is an Information age or beyond that?
In my opinion, it is the TECH age we are going through. What is TECH age?
T – Technology becomes
E – Exploitable because of the
C – Cheap rates and
H – High availability.
In the 21st century, the 7,279,236,500+ human population (the plus sign indicates that the population is still growing at the moment) surprisingly witnessed a substantial decrease in the price/rates of technologies.
Moreover, they became highly available for the common man to afford. Most individuals or families started having their own Car, Computer, Multiple Laptops, Tablets, Smart Phones, Television, etc.
This is the reason I will call this century as the “TECH” age.
Everyone is now easily able to access modern gadgets and the Internet. A few years ago, in the early 2000s, there was an increase in the popularity of the Internet café’s.
But with the decline in the Internet prices, many of them have already shut down or are facing lack of users. This is all because of cheap rates and high availability.
General masses can now instantly get connected to the world resulting in more business opportunities.
With large world population using the internet, it gives rise to many cyber crimes.
According to Wikipedia, the top four countries having the maximum Internet users are China, India, United States and Japan. These four countries face the maximum cyber crimes each year compared to other countries, where the Internet is still considered only for business use.
Manufacturing tech products with cheap prices leads to higher demand among the people. This is the main reason technology is being exploited more and is less used for meaningful purposes. Thus, the name “TECH” age is well suited to describe this current phase.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against technology. I just want to emphasize that we should use technology responsibly in the best way so we don’t harm ourselves from its negative effects.
What is Technology?
Actually the word technology comes from the Greek words “techne”, which means “craft” and “logy” which means “scientific study of”.
So technology means the “scientific study of craft.” Here craft means invention.
Technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industries.
In today’s world when we think of technology, the first thing which comes in our minds is the computer, mobile phones, heater, cars, etc.
However, technology is a broader term which not only deals with computerization or high-tech inventions, but also with all the other inventions which improve our lifestyle. In short, every useful invention can be considered as technology.
Majorly we tend to relate technology to the virtual world.
We can hardly imagine our day without the latest innovations. The world will come to a halt if we dump our modern tech devices and tools.
There would be a point in time in the future when we would feel helpless without technology.
In fact, some of us are feeling it right now, as they think of it.
Advantages of Technology
Technology has done wonders. It is a great boon not only for humans but also for the entire world species. Technology has increased dramatically.
I am sure you all know very well about the advantages of technology, so I am not going to delve much into this aspect.
Let’s just have a quick look at the wonders of technology in our lives:
- Technology has made it possible for us to reach a larger audience from greater geographic locations. Television and the Internet has shrunk not only the space, but also time.
- It has surely fostered e-learning and e-commerce. Students from geographically isolated regions can now connect to their mentors with a single click. That is amazing, isn’t it?
- One of the most important impacts of technology in business and education, is that it has decreased the use of paper and other related costs.
- Contribution of new Technologies in the field of Health and Medicine is noteworthy. This has increased the average life expectancy.
- Ten years before nobody thought of having a vast social network, but kudos to Social Networking for helping us connect with the world on a single click.
- Technology has successfully replaced humans with machines. This reduced the cost of production for the manufacturing industries.
- Lastly, it is all because of Technology that you are reading this post.
Disadvantages of Technology
As I have mentioned before that due to cheap rates and high availability, people are getting addicted to technology.
The biggest drawback (or rather I would say the failure) of technology is that humans are not able to realize when to limit its usage.
Do you remember this famous Native American proverb? – “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
Although technology impacts us positively, but at the same time it can be the biggest threat to our existence.
Below is a list of the disadvantages of technology that can have a catastrophic effect on the world:
1. Big Brother is watching your every move
In the future, the omniscient surveillance system will be able to track every part of your life.
Yes, the technological devices will know us better than our friends or family. In fact, that phase has started already. The complete end of privacy is near, and absolute surveillance is coming soon.
This is probably the darkest side of technology. The BSIA (British Security Industry Association) said that there are 4.9 million cameras installed that is one for every 14 people. Isn’t that too much security?
