The Advancement of Technology

It was not until this semester in English 150 that I truly realized how far technology has come and what a difference it can make.  I have grown up my entire life with all of this “modern” technology, and I have always taken it for granted.  Never before this class have I stopped to think about how all of this technology reached the point it is at today, or how much of an impact it has had on todays society ranging from businesses to friendly communication.  It is has become a universal language that people from all over the world have become fluent in.  This became evident after reading Elizabeth Daley’s article, “Expanding the Concept of Literacy,” when she claims it is the today’s “current vernacular.”  Technology is a major part of our everyday lives, and it is often how we form opinions, communicate with others, and even explore new ideas.  This “current vernacular” is taking control of society just as the latest technology has always done.

It was almost unheard of to own a TV in your house less than a century ago.  It has now become one of the most common pieces of modern technology we have.  No longer is it surprising to hear that someone down the street has a color television, but rather it is shocking to find out when someone down the street doesn’t own a television.  This technology has become a part of our culture.  It is one of our societies most common methods for passing time or relaxing and relieving stress.

Cell phones are another major advancement in technology.  Today we can reach another person half way across the country, or even the world, in a matter of seconds.  No matter where someone is, people are virtually never off the grid and can always be reached.  No longer do people need to send a letter on a boat over seas to contact someone, hopefully within a few weeks, on another continent.  This has been crucial for the progression of everything from manufacturing to learning.  By taking away the waiting time to find out how to specifically do each task, progression never stops and much more can be accomplished.  Being able to contact anyone at anytime provides students and trainees the ability to ask someone how to accomplish something rather than simply “winging it”.  This can even provide safety if dealing with heavy machinery by not having to guess on what to do next if the supervisor is not around.  On top of all that, smart phones today are capable of much more than just phone calls.

One of the biggest advancements in technology that I have taken for granted is the creation of computers and the Internet.  Computers are by far the most versatile machine as far as learning, communicating, and all of the above.  Anything is possible with the Internet.  If something doesn’t make sense, you can look it up.  The information, although not always accurate, is endless, and if you can determine the facts from fiction it is the most useful learning tool.  When no one else is around or can answer your questions or curiosities, there is alway the Internet.  It is the ultimate data base, and according to Srinivasan’s article, it opens up doors for those not accustom to the technology yet.  It doesn’t even matter what kind of learner you are.  If you do not learn very well from reading, there are plenty of visuals and videos just one click away.  The Internet has made it possible to learn about anything that comes to your mind, something classes at school can’t always teach you.

Then, the Internet has revolutionized communication on all levels.  There are no more letters or waiting with email, text, instant messenger, video chats, Skype, etc…  It is fast and easy.  And again, less waiting time means better production and progression.  Even if you prefer to talk with people face to face, software such as Skype allows this to happen no matter how far away from the other person you are.  Computers are good for everything.  Microsoft office makes writing of all types simple and easy.  This is great for school work and even writing in general.  Everything can be saved because you never know what you will wish you still had in the future.  With computers, everything stays at your disposal if needed.  If someone has to crunch numbers for a living, programs such as Excel make it much easier.  It can do the math for people, and it keeps everything organized.  Additionally, in the case of Nicholson Baker, a newspaper enthusiast and writer, the advancement of technology has allowed him to pursue his dreams and save many historic pieces of writing.  He founded the American Newspaper Repository in 1999 in order to preserve many, nearly destroyed, papers and books for educational and interest purposes.  Although Baker most likely believes that the progression of technology is the sole reason these works are being destroyed, it is the very same technology that has allowed him to track down as many pieces of work as he has for his repository.  Technology continues to impress, and it allows so many people today to finally grasp their biggest dreams.  I have taken all of these technologies for granted my entire life, and I am now beginning to realize what an impact they have had on our society.

These technologies have changed the world of business.  Technology makes business efficient.  Managers and supervisors are able to multitask now because they can be reached at anytime if needed.  It has also made marketing into the business it is today.  It has made it so simple to advertise a new product.  There is only so much that can be taken away from linear words on paper.  However, with pictures and sounds to interact with, the advertiser can play towards the psychological side of communication and subconsciously bend your opinions.  This gives businesses, political parties, news stations, and any other organizations a colossal advantage over their competitors that are only reaching out to you with words.  It is no wonder that the modern technology has become the “current vernacular” because it is essential to use it in order to stay competitive in this free market society.    it is no wonder why companies will pay millions of dollars for a 30 second television commercial during the NFL Super Bowl game annually, considering that millions of people will be watching it.

On the down side, I believe the advancement of technology has also hindered the advancement of our society at the same time. Vannevar Bush touches on the works of the great philosophers Aristotle, Dante, Nietzsche, Kubrick, and even mentions Emerson, in his article “As We May Think.”  He opens talking about how we have gotten to where we are today because of great individuals and scientists that have made enlightening discoveries or have invented something new.  He takes sides with many of the great philosophers by saying that the accumulated breakthroughs by genius men has “enabled man to manipulate” and extract records of history  “so that knowledge evolves and endures throughout the life of a race rather than that of an individual.“  Man has had, and will always have, the will to advance and become more knowledgeable.  However, just as Nietzsche proposed the alternative path of the “last man,” choosing to maximize pleasure over progression.  Today we are more focused on our machinery than our knowledge.  Technology has made it too easy to be entertained, making people “lazy”.  When people do not have anything they need to get done, rather than doing something productive they choose to watch TV or play a game on their computer.  When I was younger, there was not much on TV that interested me, mostly because my family didn’t get cartoons.  Because of this, I started working around the neighborhood when I was Ten years old.  I have always been working since.  It feels good to be productive, but I definitely noticed I too am no exception after reflecting on this in class. I have wasted more and more time watching TV and procrastinating as I grow older.  I believe this has happened because I have taken this technology for granted rather than using it to benefit me, just as the proposed path of the “last man.”  Bush, as Kubrick did in A Space Odyssey, proposed a way back onto the path of maximizing the potentiality of the species mind through the use of technology.  He proposes that we will have this machine, called the “memex,” that will set us back on track by making trails and connections between records for easier retrieval.  With this machine Bush believes that not only can we manage to keep all of our own records, but we can also share them to help teach the species mind as a whole.  Technology provides all of the tools needed to be as productive as possible, but it is up to man to choose either the path of progression or pleasure.  This class has helped me learn how beneficial this modern technology can be if used for the proper reasons, and I will continue to learn how to maximize my experience with this technology.


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