A few days ago, I was visiting a friend. I left his place around midnight and there were no taxis or rickshaws nearby. Luckily I had this app on my phone called Careem, a car hailing service. I added the pickup and drop off location and a car arrived where I was within ten to fifteen minutes. Technology has changed the society in such a way that a few years ago people would argue that some of the things we have today thanks to technology would have been impossible.
Technology has changed our society for better and made our lives more comfortable. It has made the world an easier place to live in. It has made communication more convenient. Letter writing has become outdated and though we got access to phones thanks to technological advancements, today there are more updated forms and it is easier to talk to people through video calls, social media websites etc and it doesn’t matter how far they are from us. We can now easily order food through a mobile application rather than waiting in line and going to the restaurant. Even work has become easier, we get work updates as quickly as possible on our Whatsapp and Facebook. Due to streaming websites like Netflix and torrents, we no longer have to sit in front of the television set and wait for when our favorite show comes up, we can easily watch whatever we want no matter at what time. We can now easily read newspapers and books on our mobile phones and e-readers instead of going to the bookstore and searching for the material we need which takes a lot of time.
There is a long list of how technology has changed our society in a positive way. We can easily get what we are looking for, just by searching on the internet rather than going to the library and spending hours trying to find a certain book. We can easily find out where we are just by turning on the GPS instead of carrying a map with us like in the old times. We don’t have to go to a store buy items, we can just easily order stuff on e-commerce applications like Amazon and have it delivered to our doorstep.
Technology has also improved healthcare; we have better and more accessible treatment now, it is now quiet easier for doctors and nurses to get lab results and patient data and treat patients more carefully and efficiently. According to the United States census bureau, the average life expectancy was 47.3 years at the beginning of the 20th century, a century later it increased to 77.85 years due to the developments of vaccinations and treatments for other deadly diseases.
Technology has affected the global economy in a positive way as well. It has lowered the cost of doing business. It has also lessened human work load. It has also given rise to new services and new industries which gave rise to more jobs; a research conducted by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith shows that Facebook alone created over 18,200 jobs in 2011 and the aggregate value of the Facebook apps economy surpasses 12 billion dollars. The positive impact of Information and Computer Technology (ICT) contributes to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to a research conducted by the GSM Association (GSMA) the doubling of mobile data use due to increase in 3G connections increased GDP per capita growth by 0.5% globally.
Technology has reshaped education as well. It has changed the way how we learn. We can now easily find something we are looking for by doing a simple search on the internet. Most of the assignments by students are done online which thanks to technology helps in less or no errors and can be checked for plagiarism and they can easily save their assignments on cloud storage services. Teachers can also check students work online and grade them. Technology has also given birth to online learning ; people can easily take a course of what they are interested from the comfort of their own homes.
In article for The Daily Telegraph, Oliver Bach wrote about how technology has finally solved some of the common problems in society. In the article he gave the example of Ghana, a poor country where the rural population is illiterate, so during the 2016 elections in the country a group of coders and journalists came together and launched a simple, user-friendly website called GotToVote, which gave users clarity on where to vote. In the same article he also talked about Visualization Predictive Crime Analytics (PCA), software that uses machine learning tools to mine social media platforms and other databases that tracks unusual behavior to track future criminal activity. He also mentioned the National Ugly Mugs (NUM), launched by Reason Digital, a social enterprise which keeps sex workers safe by informing them of violent clients nearby based on information collected from criminal databases. These things have been made possible with how advanced technology has become and it has made the society a more, easier and safer place to live in.
As some of the examples in the paragraph above, technology is also helping in bringing social change around the world and it’s not just a tool to make lives easier and more convenient but also a medium which is bringing changing in the society for the better. Annika Small, a social entrepreneur wrote an article in The Huffington Post titled “How is Technology’s Transformative Power Driving Social Change Around the world?” He gives some examples of social changes which is changing many societies around the world in a positive live and making people aware of their rights and responsibilities. For example DonorSearch in Russia, it is an online database which locates people who are in need of blood donations and it locates them to people nearby of the same blood type so they are able to directly donate. HarassMap in Egypt is another example which is dedicated to ending sexual harassment in a country where 83 % of women and 93 % of women have experienced sexual assault. Ideas Box is another example, a project that helps people in refugee camps have access to education and information. In the article he comments “It’s an exciting time in technology and the people behind these brilliant ideas show that with passion, resourcefulness, creativity and courage it is possible to make a significant impact on the lives of others.”
However, there are some who aren’t as optimistic about technology and some believe that it has a negative impact on the society. I disagree, because I believe that it’s not technology itself but how people use the tool. Individuals are completely aware of what is right and wrong, what you do is completely up to the individual themselves not the medium or tool they are using. Arguments for negative impacts like technology makes one isolated and less social, causes neck and head pain etc is not the fault of technology but how a certain individual uses technology is the issue here. Commenting on the role of technology historian Melvin Kranzberg said “Technology is neither good nor bad – nor is it neutral”, its how one uses it is the factor.