Technology is a great gift of science to human society that has made life easier and more comfortable than ever expected. Technology has made our lives so easy that we can’t imagine living without it for a single second. Human beings depend upon technology for every little thing, and their present and future is all connected with the application of technology. Technology, like two sides of the same coin, has two sides. It has its own set of pros and cons that are necessary to highlight. This article deals with the pros and cons of technology in society.
10 pros of technology in society
1. Ease in economic and banking activities
Technology has come as a blessing to the economic sector. Technology enabled the large-scale establishment of industries and factories, thereby generating profit and providing people with opportunities to earn a living. Monetary transactions started taking place smoothly and gradually with the digitization of economic affairs, and e-banking helped in performing economic transactions in no time. For instance, our phones have e-payment applications like Paytm, Google Pay, etc., through which we receive and send money in only a few clicks. Now, we need not stand in long queues at the bank because banking activities can now be performed on our smartphones.
2. Easy communication
Communication is as old as civilization and with time, ways of communication changed as the society has witnessed transformation in communication from letters to telegraph, telephone to mobile phones. The communication process has evolved so much that now people can send texts, pictures, and videos to each other with great ease and even call each other over video. Communication methods have changed dramatically since the invention of social media. For example, people from foreign countries could hold a conversation with their kin or friends in the native country. Currently, the world connects all over via the internet through livestreaming, podcasts, video conferencing, and vlogs, which eliminate the barriers to communication that were present in traditional times.
3. Cheap and easier access to information
Technology provides an ocean of mediums through which we could gather information about almost anything we need. We have seen our grandparents turn on the radio every morning and evening to make themselves aware of the happenings in the world. Gradually, the radio was replaced by the television, and now the internet has taken over. We can make use of the internet for almost everything, right from gathering information to learning a skill, entertainment, studies, research, and much more. The Internet is available to people at a cheaper rate so that the world could come together as one by connecting with people, ideologies all over the world.
4. Time saver
Technology is all about speed and efficiency. For example, earlier, people living far away communicated through letters, and it took months for a letter to reach its destination. Gradually, communication became fast with the invention of telephone and faster with the coming of mobile phones. Through technology, people could now operate their work at ease, as nowadays, one could perform official work from anywhere at anytime as per their convenience. This saves a lot of time for people that could be utilized for other tasks. Every activity has come onto digital platforms, and it allows people to perform the requisite tasks without wasting time.
5. Improvement in education
Education is no longer limited to face-to-face teacher student interaction within four walls because technology facilitates easy access to education, unlike in earlier times. Pen and paper are gradually being replaced by gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, projectors, etc., and mathematical calculations are done with calculators and not the mind. Remote education is another wonderful result of technology in education, in which teachers impart knowledge to students via online platforms, allowing students from all over the world to receive education from the world’s top universities from the comfort of their own homes.
6. Ensures safety of people
People’s safety is a major concern in society, which has greatly improved as a result of technological advancements. A basic example could be the invention of the traffic signal that instructs people when to move onto a busy road so that they can travel safely.
Further, the installation of CCTV cameras in housing societies and other important places like banks, schools, shops, offices, etc. discourages evil minded people from committing any offense that saves the society as a whole. Although danger is inevitable, humans are provided with opportunities by technology to protect themselves as well as others.
7. Improvement in healthcare facilities
The health sector is doing wonders with the advancement of technology, increasing people’s lifespans. Many diseases that were fatal in earlier times have now become curable. For example, diseases like hepatitis B, polio, chicken pox, TB, and many more proved to be deadly earlier, but with the advancement in science and technology, these diseases became curable with the introduction of different treatments and medicines. Patients can even monitor their own health status these days using self-operated instruments. For example, the availability of glucometers to test sugar levels, wearable biosensors to monitor body functioning so that people remain alert about their health concerns has helped people identify any abnormalities in their bodies and approach medical help on time.
8. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly one of the revolutionary outcomes of technology that imitates human cognitive functions and does the work of humans efficiently. We have heard about Alexa and Siri, which do human like activities when given the necessary commands.
We use AI in our daily lives, and it has become an indispensable part of our routine. For example, nowadays, every morning as soon as we wake up, it is our phone that we unlock, and for that, we either put our thumbprint on it or make use of the facial recognition feature to get access to our phone, The use of GPS while traveling and the use of filters in photos and videos are nothing but proof that we use AI every day and that it has become a regular part of our lives.
9. Improve and upgrade lifestyle
A few centuries and decades back, life used to be simple, but when society saw the coming of technological advancements, people’s lifestyles changed. The idea of survival changed from ‘merely living’ to ‘comfortable living’. For example, earlier, the function of clothes was to cover one’s body and to get protection from extreme weather conditions but gradually, with technological advancements, a large scale of industries and factories began to be established that manufactured many clothing materials. Now, there are clothes for all occasions, seasons, etc. Clothing has slowly become a status symbol. Not just clothes, but the same goes for food, education, and entertainment. People have accumulated a lot of wealth due to technology, which has helped people improve their lifestyle so that they not only fulfill their basic needs but also engage in luxury to lead a comfortable life.
10. Accepting social and cultural differences
In traditional society, people used to be quite protective over their sets of beliefs, ideologies, perspectives, cultures, norms, religion, etc. But due to technology, people are bound to give up their traditional and orthodox beliefs and accept the social and cultural differences that exist among different groups of people in society. A classic example in this context could be the caste system in India. Traditionally, the so called upper caste people considered it to be a sin if they mixed up with the so called lower caste people, and at no cost they could share food and physical contact with each other. However, as technology advanced, this scenario changed. In contemporary times, we have seen people travel in the same vehicle, share food with each other at workplaces or birthday/wedding parties, and celebrate all the festivals together as Indians, which clearly indicates the acceptance of social and cultural differences.
