Because we, as a society, are embracing technology without fully understanding the long-term ramifications of this decision. We’re constantly seeking out short-term gains and improvements without really taking into consideration the whole picture for future generations. Computers are great, don’t get me wrong. They are wonderful tools that help many simplify their life, get more information, and in the end, hopefully make better, more informed decisions. These better informed decisions hopefully lead to better lives (for people) or better revenues and increased profits (for companies).
But computers are not always the right choice, even when they appear to provide a solution to an existing problem. As a tool, a computer is a useful aid. It has helped architects and engineers design and provide more reliable, interesting structures and buildings. It allows us to split atoms, and categorize human genomes. It can take guesswork out of business intelligence and product demand curves. It even allows us to exchange money in the form of bits and bytes instead of actual paper money changing hands.
But as a foundation for an important enconomic pillar in our country, I suspect we’re pushing the envelope of sane thinking.
There is no such thing as an unhackable computer system. There is no such thing as a 24/7/365 computer system (despite what some companies claim). And until there is, putting all of your eggs into a computerized future seems a bit short-sighted to me. Imagine a power outage. You know, the kind we had just a few years ago on our supposedly modern power grid.
The kind that isn’t supposed to happen. The kind that brought an entire coast of our country grinding to a halt. That’s fine, you say, those things are freak occurrences, and happen once in awhile.
Like the California blackouts of a few years ago. But as our thirst for power increases, and our infrastructure fails to keep pace with it (and it really is nowhere near to keeping pace with it — it is doubtful the U. S. has enough reserve electricity supplies without tapping into our neighbors from the north during peak usage periods). Now, instead of just going a few days without power, imagine an entire society devoid of electricity. Could it happen? For a few days, sure. But for a few weeks or even longer?? Who knows? The question in my mind isn’t if such a thing is possible, but simply when.
Now, fifty years ago, architects and engineers could keep on working, since they used their drafting boards and graph paper to create the structures that hold us up. The NYSE could go on running using good old-fashioned paper and pencil, just like they did then. Citizens could use cash instead of charge or debit cards to pay for goods and services. The point is, fifty years ago, I think society could easily survive and overcome a lapse in electricity even for a long period of time. It was inconvenient, but the basics of daily life (and the basics of our economy! didn’t depend on electricity being reliable and abundant. All of that has changed. I suspect some new architects wouldn’t know how to design a 50-story building on paper (without aid of a CAD program), or a doctor who had to diagnose a patient without the reliance on ordering 10 or 15 lab tests. Or a politician who couldn’t rely on instant polling techniques. Or citizens who had to resort to reading their news, instead of watching in on TV. Or an important stock exchange not being able to function because generators were never meant to be used full-time, indefinitely.
As a tool, I think computers are the cat’s meow. But as this something more they’ve become, this integrated component that so many people have become dependent upon, I am sometimes a little worried or concerned. We believe we live in a largely stable world, with virtually endless supplies of natural resources. And yet that belief isn’t grounded in reality — we live in a limited-resource world where, one day (perhaps in some of our’s future), some of those resources may very well run out or dwindle significantly.
So it’s a simple equation: limited future natural resources means limited supplies of electricity, the stuff that powers our modern world. PS – Yes, I know, I know, let’s pin our hopes on solar or nuclear, because they’ve shown so much promise to date! Naturally, a lot can change during my lifetime, but we’ve all been waiting for a breakthrough in energy production for decades and none has come. Nuclear was the last big one with commercial realization, and that was developed more than 50 years ago! •Mankind has had tools since the beginning of recorded history and that is all technology.
We are a creature that can solve problems by creating physical solutions and that is in part what makes us different than most animals, though not all. What is disconcerting is that we have so many dependencies on technology and large systems that we can not repair or re-create easily. •Yes, we are becoming too dependent on technology. Most of us can’t spell correctly. Why? Spell checking software. We have become lazy. Why? Transport facilities. Technology is not bad in itself, but we, the people of 21st century, are misusing it.
