(opinions) does technology hurt or help

A Virginia Tech student calls their mom on the phone, Sept. 24 2019

A Virginia Tech junior walks into the house and puts her bags down. She starts unpacking and quickly realizes she left her laptop charger at home. “Crap.” She quickly checks her laptop to see that it is at 5% battery; she has an assignment due at midnight. For the rest of the day, she goes to store after store, buying knock-off chargers that don’t work, until she finally caves and buys an actual Apple adapter and cord for a combined total of $110. She can’t afford to not turn in the assignment due that night. 

While technology has become an important part of our lives and indeed has its many pros, it comes with many cons as well. It can easily be said that during this pandemic technology has been a massive help. With the inability to see each other face to face, Zoom has entered the scene as a virtual lifesaver, allowing friends and family to connect, even if it's through a screen. Technology has allowed us contactless delivery, permitting businesses to stay afloat and helping those afflicted by COVID-19 a better chance at recovery. While these are all great things and are especially useful, we can’t forget to step away and live in reality. 

What would happen if technology stopped overall? If computers stopped running, or if phones stopped working, our world would be at a massive standstill. We’ve become so used to relying on digital technology, it would cripple us if we were no longer able to use it. Think about driving from one place to another, a place you’ve never been before. Typically, we would grab our phones, enter the location into Google Maps and be on our merry way, but what if we weren’t able to do that? What if your phone died or had no service? We would have to rely on paper maps and road signs, which very few of us are accustomed to. 

Digital technology has also allowed us to cut corners, sometimes in nefarious ways. Digital hacking, credit card fraud, identity theft — all of these things have become threats in our day-to-day lives. Our heavy dependence on digital technology compromises our privacy. 

There are also very few ways to escape the reach that technology has in our lives. Unless you go and turn off your phone, people can reach you anywhere at any time. 25 years ago, if you took off work for a vacation, there was no real way for your employer and coworkers to reach you; you truly got time off. Now, in America, no matter where you go, people can reach you. There is no longer any real escape. In France however, they now allow employees to truly disconnect. French employees are allowed to ignore emails received after hours.

In many ways, technology has become a huge help in our lives. We can travel to places we never could before; we can perform advanced surgeries that help save lives; we can connect to people halfway across the world. All of these things are great things, but I worry that we have allowed technology to become a massive crutch, and soon we will get to a point where we can no longer function without it.