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Plants and AnimalsTechnology’s Costs and Advantages

Technology’s Costs and Advantages

Technology’s Costs and Advantages

The world we live in would seem to be a fantasy to my grandparents and their parents: jet travel, climate control, the web, FaceTime, Zoom, streaming video, search engines like google and yahoo, and electric vehicles, just to say a couple of of the apparent life-altering technologies. The comforts we take with no consideration weren’t even imagined a century ago by most individuals. The best way we live within the developed world of the twenty first century would seem to be a dream. My grandfather, Ben Cohen, was born in Russia, and when he immigrated to America, he became a baker. To him, work was literally about bread and money. He brought each home to his family, and that was the aim of working as a baker. Creativity, innovation, learning, communication, institution-building, and self-actualization—the weather of my work life that motivate me—weren’t a part of his world. He worked to support his family and located spiritual achievement in family life, friendships, and synagogue. The character of labor, the aim of labor, and the balance between work and the remaining of life have been transformed over the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty first centuries by a gentle stream of latest technologies. Lots of these technologies have brought incredible advantages, but all have brought with them substantial costs. The central issue of our time is knowing and mitigating those costs when we will, and adapting to them after we cannot.

Technology has transformed economic life; a growing number of individuals work within the service economy and will not be involved in manufacturing food, clothing, or shelter—the activities that when dominated economic life. We have now transitioned from manual labor to a brain-based economy. Some staff within the service economy hold jobs that involve interaction with customers and clients corresponding to health care professionals, educators, and folks who serve and deliver food, but a growing number perform support, creative, analytic, or managerial functions that could be successfully undertaken at home or simply about anywhere. That was a key lesson of the COVID pandemic. The web, the cloud, and cellular phone technology, together with low-cost information and computing technology, have made it possible for work to be separated from the workplace. That brings the advantages of flexibility when a employee is answerable for caring for members of the family. It brings the advantages of lower commuting costs and times. However it brings costs in organizational management and in separating work life from home life. Once you make money working from home, you never leave work and work never leaves you.

Technologies also cause harm as a consequence of their misuse or due to their tendency to show people to risk. For instance, for a few years, automobile accidents were the leading explanation for childhood deaths in the US. Recently auto-related deaths were replaced by gun-related deaths because the leading explanation for childhood death. As Dustin Jones reported last April on NPR’s website:

“For many years, auto accidents have been the leading explanation for death amongst children, but in 2020 guns were the No. 1 cause, researchers say.  Overall firearm-related deaths increased 13.5% between 2019 and 2020, but such fatalities for those 1 to 19 years old jumped nearly 30%, in accordance with a research letter in Latest England Journal of Medicine.  Researchers analyzed data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that there have been a record 45,222 firearm-related deaths within the U.S. in 2020. Patrick Carter, considered one of the authors of the research letter and co-director of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention, said about 10% of those deaths — 4,357 in total — were children… motorized vehicle crashes were the leading explanation for child deaths for greater than 60 years. But over time, cars have change into safer and driver education has improved.”

Transportation technologies provide the advantages of greater mobility, enabling enhanced social interactions and exposure to places and experiences, but bring with it risk as well. Gun technologies provide the perception and possibly the fact of greater safety from danger but can lead to accidents that harm people. I’m not using these examples to attack auto use or gun use but to easily acknowledge the prices that technologies bring. The car example is helpful because we’ve got spent the 57 years since Ralph Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed in 1965 working with considerable success to make motorized vehicle travel less dangerous. Seat belts, airbags, reinforced passenger cabins, and other technologies have been deployed to mitigate and adapt to the chance of auto technologies. Driver safety training and education have also advanced. Roads have been designed to cut back accidents. Nader and others fought the auto firms for years, but ultimately, these firms learned that auto safety was good for business and the reduction of risk was a feature of cars that attracted customers. In brief, coping with the prices of technologies could create recent products and recent opportunities. Perhaps the problem of gun safety, which appears to be replacing the problem of gun control, can lead to services and products which may reduce gun accidents and even reduce the variety of mass murders that utilize automatic weapons.

Latest technologies bring advantages to social, cultural, and economic life, but in addition they bring costs. These costs have to be taken seriously and understood. COVID-19 impacted the world as a byproduct of air travel and the presence of a world economy. It has caused great pain and harm but in addition has resulted in recent vaccine, testing, and treatment technologies. It has also resulted within the rediscovery of some basic public health practices corresponding to testing, tracing, isolation, and masking. The strategy of learning about this virus and addressing its impact became an ideological political issue. Science and scientists got here under attack; the identical phenomenon we’ve seen with tobacco and climate change. We’re blissful to enjoy the advantages of latest technologies but attack the scientists attempting to grasp and address the prices.

Latest technologies can each protect and harm the planet’s ecosystems and resources. Power plants can pollute the air, but stack scrubbers can reduce that pollution. Catalytic converters reduce air pollution from internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles don’t need catalytic converters, and solar cells don’t need stack scrubbers; the evolution of technology introduces different advantages and costs. Current renewable energy and battery technologies lead to toxic wastes. Perhaps the following generation of those technologies will reduce those environmental costs. Typically, probably the most effective way of coping with the prices of technology is to develop recent technology to deal with those costs. The spread of COVID on ships and jets is a byproduct of the technologies that built the worldwide economy; vaccines and treatment processes have been developed to deal with this unintended consequence of globalization. We’re on a technological merry-go-round, and it’s unrealistic to think we’re ever getting off. Our lifestyle will depend on these technologies, and it is just too late to simplify our life and get back to the land. There are too many individuals and too little land for that to work.

The answer is to be more sophisticated concerning the use of technology and the necessity to deal with the prices brought by technology’s advantages. As we construct this technological world, we’d like to pay attention many of the public in cities to depart the wild and unspoiled places for posterity and people economic functions that may operate in rural areas without destroying them. Encourage the “John Duttons” of the world and their families to proceed to ranch on “Yellowstone.” Every bit of personal property doesn’t have to change into developed for its highest economic return. Preserve the national parks for our grandchildren. Construct sustainable cities with parks and outdoor spaces for the day by day lives of most individuals. And get ideology out of the strategy of ensuring that our technologies are placed under control and our planet is environmentally sustainable.


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