The dark side of technology

Hasmik Djoulakian

(October 27, 2011)– No matter how hard the average nature-enthusiast may try, technology is unavoidable—it is practically everywhere and has to do with most things in our day-to-day lives. We have become so accustomed to the lifestyle it enables us to have that we eagerly overlook its many evils. The question is not whether technology itself is a good or bad thing, rather it is whether the way we are using it is good or bad. The movie Spiderman taught us that “with great power comes great responsibility,” and we seem to have lost sight of this principle. When the countless possibilities afforded by technology are used not to protect the environment and people’s heath, but to enable our laziness and further our entertainment, a cause for concern arises. Modern commercial technology has more or less stopped producing new products and is in a constant battle to improve the existing ones. This is a very dangerous battle, because there is no end to it. Most people welcome any changes that will make lives easier and tasks more convenient; few would be concerned about their growing dependability on those products. What would happen if, at the rate of technological advancement which we’re on, there were a major power outage in 100 years? What if there were a major earthquake? With no electricity, the thread with which we cling to our lives would be cut, and we would be at the mercy of our natural survival instincts. In 100 years, those instincts will probably be all but gone, and we would be in a very bad situation. The only instance where technology has virtually no downside is when it is used in conjunction with science to conduct research and promote environmental security. Most major discoveries in science would not have been made had it not been for technological advancements; only the most ignorant people would condemn technology for this. The key difference is that in these scientific pursuits, the goals of those using technology are not selfish, rather they are altruistic. They do not push the envelope farther than it should be, because it is easier to keep things in perspective when one’s actions are not aimed at entertaining the masses and earning them money. We have built a bubble around ourselves through which we look out at the world. Nothing seems insurmountable because, inside our bubble, we are all-powerful and the world is in our control. We forget that there is life without technology, that we are after all just another species on this planet, subject to its natural disasters, and also subject to its majesty. In our ignorance, we deprive ourselves of the beauty there is in the world, a beauty untouched by man and his creations. We turn a blind eye to both the disaster and the beauty, sure of our power, and forget what it really means to be human—to be vulnerable and courageous, to feel small and humongous; through our clutch on technology, we deprive ourselves of the human experience.