If we take our cue from Hollywood, there is no doubt that technology is bad. Whether there are machines traveling back through time to kill us, or whether the machines are simply enslaving us in a virtual reality to steal our body energy: we definitely need to keep a close eye on the machines.
Of course, technology isn’t all that bad. There are many profound benefits. The entire world is now connected by cheap travel and light-speed internet connections. A mountain of information is available at our fingertips through technologies like Google. However, there are a few bad aspects of technology which are worth mentioning.
With technology, we are able to do so many things at once. We can check our email while chatting on our cell phone and watching the latest news report on our television. Technology allows us to multi-task in a way we never have before. Some people have pride in their ability to multi-task. Unfortunately, in 2008 the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) reported that multitasking reduces our IQ more than smoking pot. If we are fully focused on a task and become distracted, it takes us on average 20 minutes to regain that focus. If you are multi-tasking throughout the day, it is likely you are working extremely hard while not actually being very productive.
2. Shallow Sociality
Social networking sites like Facebook are truly revolutionary. They allow you to keep in touch with hundreds of friends. However, most modern psychology studies have shown that a large part of our happiness is derived from meaningful relationships with about half a dozen people. The more time we spend posting status updates and managing our large network of acquaintances, the less time we spend cultivating relationships with the most important people in our lives. Many people are able to strike a nice balance here. Unfortunately, many aren’t.
3. Disconnection from Nature
Technology has built a false, cold world around us made out of concrete and metal. Our only experience with wild animals is when we go to the zoo and watch them lay lazily in cages. Humans aren’t really designed to work in an office building every day of their lives. Interacting with animals and nature teaches us about ourselves. Throughout history, humans have had to hunt and grow their own food. They had to pay respect to the animals that they killed and the sun and the rain that helped them grow their food. Now we simply drive to the grocery store to buy Twinkies and potato chips.
Technology may be bad, not because machines are going to take over the world and enslave us, but because we may be losing our humanity. We can leverage technology to our benefit if we are careful. If we aren’t, it can make us miserable and apathetic.