2. Awful addiction
Its the 21st century, and we are dependent on technology for almost everything.
However, most of the time addiction to technology is under-acknowledged. I guess we all are addicted to phones. The condition gets worse when we start feeling a vibration of our cell phones even if it is not vibrating.
It happens with me, and I am sure most people reading this have already witnessed this feeling once in their life.
Did you know that a man died after playing video game for 40 hours continuously? Are games more important than life?
3. Technology is the main reason for health degradation
“Sitting is the new smoking”, I am sure you would have come across this sentence at least once while reading health magazines. How can sitting degrade your health?
The more you sit, the lesser is the blood circulation in your body. Constantly starring at the screen of your devices can lead to neck and head pain.
It can result in headaches and poor eyesight. Not to mention, that the excessive use of the Internet is linked with depression and obesity.
Constantly starring at the bright screens can hamper the release of melatonin – a hormone responsible for sleep and wake cycles.
4. Man is no longer a social animal
Extensive use of technology can lead to poor social skills.
Nowadays, even business meetings are conducted over Skype or chat rooms resulting in lack of personal touch.
The membrane between the online and offline world is getting thinner and thinner. I am sure in the future, it will completely disappear, making it hard to communicate offline.
With constant and high use of modern gadgets, we often make ourselves isolated from the world.
Imagine yourself walking on the street with your headphones on and enjoying the music with no fear of getting hit by a lamp post. This is what is called being isolated from the real world!
5. Our very own humanity is at stake
With the advancements in manufacturing technology human workers are hardly given importance or expected to work as efficiently as a robot.
On humanitarian grounds, are these kinds of expectations justified?
We are constantly exposed to violent video games and violent videos on TV, YouTube, and movies. Why violence and drama is widely accepted when it comes to reality shows? Also, why are action movies with brutal scenes considered as a source for entertainment?
Social media is indirectly or directly promoting Narcissism, which leads to Narcissistic personality disorder.
I think these days we give more importance to our Social Media home pages that our home sweet home.
6. Internet brings out the worst
I think many of us have started living a dual life because of the Internet. Some people are completely different from what they try to be on the Internet.
Normal human beings should act the same online as he or she does in real life.
I have a real life story to share with you.
A couple from South Korea got so engrossed with a computer game, which involved raising a virtual child that they left their infant baby unattended while they were at the Internet café. In short, the girl was starved to death while her parents raised a virtual child in an online game.
This couple was so addicted to the game that they started living a dual life – one offline and another online.
7. Lastly, with the rise in usage of technology, there’s a rise in crime
During the 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the television and the Internet greatly helped the terrorists to keep an eye on the army activities. The technology has surely given a boost to information warfare and terrorist attacks.
Some countries use technology to spy on other countries; this creates political tension between countries. Furthermore, nuclear warfare can be the reason for mass destruction in the future.
I guess we all are aware of cyber crimes also known as computer crimes.
Such crimes include online bullying and harassment, fraud, cyber terrorism and warfare, hacking, cracking, cyberstalking, phishing attacks, identity theft, etc.
How to Unplug From Technology
Technology is surely influencing our business relationships, agricultural patterns, education system, Human health and behavior and the world as a whole.
It is good to embrace new technologies but getting completely dependent on them without overcoming their drawbacks is harmful.
It is indeed the need of an hour for humans to keep thinking and formulating a sustainable solution for all the technological problems.
Necessity is the mother of invention. It is important to invent and shape technologies in a human-friendly way.
After all, humans are supposed to rule over technology and not get ruled by technology.
We can’t control the government or the others. But we can do the things that we are in control of to safeguard ourselves from the negative effects of technology.
I would like to share some general tips that can help you to unplug yourself:
Quick Tip #1: Understand what are you addicted to.
The first step to avoid being slaves of Technology is to identify what are the technologies you are most addicted to.
It could be anything like television, internet, and video games (BTW before you question yourself let me answer it; Yes, The Assassin’s Creed is a video game. Just saying!).
