The story of Pandora's Box reveals the dangers that technology brings along with its many gifts. Today, some very interesting cultural changes are beginning to take hold of society that stems from the dependence on technology and the way that it is interwoven into culture. The purpose of this essay is to examine the relationship between computer technology and the corresponding dependence that is created by this relationship. This writing intends to demonstrate that people are too dependent on computers and that more balance is needed in this age of technology where considerable portions of humanity are slowly eroding.
This essay will present evidence supporting this hypothesis and suggest that the reader insist on using logic and deductive reasoning to view this report. Many facts will be presented to persuade the reader that the relationship between human and computer has reached a level of dependence that is unhealthy and not beneficial to the greater good.
Defining Key Terms
Before any logical discussion void of fallacy may be presented, key definitions need to be addressed in order to complete the argument. In this case the word dependence needs to be highlighted as a key term that needs to be more fully expressed. The idea of dependence suggests a need instead of a preference. Dependence is a weak condition that limits or at least demonstrates the limiting quality that a person is subject to another thing, person or item. In this case a dependency on computer technology would suggest that we " need " these tool or face serious health and mental instability.
Computer technology also needs to be addressed grammatically in order to fully understand the argument. Technology is how people change and alter the world to fit their own purposes or visions. Technology was around before computers existed for as long as man as lived. It is in within man's nature to want to develop and make life easier for himself. This innate characteristic transcends technology and suggests the human element located within every person is unique and special.
Empirical Data Suggesting Dependence
Richtel (2010) wrote about a significant price that is being paid by many who use computers and technology in a seamless manner. He suggested that "cell phones and computers have transformed life. They let people escape their cubicles and work anywhere. They shrink distances and handle countless mundane tasks, freeing up time for more exciting pursuits. For better or worse, the consumption of media, as varied as e-mail and TV, has exploded. In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960. And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows. "
Information plays a key role in how computers are utilized within society. Information has now become extremely available and only with the assistance of computer technology can we access this technology. This quest for information exponentially feeds upon itself as new methods for acquiring information blossom and contribute to the already growing pool of data that requires sifting and exploration. A real mess has been created.
We have become a culture of people that are almost completely dependent on technology. We have almost been transformed into a cy-borg like mixture of human and machines. The technologies that started out as aides to our existence have become vital to our everyday lives. Technology is rapidly becoming smaller and faster. The laptops we have now are just as powerful as most desktops. Many younger users who grew up with this technology may not realize just how amazing these new improvements are. Nowadays one is able to take a laptop out of its box, make a few connections and, wham, have access to the world of information that was once hidden from them without computer technology.
Computer Technology as Entertainment
An unfortunate byproduct of technological advancement is the amount of down time that is saved from the productive behavior that goes on without real purpose or intent. Instead, entertainment has grasped society and culture as the end all celebration of all things. People in today's world expect to be entertained and anything beyond that is extra. The merger of computing and home entertainment has helped to make technology addicts out of so many of us, limiting our view of the real world while ironically increasing the availability of a digital world.
Bator (2013) explored this dependence on computer entertainment. In this article she noticed " research from the American Heart Association shows teens spend an average of 20 hours a week in front of a computer or TV. With so many distractions around us, when are teens supposed to make time to hang out with friends or relax with their families?" Our real families are being substituted for digital replacements allowing those who control these forces much closer to our own thought process revealing a danger in this ability that must be approached with caution and wisdom.
A Warning From FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released their Strategic Foresight Initiative (2011). This document contained research conducted on behalf of the agency and highlighted threatening trends surrounding the subject. The initiative was written due to the rapid technological growth that is being forecasted by FEMA. In some ways, technological and computer development as reached "emergency" awareness. This should serve as a reminder to the seriousness that this subject brings and the importance it is to understand this problem of dependence and abuse.
According to this report, " there were 4.6 billion mobile phone subscribers in 2009 up from 1.8 billion in 2004 (39% increase). If trends continue, it is predicted there will be 6.9 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide by 2020 (67% increase). In 2009, half a billion mobile phone subscribers used their device to connect to the internet. This number is expected to double to one billion by 2015." Computers have truly reached a global status and any advancements made in this direction without computers is certainly not a common occurrence.
Besides telecommunication, our heath care systems are becoming more and more reliant upon computer programming. Medicine itself is beginning to require sophisticated robot intelligences to conduct complex surgeries and operations furthering a heavy reliance on this technology. Biotechnology has the potential to transform human health by increasing life expectancy and minimizing the threat of disease. Individuals will live longer, healthier lives allowing them to work much later into life.
The Counter Argument
It is important to understand that this essay is not arguing for the good or bad of technological advances, rather, that today's culture is overly dependent upon these tools. The counter argument would therefore suggest that there is not a dependence on technology or computer processing.
Such a counter argument would have to demonstrate examples counter to the ones already presented that suggest that more and more people are turning off their computers and resorting to other methods of entertainment, health care and communication to satisfy their personal needs.
Some people are indeed turning off to this mass computerization of society. Unfortunately these people are very hard to locate and communicate with due to their choice of not relying on computers. These people are known to live " off the grid" and resort to more ancient forms of technology to help feed, shelter and entertain these people who have relinquished their propensity to depend on computer technology.
Who is to say that an alienated and segregated community is not a bad thing and that this dependence is a healthy alternative to other forms of existence? Schirtzinger (2012) provided the basis for alignment with the new computerized way of life. She wrote " On the other side, technology has increased efficiency. Devices have become more portable. Businesses have…