No it’s not a line from the next sequel of “Spider Man”!! This is something which comes to my mind when I look around. Till now I have been writing about the advantages of technology and how it has made human life easier and more comfortable than ever before. However, a few minutes of reflection can make us realize that all these technological innovations also have a flip side to it. Let us see some sociological or physiological impact of technology.
It seems as the size of the car increases or the car becomes more technically sophisticated the more immobile the people become. Definitely they move in rapid pace while inside the car adorned with multiple facilities. But they cannot even open the door of the car once it stops. You must be wondering what the context is. Just few days I went for a movie, as we were waiting for the entry, a big sophisticated car stopped in front of us. The chauffeur almost jumped out of the front seat to open the rear door. I thought it might be carrying someone aged. But to my surprise a group of young people came out of the car. Is it so difficult to open the door of a car? Have they really become immobile? Isn’t it a movement towards bigger medical and health problems?
Another instance – I went to one of the shopping malls and while I was going up using the escalators, a thought came to my mind. Isn’t it another instance of immobility arising out of the technological supremacy that humans have achieved? Although I appreciate the fact it is a really a cool technology and it gives nice feeling when you go up and down as many times as possible without getting tired. And who knows it also contributes in some way in maintaining the sales of the shops, as in its absence people might have not ascended the stairs so many times. Does this really help us? What about the various health problems that arise due to lack of exercise. Another thing that comes to my mind, in similar context, is about the various HR initiatives that we see in the corporate. Now keeping in mind the increase in health problems resulting from our immobile nature of our jobs, HR’s are encouraging people to use stairs instead of Lifts. So isn’t it another instance where the technology has actually been counter-productive. I know the argument to this can be what about going up to a 15 storey building. Thus I want to emphasize the fact that technology is not bad, I would be among one of the last person to say that. However, if it is not used for the right purpose then it leads to problem, and that is the whole idea that I want to evoke.
A bit of thought also make it very clear that all this technology hype might sound very flowery for some of us, but it also has a social impact of a different sort. It leads to many a divide which becomes very difficult to bridge.
Advances in technology, is generally not equitably shared within society. People with money have more opportunity to acquire technology, which enables them to acquire even more wealth. It is also important to remember that war has been and will continue to be the driving force for technology and innovation. Power and wealth are intrinsically tied together. And thus it brings malice with it.
Technology leads to greater social economic division. Laborers are viewed as commodities and expendable. Technology leads to alienation because it can create jobs that require no specialist knowledge.
Technology can lead to alienation if it is not widely dispersed in society. The Industrial age saw the concentration of technology in the hands of few people, the rich and powerful, allowing them to dominate and subdue the population into inhuman working conditions. The social impact of the internet and computers has only just begun. Is it going to challenge the status quo? Or is it going to lead to greater Suppression through greater population control? It is for all of us to judge.
I just wanted to bring up some thought provoking ideas related to technology advances; these are the questions that pop up time and again. However given all this no one can deny the brighter sides of technology. So it seems as in most facets of life, here also a proper balance can ensure harmony and prosperity. Let us hope that balance is restored sooner and we also contribute towards that direction.