Quick Tip #2: Do not allow addiction to hijack your brain.
Prevention is better than cure but if you are already affected you need a cure.
Don’t allow technology to take over your life. Before it starts impacting you, start reacting to it. I know it will not be easy to walk the path to de-addiction, but you can take help of a specialist or a de-addiction center. Yes, you heard it right!
Nowadays, Internet de-addiction centers are specially set up to handle people with Internet addiction disorder.
If you become restless and irritated when your Wi-Fi or 3G network suddenly goes off, then you need to improve as soon as possible because this can result in impulsive behavior.
Quick Tip #3: There is no “ Like” or “Share” button in real life!
The real life is completely different from the virtual world. Not everyone would “Like” you in the real world but do “Share” your happiness no matter what.
I know you have fewer friends in real life compared to your virtual world.
However, the ugly truth is that whatever is real will stay forever, and you need to bring the virtual friendship out of that digital box in order to make it real!
Quick Tip #4: Technology is making you stupid, so stop being a Goldfish!
I know there are many things we really don’t know about, and Google is the best way to get information about them.
However, don’t you think searching everything on Google is being stupid?
God has gifted you with a brain, so why not try engaging in real life conversations to ask for solutions. This might initially make you look stupid but at the end of the day you would be smarter than your very own Google Granny.
Do not multi-task; this will stop you from being a Goldfish. I think you know what the average memory span of a Goldfish is.
Quick Tip #5: Emails are important but not more than your mental health.
Schedule your email-checking time. Do not keep a tab always open to check your emails and reply to them as soon as they appear.
Don’t worry; the world will not come to a halt if you do not reply to emails instantly.
Checking mails constantly can actually make you feel stressed. That is the biggest reason for you to be unproductive during your work hours.
I recommend you to schedule checking your emails after every 2 hours if your work is highly dependent on mails or check them five times a day.
Quick Tip #6: Start dieting even if you are already fit!
Yes, you need to start a “digital diet” regardless if you are fit or not. What is digital dieting?
Digital dieting is nothing but refraining to use any technology that you are addicted to, or you feel that you might get addicted to for a specific period; preferably 24 hours a week.
Quick Tip #7: Out of sight is out of mind.
Be relevant and stay active! (Sounds contradicting but its true!)
Before you start your “digital diet” ensure that you place all the addictive gadgets out of your sight so that you do not get tempted to use them.
One more tip I would like to give you is that be active and make your presence – offline and online, relevant enough to get yourself noticed by others.
You can make yourself relevant offline by making new friends, getting interested in them, and being alert!
When I say you need to be active online, I mean you need to log in to all your accounts after a specific period. This could be after every 4 hours, when you take a break from your daily routine.
If you have your online business which demands your presence, you can do this every hour, but not too frequently.
Reply to everything including emails, updates, posts, etc. in an hour or two and save the rest of the time for doing something productive.
This could be things like updating your blog with a new design, learning a new language, learning or investing in some new ventures, etc.
You can use an automated tool or service to post updates on your behalf. This works like a charm!
Okay I have a presentation to share with you. It’s all about the impact of technology on our lives that we need to learn to take control of.
Making it possible!
I have a mantra to share with you. But before that, I would like to share one of the Charles Darwin’s theories: “Survival of the fittest.”
The modern technologies have proved this theory partially wrong because even the weakest can continue to survive because of the wonderful advancements in the medical technology (also called as health technology).
So here is my mantra that will help you survive this TECH (Technology becomes Exploitable because of the Cheap rates and High availability) age: “Survival of the smartest.”
The more smartly you use technology, the better your life would be.
All the best ~ let’s unplug from the TECH age and start a revolution…
So, what are you waiting for? Go Outsmart your Smartphone!
Now it is your turn to take the conversation further!
Hey, thanks for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts on this post.
Over To You –
Are you addicted to technology? Do you have any ideas to improve the negative effects of technology? Share your opinions and insights in the comments box below.
Posted on: December 11th, 2014
Last Updated on: December 16th, 2014