Who can ever forget the iconic final scene of The Terminator where Sarah Connor pulls out of the gas station on cue to the theme, moments after the gas station attendant translates the Mexican boy’s casual remark.
The boy remarked, “There’s a storm coming in” and Sarah, by then already aware of the consequences of rampant technological advancement all over the globe, just has to agree. That kind of sums up how we all will end up if we let things go unchecked, especially in the age of digital and technological innovations.
Sure, we love it when our smart refrigerators alert our smart phones when it is time to pick up groceries, but do we ever pause to consider the long-term consequences of rapid technological development? With people becoming way more impersonal than before, and suffering from severe mental and physical illnesses due to the misuse of technology and a fast-paced lifestyle, we need to take a step back to think this over. Are we really ready to face our destruction in the hands of machines that we have put together for our benefits?
Surely not. So here is an overview of how advancements in technology have two sides to it. While it has blurred borders and has brought people closer through new-age communication tech, it has also created a rift between generations and sparked many ugly debates. Let us thus look at the far-reaching negative impacts as well as the positive effects of technology on the planet and humankind.
Shedding light on the downsides of technological advancement
From enabling the manufacturing ofstate-of-the-art weaponry to inventing biological weapons of mass destruction, technology has a host of dark undercurrents to it. Here are a few ways that technology adversely affects human life and the planet.
- Cyber crime and identity theft
Imagine waking up to a Face/Off or The Net situation one fine morning where your identity belongs to someone else entirely.It is like you never existed. Quite frightening, isn’t it?
Cybercrime and identity theft are two issues that have been making headlines consistently for the last few years. The Consumer Sentinel Network, part of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that around $16 billion got stolen through cybercrime last year. It also reports an alarming rise in the number of cases of reported identity theft. Tech advancements have enabled criminals of the digital age to get away scot-free in times like these. With modern tech tools and hacking into large databases, criminals can even sign up for tax benefits using someone else’s personal details including social security numbers.
- Warfare and weaponry
Biological and nuclear warfare looks like the future of war in the world that we live in today. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines bioterrorism or biological warfare techniques as the intentional release of germs, virus and bacteria in the atmosphere that results in the death of humans, plants or livestock.
Additionally, newer types of missiles and nuclear weaponry are making their way to the battlefields as well. The military continues to be one of the largest consumers of AI-powered tech-based weapons including test robots that are designed to kill. Technology has given way to fortifying the armaments in different parts of the world. The future of war thus looks quite bleak when you consider the use of nuclear and biological weapons that are potent enough to wipe out an entire region at one go.
- Increased mental and physical health issues
Technology has plenty of adverse effects on the physical and mental health as well. WHO reports startling numbers of people in countries such as the UK, USA, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Italy, Australia and Canada being affected by a host of health complications due to use of mobile phones. The report also found a causal link between the use of mobile phones and health issues like lymphoma, glaucoma, tumours, gland inflammation and cancer.
Mentally, concentration levels go for a toss with increased use of tech-enabled gadgets of the modern day. This leads them to poor grades in class. People are also becoming more stressed than ever with hypertension and anxiety attacks resulting from the use of tech-enabled new-age tools and gadgets.
- Over-reliance on tech tools
From helping us travel to work faster by calculating the shortest route based on traffic updates to reminding us to take scheduled meds on time, technology does a lot to make our lives a lot easier. However, you would find plenty of Australian assignment helpand academicians opining that the reliance on technology, especially when it comes to academics, is not a positive sign at all.
Poor cognitive abilities, frequent lapses in concentration, high blood pressure levels and hypertension are just some of the ill effects of becoming too reliant on technology. The simplest of things such as waking up in time for work or school have become dependent on technology with most of us hitting snooze on our smart phones and watches after a long night’s sleep.
- Negative impacts on the planet
Rapid industrialisation has plenty of adverse effects on nature and ecosystems. With large oil rigs polluting the ocean with oil pills and factories gushing out chemicals through sewage systems and the air in industrial areas, the health of our planet is critical indeed. The polar ice caps are melting, rainforest covers are depleting, and countless species have become extinct over the last two decades.
With technology galloping at a break-neck pace, the negative impacts on the planet are plenty in number. Radiation, as well as nuclear waste from nuclear research centres, are all involved in rampant contamination of the soil cover of the earth. Radiations and nuclear waste have long-term impacts on the health and well-being of flora and fauna of a region. If unchecked, the misuse of technology might be the reason that the planet ceases to exist altogether.
