The advancement of technology has changed every aspect of our lives. It has changed the way we live, learn, and so much more. Today, code runs our lives. So much of it happens in the background without us knowing its happening. Wearables are now everywhere, and there is even talk of integrating technology directly into the human brain.
We live in an age of science fiction come alive. Anyone with a thought and an opinion can experience instant virality and fame. Specialized artificial intelligence (AI) is now able to automate decision-making that used to be made by humans in the past. Robots are now more complex and able to do the jobs done in factories. Our lives have become easier and more hectic all at once.
What is Technology?
Technology, broadly defined, is any application engineered to solve a problem within society. As the famous phrase goes, "necessity is the mother of invention". All technology was created to meet the demands of society and culture.
Once a technology is developed, it begins to alter the behavior of the people it helps, which creates: potential new problems, different economic structures, or new ways of life. Technology layers upon other technology, which lead to more technological innovation.
Technologies like the computer led to the invention of the Internet, which led to the innovation of Blockchains, quantum computers, and AI. Technology fixes problems while creating new and unexpected problems. This invites new technology to come in and solve those problems.
How Technology Has Changed Our Lives
Technology has fixed problems and creates new problems. Technology has enabled travel throughout the globe, instant messages to be sent with little latency, and work to be done with less effort. Virtually every facet of human life has changed because of technology.
1. Instant Communication
We are able to communicate faster than ever before. Technologies like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube has created overnight sensations and carried messages further and more virally than ever before. Today, you don't need to be a TV or movie star to be famous. You can grow your own audience on YouTube and monetize your channel with little effort.
These new forms of technology have enabled the average person to have a global voice. However, it comes with the downside of anyone being able to say anything and not being held accountable for anything. This has led to the rise of conspiracy theories and fake news.
As the voices continue to grow louder, it's harder than ever to discern between fact and fiction. The cost of instant and viral communication has made it possible for anyone to have a platform. This now creates a need for an impartial third-party technology that helps fact-check different platforms.
2. Convenient Lifestyle
Our lifestyles have become progressively easier and easier. It is so easy that you never have to step out of the house to live life. You can have your groceries delivered by Instacart, learn advanced calculus on YouTube, and order food for your pet on Chewy.
The problem with the sedentary lifestyle is that it is easier than ever to stay healthy. It is so easy to be lazy and connected to your phone all day. It's hard to get motivated to workout.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend to the extremes with the shelter-in-home order. By simply being connected to the Internet, we can get all our needs met with the tap of our index finger.
3. Better Education
Education has become so easy and accessible. You can learn how to code just by using Pluralsight or learn a myriad of technical skills through Udacity courses. In fact, online education has gotten so good that anyone can become an expert on almost anything through self-education.
This has led us to examine the model of how we've constructed our K-12 and even higher education. Now it's become a legitimate question: Is it really worth spending tens of thousands of dollars to go to college if you can learn everything on your own time at a fraction of the cost?
The advance of educational technology has led to people questioning the efficacy of traditional educational institutions. At the same time, there is almost too much educational content that it's hard to know which is the best one to learn from.
4. Higher Levels of Productivity
Steve Jobs famously referred to a computer as a "bicycle for the mind". It has lived up and exceeded this promise. The computer, along with the network of technologies we are connected to today, has allowed us to be more productive than ever before.
Today, you are able to hold a business conference with people across the globe (that you may never meet in person). You are able to deploy servers that you never have to manage yourself, and you can automate boring job processes to run without you lifting a finger.
Today, if you work in a software company, you can work anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer. This has upended the traditional concept of what work is and created a new environment for creators to thrive.
5. Improved Transporation
Technologies like cars, boats, planes, and trains have made it feasible to travel to faraway places in less time. Along with that, Uber and Grab have made it inexpensive to travel very effectively without owning your own car. Being able to travel quickly has kept us and accessible to each other.
The downside of this improved transportation has led to increased pollution in the world. With the dependency on fossil fuel, the world continues to burn massive quantities of cheap energy which results in huge wastes.
Technology has forever changed our lives. As technology solves problems, it also creates new problems. As people, we need to remember that technology is not our savior and it'll never fix all of our problems. At the end of the day, human love and compassion will overcome the greatest barriers and problems we face today. Let's start putting people first when we look at problems. Let’s find a human-centric way to make the world a better place to live.