Technology: A double-edged sword
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 23:10
Last week, self-driving cars became legal in California. Along with this interesting new law came a multitude of opinions from both sides of the technological debate; the tech crowd who loves to see the progress of science and technology and the traditionalists who fear the direction technology is taking us.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I can certainly see how some folks might be scared at the idea of a car driving itself. That lack of control, especially with other unpredictable drivers, makes the idea seem very dangerous, but overall I side with technology here. Sure, the integration of normal cars and self-driving cars will be a bumpy one, but decades into the future when all cars can “talk” to each other (so to speak) and adjust their speeds accordingly, there will certainly be fewer wrecks, and this will more than make up for the fears people had when they were first introduced.
It is interesting to see where people draw the lines in the advances of technology. For example, some say being chauffeured around the city is a luxury, but those same folks might be against self-driving cars. There are people who are devoted to their laptops and cell phones but can’t stand the idea of the Amazon Kindle replacing paper books.
Another obsession in the 21st century is user interface. We want everything to be so simplified for us that we don’t even have to think to figure out how to use it. We don’t care about a short learning curve; we don’t want a learning curve at all.
While it would be silly for me to complain about my laptops and cell phones being “too intuitive,” I do feel as if these simplifications help destroy people’s curiosity. People just want the app to run; most don’t care how it runs or why it works. I miss the days when I saw people devoting hours towards tinkering with new things to figure out how they worked.
Technology can definitely be a double-edged sword. Improving it makes our lives simpler in some regards, but it also replaces the jobs of many people and sometimes requires extra college education just to understand the complications of the machinery we’ve created thus far. It also doesn’t help that the profit made from replacing people with machines generally goes solely towards the progression of the company rather than the well-being of people, although I can’t offer a suitable solution.
My future career, software engineering, is also in for an interesting ride; for years now, technology has been increasing at such an incredible rate that programmers have become lazy in their programming. Instead of working out all of the bugs and kinks that slow down the efficiency of their programs, programmers can now rely on the increasing speed of computers to mask their poor programming. The new mentality is now, “Why spend time coding my program to run faster if I can just buy a new computer that can run my programs faster?”
I personally think it’s a dangerous mentality. I would say to those folks, “You’re promoting anti-intellectualism. You’re giving up problem-solving and selling inadequate software.”
Maybe this time I’m the one sticking to traditional values.