Things to be happy about advancement in technology
Helping us reach out to others in a matter of moments or aiding us in exploring the many corners of this galaxy, technology has helped us come a long way indeed. Here are thus the positive impacts of technology on humankind and the planet at large.
- An easier way of life
Technology has actually made our lives a lot easier, and despite plenty of ill effects, it presents an opportunity for living in a better way. Nowadays, it is quite a simple task to place an order at your favourite restaurant or reserve a table for five at the click of a finger.
If you need help comparing health insurance premiums offered by various insurance firms, you can do so using your smart phone. Hassles of having to call up your grandma for her banana cake recipe is all too passé now. You can simply log on to YouTube for a tutorial. In a fast-paced era of tech-based living, life is a lot smoother and enjoyable with technology forming the mainframe of human existence in the modern world.
- Advancements in healthcare and medicine
Breakthroughs in stem cell research and pathbreaking medical inventions such as in-vitro fertilisation as well as minimal invasion surgery are just some of the wonders that technological advancement has gifted us with. Medicine and healthcare have taken on a whole new level with new-age diagnosis and prognosis tech as well as a wide horizon of medical research.
State-of-the-art research facilities equipped with the latest research tech are thus hubs for developing cures for terminal diseases. They also show the way for advanced research in genetics and biochemistry that help in saving a lot more lives worldwide.
- Digital learning and education
As far as education and learning techniques are concerned, technology has helped gain many a brownie points over the last few decades. From smart classes to online tutorials, technology has really opened up the game for education. What was earlier accessible to only a few is now a reality for everyone all over the globe with a reliable Internet connection or Wi-Fi. You can now attend online tutorials for digital marketing lessons held in Canberra (Australia) while in Seville (Spain), all thanks to technology. If you are having doubts over a tricky topic, you can always seek assistance from assignment help online. Pupils with learning difficulties can now overcome the same AI-powered bots to help them with their tasks in class. Technological developments in the educational sector are thus one of the best things about the growth of tech in the current times.
- Faster and varied modes of communication
At the tap of a finger, you can now start a video call with your cousin who lives 1200 miles away in the hills, just because you felt like seeing her. From instant messaging to aiding faster transactions for money, communication has been one of the first things that got the Midas touch of technology. From business meetings to press conferences, award acceptance speeches to contacting astronauts in space, technology has taken over every aspect of communication nowadays. Providing faster and many varied forms of communication such as texts, instant messages, calls, video calls, emails, interactive videos, and reply options on Live videos or Stories on social media, to name a few.
- Fortified state infrastructure
State infrastructure patterns all over the globe have gone for a major upheaval following advancements in technology. Smart pavements or walkways can nowadays convert energy from footsteps to electricity, according to a CNN report. Smart intersections that help curb the number of accidents are also making way for the cities in the USA. State infrastructure can thus be entirely revamped using smart and digital methods of fast-tracking appeals, petitions,hearings.
- Positive impacts on the planet
The ill effects of technology on the planet are quite alarming indeed. However, it would be unfair to say that technology has only brought about adverse effects on the planet. It has contributed to improving its health as well. With non-renewable energy resources depleting by the day, technology has made it possible for us to harness renewable energy resources such as bio-waste and wind. Similarly, the Seabin Project helps clean up the oceans, ridding of garbage that has adverse effects on the marine ecosystem.
Instances like these where technology plays a fabulous role in helping flora and fauna of the planet that we live in are plenty. These are the examples to live by, where we can see how technology can be used to bring about all that is good for the earth.
Wrapping it up
From online cab-booking apps to video-calls on Skype, technology is an integral part of our lives right now. While we cannot deny the positive contributions of technology in bringing about a new dawn in terms of learning and research, business and communication, and healthcare sectors, it has its fair share of ill effects as well. From nuclear warfare to weapons of mass destruction, there’s a dark side to it that we should be wary of at the very outset.
Now is the time to consider what the underlying consequences of misusing technology can bring forth for humankind. From nuclear wars that wipe out half the population on earth to mass embezzlement of funds, technology has the potential to unleash hell on earth if its use goes unchecked. As the most intelligent of the species that inhabit our planet, the time has come to make a smart choice and determine the future of the earth. You can eithercreate a glorious future for the generations ahead or leave behind a world wheezing in the wake of mass destruction due to rampant technological advancements – the choice is yours.
Shirley Brown is a marketing manager for a notable corporate firm in Australia. She has pursued her MBA in marketing from the Federation University. She has conducted many webinars and campaigns for her company. She is also an academic advisor for MyAssignmenthelp and offers herMatlab homework help to students.