Ever since the Industrial revolution, technology has been changing at a fast pace. People are always wanting a better lifestyle therefore there is always something new arising so humans can cope with their physical environment. One of the most important breakthroughs for technology was the agricultural system. The agricultural system was the basis for the technology of the future.
The agricultural system brought on the need for transportation, workers and even, battles over land. The need for transportation brought vehicles into the market. The need for employees brought mechanical robots into society. Battles over land brought on the need for sophisticated weapons. The agricultural system brought on a revolution.
The invention of the television can bring media and other forms of entertainment into your house with video and audio combined. Before 1950, newspapers and radio were the only ways to bring media or entertainment into the house. Mass production and other job opportunities brought many people from the suburbs and farms into the city. We can now have forms of electricity directed into our houses for heating and light. Humans are more reliant on technology then ever before.
All of these technological advances sound great, however, there is a negative effect to all this technology. Technology can serve to actually harm humans rather then help them. Competition between companies or even cities can sometimes make lives for humans even worse. Take for example when a city builds better and more roads to attract tourists.
This actually creates more traffic, not less. Technology also changes our sense of common purpose. New inventions such as the personal computer and machines can change our lifestyles. Even things we take for granted such as the automobile have negative effects on technology. The oil needed for a car to run needs to be imported and sometimes accidents such as the Exxon Valdez incident spills many gallons of oil into the ocean. All of these examples show how technology has negative effects on society.
First, competition can lead to a negative effect of technology. When a company in the U.S. produces shoes and a company in Great Britain produces shoes as well, they must fight for their market share. Lets say the company in Great Britain purchases more machines that will reduce the amount of workers needed and improve output, then they can reduce the price of their product. If the company in New York doesn’t follow in their footsteps then they could be forced out of business. In this case the company is forced into buying the machines just so they can stay in business.
This has a negative effect on the employees who will be replaced by the new machines. When a city wants to attract tourists by building better roads to lessen traffic there is a mistake because this will only create more traffic since there will be more people wanting to travel these roads. McManus says the inability to see the future is responsible for the negative effects of new technologies. He also states better roads cause more traffic congestion, not less. By creating better roads, more people will want to travel these roads (A-1).
If New York City built a new sophisticated highway to attract more tourists then more New Yorkers will want to travel these roads as well. Many New Yorkers who previously used mass transit to travel to work will now want to use a car to travel to work. In effect there will be more traffic and more pollution. There will be other side effects as well. Real estate values of areas near the highway could go down. Competition can help a community in one aspect however it can hurt it as well. Competition can directly stimulate the economy, however, long term effects such as pollution and the loss of jobs could explain why the City of New York doesn’t complete a project like this.
Second, technology can change our sense of common purpose. For millions of years, mankind has been used to doing everything for themselves. For a long time peoples’ main concerns were survival. To survive means to go out into the woods or forests and shoot animals for the food which the family needs to eat for the day. People of modern society never think about hunting for food or clothes. Now, it is all brought to people instantly through a new standard of survival. The new standard for survival means making money to go to a mall or supermarket and getting everything a family needs. A family can get food and clothing at these places without ever having to go into a forest or a lake.
This thought is ever so frightening. When a person from modern society goes into a supermarket and buys a pound of fish, he or she doesn’t even think of the process that went into the arrival of that piece of fish. He or she didn’t need to go to a lake, all that was needed was to drive to your local supermarket and buy it. No fishing or hunting was necessary. Humans are losing their sense of common purpose.
“But what ‘revenge effect’ will this have? The technology- resistance movement begins by pointing out that we are cobbling together virtual communities while our real cities crumble, at least partly because our sense of common purpose has frayed. Today, only about 5 percent of American households are on-line, but what happens, the critics wonder, when half the country is wired?
Will we escape the unpleasant complications of the world outside our locked doors by opting for communities in ‘cyberspace,’ where we can enjoy the company of people who share our interests and our views? Where the streets never need to be cleaned and you don’t have to keep an eye on your neighbor’s house? What happens if the sirens outside become too distracting? Will we simply buy insulated drapes? (Reed 46).”
Humans are getting lazy. Almost everything must be done for them in advance. However, sometimes this change in lifestyle is forced upon humans. When a company decides to buy robots to do the job that man once did, then the human is forced into either getting fired or watching the machine all day long. Hopefully humans will not get used to watching a robot do all the work for them. Technology has definitely changed the lifestyle and common purpose of many humans.
Finally, tecnology we take for granted such as the automobile can have a negative “domino chain effect” on society. The automobile must have been one of the greatest inventions in the last 100 years. It has helped the United States to grow in ways never imaginable before. It allowed people to move out of highly congested cities and move into more peaceful neighborhoods. Yet it also let people feel as if they were still a short drive away from the city. However, the negative effects of the automobile were not thought of in those days. Now it is clear of what negative effects the automobile has on society.
In recent years, though, we have begun to realize just how much these ways of making life easier are costing us–or future generations. Think about everything that’s involved in the act of driving a car. First, the metal in the body of the car has to be mined. The plastic on the dashboard and other places probably came from petroleum. (Plastics can also be made from coal or natural gas.) Petroleum also becomes the gasoline that powers the car. Extracting the petroleum involves wells and refineries all over the world.
Tankers carry the oil across the seas. Sometimes, as in the case of the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, they spill it. Spills can kill birds, fish, and marine mammals by the thousand. But major tanker spills account for only 12 percent or so of the oil that enters the sea in a typical year. The rest–less dramatic but more destructive–comes from routine operations such as loading and unloading of tankers. Cleaning up after spills and urban pollution is a daunting task, but it can be done. (Herring 19)
Automobiles are a good example of how technology can backfire on this world. Automobile exhausts are polluting the atmosphere so much that the next big technological advancement should be to find a way to heal the environment. However, healing the environment sounds like a great plan except the demand for the use of automobiles, planes and trains keep rising. As the demand rises, there will be a need to find enough oil and petroleum to run these modes of transportation. Soon, there will not be enough of these resources left and there will be severe counter-effects on society if all of these modes of transportation are taken away.
Humans take for granted these modes of transportation. Humans often live miles away from their place of business. No transportation means there is no way to get to work unless you switch to a job within walking range of your house. No transportation means no money and eventually no food. The reliance on technologies we take for granted is also a negative effect of tecnology.
In conclusion, society has recently seen the negative effects of society. Competition between cities and companies has taken away jobs and brought unwanted and costly projects into pleasurable areas. A change in lifestyle among almost every human being is yet another negative effect of technology. What has happened to people since supermarkets came to town? People do not want to hunt for food anymore. They find it much easier to walk into a store and purchase it. A third reason why technology has a negative effect on society is the advent of highly reliant possessions such as the automobile.
Many people count on traveling to work everyday by car. If the car was somehow taken away from people then there would be chaos. It is much too late to take it away. Humans are much too reliant on it. There is not enough mass transit to transport all of the present car users. Hopefully, future technologies will be fully considered. We must look at the advantages and consequences and measure if society will benefit or suffer from the technology. Past technologies weren’t fully considered and if they were, there is a chance that the automobile never would have went into production.