We have became sedentary and as a result diseases which were unknown 200 years ago have now became commonplace. •No, we are not as a species too dependent upon technology as it stands today. As we have created the tools which led to technology, we have also learned why it is they will and are necessary – our memories fail us, so we need a record to correct us or to learn from or rewrite; what is upon a computer is not written in stone, it may be changed. This is a fluid way of thinking that was unknown to previous generations; a ever changing “evolution of thought”.
It is above all a neutral tool to communicate with those of our own country in with others, we need this in a world with a population in ever increasing billions. •People will always be needed and wanted for face to face interaction, but where that is not possible; technology preserves those ties and allows us to reach out for further aide. Spelling and language are ever changing fields; it is not unknown for the people of one country to speak many languages and still be citizens born of that society – yet not have a common tongue among them. Accents, even the words and slang can and will change within less then a generation.
Technology is allowing us to “keep up” with those changes, understand them, and also creating new ones; also we know of disasters soon after they happen, if not as they happen; saving lives of people just like us; who while they might not have our culture or language, are none the less human. While there are new diseases, ask yourself if they are truly “new” or something that past generations struggled to survive against and communicate to rid ourselves and others of; and failed, because they did not have the technology we are developing now to understand how a disease works and how to rid ourselves. Definitely – another reason for it is that people are using it to say bad things so that they don’t have to say it to the person’s face, like cyber-bullying for example. •Yes mostly, but still there are those who have very minor traces of technology dependency.
Despite we can observe of the people in urban areas where technology is the “life blood” of very living entity, some corner of the country – the rural/remote areas, on the other hand, have no or very slight technology ran lives. They still live in a primitively where there are no computers, cellphones, etc. and where they work with bare hands and bare feet. Technology is now rising, making our lives lot more easy, but what about the “behind the world”? •Yes! The one day our school power went out we could barely do any work because our Smartboard went out with the power. I mean even right now we are on the computer looking for answers instead of figuring out ourselves. So what happens when we run out of coal and oil and all this stuff: no more technology! We will have to do without it. Some people will do perfectly well without it. Others will search until death to find another resource.
Sadly the people who search until death will have just wasted their whole life on something impossible. Possibly if someone does it won’t last long. It’s only one resource. If someone plans that I hearby advise against it! Now get off the computer and do something without technology! •First thing – is it electrical technology you’re on about, or technology in general? We use general technology 24/7. We use products of that technology 24/7. We also use electrical tech 24/7. We have become dependant on it, yes. It has made us dumb, lazy, it has changed us a lot.
But from a simple power cut, like with the thing above, that kind of thing should not happen. That is over-dependance even by modern standards, probably. We have integrated all kinds of technology into every second of lives. But it’s not bad. It’s just the way some use it that’s bad. Don’t know how to spell because of spell-checking? Too bad, mate, that’s your fault. Should learn to spell without it. I can spell without it. I can spell really well without it. Why can’t you? (Not to say YOU can’t spell… but who knows? ) The main problem from it, though, is probably laziness.
Why walk when you can hop in the car? Why play football, or rugby, or badminton outside when you can play Red Dead Redemption, or watch the Undead Nightmare story on Youtube? But I play outside. And get plenty of time to play PS3 and watch stuff on Youtube. And type stuff up on Wikianswers while I should be doing my maths (eek! ). Why set up that whole Geography paper from scratch when you can copy-paste from the net? I can. I get information from the net, but I do the paper myself. Why can’t you? It’s not the technology that’s bad, it’s the way it’s used.
God knows how many times I’ve said that now. •People nowadays are fat and lazy. Boys do not know to swing an axe or harness a team of horses. Girls cannot carry two buckets of water or wash clothes without a washer. Women do not know how to spin thread or weave cloth and they can not sew a fine seam without a sewing machine. People have forgotten how to cut wheat with a sickle and corn-picking has become a lost skill. Books were a lot prettier before they started printing them. Doctors can’t tell what is wrong with you without X-rays, CT scans or lab work.
