Everyday we hear about the astounding technological advances discovered year after year. Thirty years ago, who would have thought that we would soon be able to communicate with a person half way around the world through a computer? The possibilities of technology are endless and beyond belief, but are these possibilities always beneficial in society, or are they causing more harm then help? Authors Pete Hamill, Grant Fjermedal and Roger Rosenblat take a look at certain forms of technology and the beneficial and detrimental aspects that have and will come from its advances.
The family television is one of the oldest, most loved pastimes, and is thought to be one the greatest inventions. By the push of a button a person can leave their problematic life and live the perfect one of their favorite soap star, action hero or villain. In other words, with the push of a button a person is simply taken out of reality. Pete Hamill, the author of the article, “Crack and the Box,” dives further into the effects of the invention of the television and influence it has the generation raised with it. Hamill relates the drug epidemic of today with the increase of televisions believing they work on the same level. Like television, drugs take their user out of reality and into a different world. Hamill is a firm believer that televisions have had a dominant role in the great increase in current drug use. In 1955, when televisions were less than six times the number they are today, there were a mere 1,234 felony drug arrests; in 1988 that number rose to 43,901 (Hamill 374). That could coincidence of facts but according to Hamill our cherished television is to blame. TV is just one of the millions of pieces of technology. It is in no way as sophisticated as others, like the computer, yet it may be a prominent cause for one of the world’s largest problems, drug abuse. If something as old and simple as the television may have had such an impact, just imagine what harm will come from recent and even future forms of technology.
Roger Rosenblatt, author of “Who Killed Privacy,” states, “This is the age where everything is known, everything told” (Rosenblatt 378). This observation could not have been said any better. In our day and age everybody has to know everything about everyone. Privacy is no longer existent; technology has taken all forms of it away from us. An Atlanta mail-order house offers a product called Listenaider, which amplifies nearby sounds and is designed to look like a Walkman (Rosenblatt 379). Avid movie watchers are quite familiar with what a voice changer is. To disguise your voice all you would need is one of these. Speak into a small device and you are instantly transformed into a man, woman or, as in the movies, a killer. For those nosey people who have to know every conversation on every home phone, a scanner is now available. What happened to privacy?!? As Rosenblatt states privacy was “killed” by the all too popular technology. How can any of this be beneficial to society? It is sad that a person can’t have a phone conversation without worrying that somebody is listening in. It is frightening about what is out there and what can be done. It gets more and more complicated and sophisticated everyday. It is even more frightening about what the future holds.
Grant Fjermedal, author of the essay “Artificial Intelligence,” looks into the future with technology and what we have to look forward to. Fjermedal gives a very vivid description of what our lives will be like in the future:
“You are in the operating room. A robot brain surgeon is in attendance…. Your skull but not your brain is anesthetized. You are fully conscious. The surgeon opens your brain case and peers inside. Attention is directed to a clump of neurons…. The surgeon determines the three-dimensional structure and chemical makeup of the neural clump…. A program is written that models the behavior of the clump and starts running on the computer sitting next to you. That computer is your new brain” (535-534).
Fjermedal looks into the future as a place where humans will be immortal. The only change will be robotic bodies. A brain that is identical to a certain persons will be placed inside a robot and humans will live forever. Why must technology interfere so much with what we are today? We were placed on this earth to be born, make a difference and then pass on. What is wrong with that? This essay by Fjermedal shows what technology is bringing our way.
Every year scientists, engineers, computer specialist and others are paid to improve the technology of today and make it better. Does that mean that this technology will make our societies better? According to Hamill, Rosenblat and Fjermedal it will do just the opposite. The advances in technology are causing our societies to deteriorate. Increases in drug use, the absence of privacy and computers running our world are all we have to look forward to. What ever happened to the simple life? It does still exist but the rate technology is at today it soon will be nonexistent.