There is little doubt that technology impacts our lives every single day. It is one of the defining characteristics of the human race. For better or worse, the devices we have constructed have allowed transformative change for how we live, as well as for the planet we live on.
Some technology is obviously good. We have extended life spans, reduced or eliminated diseases, and increased the available food supply.
However, there is a dark side to it, as well. Climate change, species extinction, and overpopulation are the consequences of some of these technological innovations.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘Is technology neutral?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Freedom or security?’
On a personal level, which inventions or innovations have made the biggest impact on your life? Perhaps a medical advance that saved your life? Eyeglasses that allow you to see clearly? Printing presses that allow for knowledge aggregation? Indoor plumbing to reduce disease and increase comfort? Airplanes that allow you to travel just about anywhere on the surface of the earth? The Internet for pulling together so many different areas of information? Or the smartphone that allows you to bring it with you wherever you go?
What technology most impacts your life? Which one has most negatively impacted your life?
Related questions: What skills have you lost due to technology? What role does technology play in your life? Will technology save us? What new technology do you want? Is technology neutral?
3 thoughts on “What Technology Most Impacts Your Life?”
I cut and paste a significant amount of information directly from the City of Minneapolis’ website to write this comment. Minneapolis is right across the Mississippi River, and both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota (where I live) draw their drinking water from the same source.
Because the Mississippi is a relatively dirty water source — algae growth and decaying organic material; sewage directly dumped into the river from nearly 100 rural communities; and chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides from agriculture and industry — chlorine and ammonia, which form chloramines, are added for disinfection. These give Minneapolis (and Saint Paul) drinking water an occasional “swimming pool taste.”
The Mississippi River naturally contains moderate levels of hard water minerals and iron. Ferric chloride is added to help reduce the brown/yellow color of the source water. A chemical softening process is also used to reduce water hardness from 14 grains down to 5-6 grains. Lastly, a poly/ortho phosphate is added to help reduce the corrosive effects of the disinfectants.
It’s a shame that our water is so dirty. What a shame we need to treat it so much. Considering the alternative, I accept the technology and technological process that provides clean water that comes from the faucets and spigots that provide my community with clean water.
I consider this to be the technology that most impacts my daily life.
I’m going to say the printing press. Not only did all of civilization change dramatically following its invention — eventually culminating in our current moment in time — but my house is stuffed to the brim with books. I love reading.
BTW, I listened to the podcast linked above for the first time in months. Not to be immodest, but it’s really pretty good.
It occurred to me that this question is related to the earlier one about preferring “Security or Liberty”. It is obviously a natural trait of human nature to apply science continuously and progressively to engineer greater and greater gadgets to benefit us in some way. I think you are asking whether that trait should be limited and to what extent. It seems that “mother nature’s” way of changing life practices is through evolution and natural selection. But that generally takes too long to save us from any negative effects of our technological advances. I believe that governments and public institutions were created for that purpose. Do they need to be used differently than they are being used now? Could it be possible to agree to use them more wisely? Do we want a or do we need a”Brave New World”?