As countries became more industrialized over time businesses replaced many of the functions performed by people with machines. This trend continued to grow not just in the business arena, but also in our personal lives. As a result, more and more consumers in America and the rest of the world rely on machines to handle even the simplest daily functions.
Inhibiting the Ability to Learn
The question is, though: does this really benefit humans in the long run? Even techies remain conflicted on this question. Inventors hope the mechanization of processes will free people allowing them to handle more intellectually challenging tasks. But the truth remains that many people do not use this added free time to maximize productivity.
Even in college, students no longer need to struggle with solving intellectual problems. Have a difficult algebraic problem? Type it into a website and get step by step answers to complete your homework. Many people use calculators to compute even simple additions and subtractions because it’s easier and some may no longer trust mathematical skills.
Instead of spending newly found time on intellectual challenges, many people spend free time lounging on the couch with Netflix or being sucked into celeb gossip on social media. Subsequently, these smart devices do not benefit humanity; not because they can’t, but, because we don’t let it.
Negatively Affecting Language
Language – arguably the most important factor distinguishing human beings from other primates – also suffers because of smart technology. Smartphones and laptops eliminate the need to remember simple grammar and spelling, because autocorrect makes the necessary changes at every possible chance.
The need to shorten thoughts to fit character limitations on social media platforms like Twitter also encourages the use of emoticons and colloquial abbreviations which make the internet generation less and less articulate. Add the prevalence of “listicles” online to the mix and things become even worse.
Because of these, the millennial generation struggles with simple tasks like correctly analyzing information and writing essays. Just writing the first sentence becomes a struggle. Rather than push students to work harder, many schools make the issue even worse by playing into the trend in hoping to keep students’ attention. Now, homework and tests become nothing but a few clicks on a computer screen.
So Close, Yet so Far Away
Technology brings people together, or so it once claimed. Today, even the biggest proponents of smart technology admit technology sometimes drives a wedge between people. Family life and relationships are not what they used to be. In the past, families sat down to dinner and communicated with each other about the activities of the day. Now, many families sit down for a meal with kids playing games on tablets, teenagers giggling away to comments on their Instagram page, and parents responding to work emails.
Even couples seem to prefer the entertainment of social media to each other. It is not an uncommon sight to find two people on a date glued to their phones, rather than to each other. The same goes for group outings.
Social media derives much of its success from sensational headlines, which ultimately divides people into groups based on race, political affiliations, and religious beliefs. This creates more disturbances in society with situations of “us” versus “them.” Democrats versus Republicans, police versus civilians, Whites versus... well, pretty much everyone else. This prevents people from communicating freely with each other and fosters unnecessary conflict. Moving Forward
While technology holds the key to a better standard of living, human beings must also remain conscious of how it affects daily living to enjoy the benefits as inventors intended.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert who keeps up with the latest tech trends.