The era of globalization has come. Computers, cell phones and Internet have changed the perception of the majority of the world’s population. Things that seemed impossible several decades ago, now are common and generally accepted. The whole world is being more and more connected with different means of communications, the availability of information is increasing. There are a lot of sphere of human activity where labor has been replaced by automation.
The aim of this essay is to analyze the positive and negative impact of science and technology on social life and on the life of an individual.
Effects of technology
On one hand, progress is unambiguously a benefit for the society: it helps to save and optimize resources; it enables to eliminate hard work and pass it to mechanisms (Branscomb, 1976). Progress gives us the possibility to live in better conditions, to worry less about having shelter or finding food, and creates additional amount of spare time for all people. The abilities of humanity have expanded: the development of sciences from astronomy to microelectronics led to discovering new machines and materials. Progress in medicine enables people to live longer and to detect disease from the very beginning. Life has become safer and lots of new horizons have appeared. People may study new cultures, travel anywhere and take part in various projects up to their liking.
Looking at all the benefits of the technological progress, one could think that paradise on Earth is about to happen. However, technology and its applications have led to negative effects on the society as well.
While technology is solving material problems, it is disconnecting people and increasing the pace of life. Strangely, but with the invention of new mechanisms and devices people started to have less and less spare time, though the opposite effect was expected. However, technological development led to change of living standards and with the advance of the progress the rhythm of life is accelerating (Henderson, 1991). Pressure of big cities is becoming too intense for a human being.
Second negative effect of technologies is the fact that people are becoming more selfish and more lonely. The easiness of communication depreciated the meaning of personal contact. The easiness of finding a new friend or acquaintance resulted in reluctance of people to compromise and understand each other. Hardworking in order to reach the social standard now replaces family happiness and spending time with loved people. Everyone has received the possibility to create a personal world: from iPod with favorite music to computer games where one may become a hero without having to improve oneself in the reality.
The availability of “all-knowing”¯ machines resulted in the fact that many people are lazy to think and cannot even count without a calculator. In fact, if something happens and electricity, for example, will not be available any more, the majority of people will have problem surviving. The mankind has gone too far from nature, and this is not a very promising fact. Also, there are many examples when technologies were used to harm people. And this is the third negative effect of technological progress.
Also, communication technologies such as mass media and Internet are now being used for spreading the mass culture. Therefore, together with easiness of studying and finding information with the help of these means, the easiness of idle and poor-quality means of entertainment increased. The image of “ideal life”¯ created in people’s conscience by mass media is on of the reasons that makes people compete for material things rather than develop.
In my opinion, people should devote more time to studying human organism, mind and body, and developing its resources. Somehow, the progress has started from using the auxiliary devices rather than from liberating the powers of the human body. Technology and its results should be used wisely and their importance should not be overestimated. In fact, the machines should exist for aiding people, and not vise versa.