By definition, the word “technology” can be defined as techne logos, or as “the art and skill of reason.” It encompasses both the technique and the action which society uses for their gain. It is interesting to note that in most cases, art and reason seem to be at odds with each other. However, they come together in the above definition of technology.
In the liberal arts, critical thought and analysis are encouraged through the rigour of contemplating many angles and perspectives. From this, one can safely state that there are many solutions to the problems we presently face. Societal issues such as homelessness can be combated from an educational, economic, political, artistic, and even a technological viewpoint. For example, providing free educational resources along with the relevant technology and various economic incentives could be a step forward in eliminating homelessness. However, to execute this plan we need the logical reasoning that the sciences provide.
In the sciences, there are a few well-known strategies in how one comes up with a solution. Essentially, problems can be brought down to problem-solving principles like Occam’s razor or by fully understanding the questions involved in a problem. In our homelessness example, “free” educational resources come at a cost to someone or something. Will the benefits of the free resources outweigh the cost of providing them? And if so, is it actually possible to provide these resources at all?
From a societal standpoint, technology might best be used in a way to “uplift the whole people.” Advancements in technology, broadly speaking, has certainly improved the quality of life of the first-world societies. Running water and electricity has certainly made the most positive impact. However, it is important to recognize that advancements in technology have come with a cost. The process of purifying water and distributing it involves many destructive and constructive elements and electricity must come from somewhere or something.
Although it is pleasant to bask in the positives that come with progress, the counterbalance(s) must not be ignored. For example, with the advancement in technology came the advancement of weaponry. The atomic bomb was created and was first used in the second World War killing over 100,000 people. One has to question whether or not the creation of the atomic bomb was inevitable. Could there have been a way to avoid the creation of the bomb whilst still making technological progress? Certainly, this advancement does not seem to “uplift the whole people.”
Technology is a fascinating branch of knowledge and industry that is embedded in all aspects of society. The art and skill of reason and its manipulation is in the hands of the people now more than any time in history. Whether one is in education, politics, business, art, engineering, law, or any other field, technology plays a crucial, almost vital, role in how one accomplishes work.
So in understanding the above points, what do we as a society do? Do we focus on the positives and ignore the negatives? Do we attempt to balance progress with restorative practices? From my observations, the answer to this question is quite simple: whatever we choose to do.
My hope is that we view progress in a positive light. Progress not only means moving forward but also new beginnings and new ends. What we do with the advancements we have made us completely up to us on both an individual and societal level.
To reiterate, this post is a simple reflection on certain observations I have made about technology in this modern world. There are many facets I could discuss on this topic and will certainly discuss them in future posts. For now, however, I hope that this post sparks an honest, yet progressive discussion on how technology is to be used in this modern world.