However, it is also important to bring to notice the negative impact of technology upon us and the society as a whole.
10 cons of technology in society
1. Dependence on technology
Technology has made us their slaves, as we cannot do without them even for a day. People in earlier times were self dependent and performed extreme physical labour unlike people in the present time, when our survival depends upon technology. For example, earlier, to get information regarding anything, people would study books or communicate with their known people, but now, the internet bombards people with information within a short span of time. We depend on technology for every little thing, and we can change it at no cost.
Because technology reduces human effort and labor, employment opportunities are beginning to dwindle. The jobs of humans are now easily performed by machines at a much lower cost, and this efficiency of machines is preferred by industries over human labour which takes time to produce results. With the passage of time and the advancement of technology, unemployment has reached its peak. For example, professions like warehouse workers, lift operators, travel agents, and even security guards, to some extent due to the popularity and demand of CCTV cameras, are on the verge of disappearing or have already disappeared due to technology.
3. Social isolation
Technology has surely helped society grow and develop, but uncontrolled and excessive penetration of technological inventions and gadgets have affected the process of socializing. In the current time, people are so indulged in technology that they hardly socialize. Technology takes us to a virtual world called ‘social world’ and we are so busy in the virtual world that we lose touch with our real world. For example, we might know the whereabouts of our virtual friend in London, but we are unaware of our neighbours next door. Without realizing it, human beings are getting isolated from the social world due to technology.
4. Causes distraction in daily activities
Technology makes life easy, and it has become an indispensable part of our lives, but excessive use of technology in daily life creates disturbance to a great extent and leads to technology addiction. It distracts people from work and studies and messes up one’s daily routine. For example, if someone is studying an article or book online, there is always the tendency to click on the pop-ups or notifications. This decreases the concentration level, and people will lose interest in their work.
5. Affects creative thinking capacity
Technology is all about automation that does its work at the click of a button within no time, ensuring perfection and efficiency while reducing the physical and mental labor of people, which limits their creative and innovative thinking. For example, in the current times, we could observe the lack of originality in every field, be it academics, research, films, music, literature, so on and so forth. Technology helps people access the works of others quite easily, which makes it easy to apply other people’s ideas or work on one’s own assignments. This copy-and-paste phenomenon is killing creativity and imagination in people.
6. Health issues
Although technology has made drastic improvements in healthcare facilities, it cannot be denied that technology has brought with it various health issues, both physical and mental. Excessive use of electronic gadgets like mobile phones, televisions, laptops, tablets, etc. strains our eyes, leading to eye damage. Because technology reduces human labour and increases comfort, people become lazy due to a lack of physical activity and adopt an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, health issues like heart disease, diabetes, spondylitis, high blood pressure, obesity, cancer, and stroke could occur due to the unhealthy lifestyle and unhealthy environment we live in, which is nothing but the outcome of technology. Mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression are also seen to appear as people are so immersed in the virtual world created by technology that they tend to ignore what they feel.
7. Deadly inventions
One of technology’s biggest pitfalls is lethal inventions. It is nothing but the power exercised by humans with the help of technology to execute their selfish interests. Dangerous weapons like nuclear and atomic bombs, guns, missiles, etc. are some of the inventions of technology. For example, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known around the world, and these places are still facing the consequences of the atomic explosion that took place during the Second World War.
8. Environmental crisis
Technology undoubtedly brings development to society, but at the cost of the environment. The industries and factories use technology on a large scale to produce goods for the development of the economy and society as a whole, but in the process of manufacturing goods, a large amount of raw materials that directly come from nature are required, and the extraction of raw materials on a large scale for manufacturing goods in a huge amount directly takes a toll on the environment along with massive pollution as well as the commercialization of raw materials. For example, the Amazon forest fire in 2019 took place due to excessive human interference and destructive activities that caused harm to nature.
9. Invasion of privacy
We are always under the surveillance of the unknown in a technology led world that breach our privacy. For example, our mobile phones store our personal information or the information on our payment cards whenever we visit any website while making a purchase, which makes our information open to unknown sources. If we are searching for a particular product on a shopping website, after some time, we will find an advertisement for the same product on our social media applications. Drones are another example of a breach of privacy that uses radar technology to spy on people for whatever purposes. This clearly means that there is nothing like privacy in a technology led world.
10. Increase in crime rate
Technology has made it possible for people to commit crimes in a variety of ways. Cybercrime is a new way of offending people via technology, and this type of crime is difficult to detect and prevent. Hacking, phishing, intellectual property theft, cyber blackmail, cybersex trafficking, debit or credit card fraud, and other crimes are on the rise. In the 2000s, big companies like Yahoo, Amazon were cheated by an infamous criminal named Michael Calce causing losses of billions of dollars in the companies. So far, many people have scammed huge amounts of money in this way. Committing crime in a technology-led society is very easy due to easy access to everything around, increasing the crime rate every year.
The above mentioned pros and cons make it clear that although we need technology in our society, it also has certain drawbacks. Technology should be used wisely and in a disciplined manner keeping in mind how society needs to make use of it and how technology is shaping society. We need technology to survive in this world, but we also need to make sure that we don’t use technology as a weapon against our survival.