The Cambridge dictionary defines technology as “the study and knowledge of the practical, especially industrial, use of scientific discoveries”. This is one word which has today become the focal point of our existence as human beings.
Why do we need technology? Simply put technology is used to solve a problem. Let us take a very elementary example” of book writing. Many classic stories and novels written by celebrated authors of yore have been hand written on paper. Imagine the difficulty of the task when they need to make changes or corrections to their draft! The whole passage or even multiple pages would have to be rewritten and this is just a part of the problem. Writing continuously by hands is not only painful but also affects readability of the text if the author’s handwriting is not very legible. A progress in technology solved this latter part of the problem by giving us the typewriter. Typing is less painful than writing by hand (but still painful though!) and it solves the readability problem. As bad as the author’s handwriting may be, typewritten notes are definitely readable by all and sundry. Yet this still does not solve the “correcting/editing” part of the problem. You would need to retype the part which needs to be corrected and discard the previous text. Once again technology stepped in and gave us the word processor. Now the author can write and save his work on his computer as well as edit it as many times as he wants without fear of discarding the earlier pages. Additionally, he/she can now play around with the text and sort it the way he/she feels fit.
In most cases, whenever we hear the word “technology”, we immediately connect it to some branch of science. Computers, electrical, machinery, medical, communications and so on. Yet we sometimes miss out on the fact that technology is not necessarily only connected to pure science. Technology plays an important role in studies and equipment related to plants, animals, art, social sciences, health care, cinema and even writing articles and books!
The above example is by no means a complete scenario to explain technological evolution, but just an example to demonstrate how technology gets upgraded as problems are encountered. Man cannot fly so technology gave him/her an aircraft. He/she cannot swim through oceans, so there came the ships. He/she fell prey to lots of diseases so technology gave us the cure(s). The evolution of technology in fields of science, computers, medicine, agriculture and various other fields has been phenomenal. Man has gone to the moon and now intends to setup space colonies. Robotic surgery is being used fairly regularly nowadays. Computer science is venturing into areas which hitherto were unheard of. Codeless development is almost a reality today. The massive capability of today’s computers to do number crunching is mind boggling. NASA managed to land the Insight Lander perfectly on Mars. Can you imagine the amount of calculations involved to reach this kind of precision? Launching it from earth and accurately landing it on Mars by maintaining the correct trajectory throughout it’s journey of around 7 months. Moreover, on touchdown it generated solar electrical energy for itself and also started sending photos back to Earth! Can anything describe the power of technology more than this? The way science and technology has evolved over the centuries, to reach this stage, is an exciting study in itself. Yet, it must be kept in mind that the good always comes with the bad. The most important thing that we tend to forget is that technology is essentially a tool for us to better our lives. Man, in his endeavor to prove himself as a highly intelligent species, has made negative use of technology by creating weapons of mass destruction, developing synthetic and designer drugs, stealing private data of other people and destroying our natural habitat through unbridled real estate development. False information is spread across within minutes leading to huge bouts of civil unrest and damage of public property. These negative actions are having and will continue to have far reaching detrimental impact on all of us and I believe have the potential to reverse all the good that technology has done for us. Tools created by technology are used to cut down our forests. Computer science knowledge is used for harmful purposes such as creating viruses that destroy entire information systems and to steal data belonging to other people. The advent of social media has literally made us lose the personal connection that we once had with each other as human beings. When was the last time you received a physical birthday greeting card on your special day instead of a Facebook or WhatsApp message? How long has it been since the entire family sat together for lunch or dinner without once looking at their phones or TV? Watch out for my blog coming out soon on this topic!
The decision to use technology positively or negatively lies solely with us. The workman cannot blame his tools for his bad handiwork! As long as we use technology for the multifold benefits it provides, I believe it is going to be the key for human kinds evolution into a more evolved species – technically and spiritually. Let us use it for what it is meant to be – provide solutions to our never ending challenges!