If men with shovels were used to build roads instead of heavy equipment, there would be no shortage of jobs. •I would say, yes. I mean, people are always texting, on the computer, or watching TV to have real and personal conversations with people. Some people can’t even survive without their cell phones or their iPods/laptops, which is kind of sad if you ask me. However, technology has helped us understand life better, connect with people you haven’t talked to in years, find cures and vaccines for deadly diseases, and ultimately change the world.
It’s how you use technology… don’t overuse it and use it correctly. I think it is important that we have technology in our lives today or else there would be many more lives lost, and much information lost to us. As for the answer before mine… not all of us are in the country with horses and hay! •Not all people are this dependent. Most people are fooled by thinking they need the newest and the best. Do you really think that you need a phone that can turn your lights of 100 miles away? Of course you don’t! Do you need one that lets you watch videos of people falling? NO!
I would say 70% of the human race IS too dependent, but the 30% of us that isn’t is probably the smartest. I came across this Seymour Papert quote over the weekend, the best part of which is below. In context, Papert is speaking about effecting real change in the content of school mathematics, and he focuses particularly on the teaching of fractions: One theory [among educators about why we should teach fractions in school] was that manipulating fractions was actually closer to what people needed back before there were calculators. So a lot of school math was useful once upon a time, but we now have calculators and so we don’t need it.
But people say that surely we don’t want to be dependent on the calculator. To which I say, Look at this thing, these eyeglasses, that make a dramatic difference to my life and the life of everybody who reads or looks at any tiny detail. Once upon a time we would have been crippled, severely handicapped. Now we’ve got these and we don’t need to go through all that suffering. So we are dependent on this little thing. Well, so what? There is nothing wrong with being dependent on a little thing that everybody can have lots of. It doesn’t even cost much. So, that is no argument.
People float the “dependence on technology” counter-argument against the use of technology in the mathematics classroom pretty frequently. But as Papert notes, is it really all that bad if students became dependent on a technology that’s cheap and easy to come by? In fact, here in the US at least, aren’t most of us dependent on cheap and ubiquitous technologies — eyeglasses, running water, cars, kitchen appliances? (And some of those aren’t cheap! ) We don’t make students in culinary school learn how to cook over a campfire out of fear they’d become dependent on ovens.
Why should we shy away from calculators? That threat of becoming dependent upon technology to do mathematics is only a real concern, for me at least, under one of two conditions. One is if the technology we use is expensive or otherwise hard to access for some learners. This can be a real problem. But math teachers can combat it by seeking technologies that are cheap or free and easy to access — think cheap, functional, sturdy devices like the TI-30X instead of monstrosities like the TI NSpire. (That’s an order of magnitude difference in the price there, in case you missed it. Or, as much as I loveMATLAB, it’s pricey — and if accessing it is an issue for students, think instead about open-source alternatives like Octave. The other condition is when our definition of “mathematics” becomes so restricted that it includes only those tasks that can be easily farmed out to technology. When you remove all the human elements from mathematics — modeling, problem solving, pattern-finding, written expression, and so on — and reduce the subject to nothing more than rote mechanics, of course technology poses an existential threat to the discipline.
And deservedly so! Any discipline that can be replaced by software probably ought to be. Far more of an threat to students’ long-term success is the dependency they can develop upon people, especially teachers. If a student has trouble manipulating fractions without a calculator but can read a problem thoughtfully, model a quantitative situation intelligently, and complete and validate her work independently, I eel pretty good about that student’s chances in the future. But if a student can ace all the test questions about fractions but can’t do anything with a real-world problem without external prodding and validation from a teacher or other authority (“Is this right? “, “Am I on the right track? “, and so on), that’s when there’s real trouble, and it’s got nothing to do with technology. Who’s talking about that kind of dependency in school mathematics these days?
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