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Essay/Term paper: The recent negative effect of technology on society

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Society Term Papers

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The Recent Negative Effect of Technology on Society

Roy Kantrowitz
Mr. Ingram
English 101/105

Ever since the Industrial revolution, technology has been changing at a
fast pace. People are always wanting a better lifestyle therefore there is
always something new arising so humans can cope with their physical environment.
One of the most important breakthroughs for technology was the agricultural
system. The agricultural system was the basis for the technology of the future.
The agricultural system brought on the need for transportation, workers and even,
battles over land. The need for transportation brought vehicles into the market.
The need for employees brought mechanical robots into society. Battles over
land brought on the need for sophisticated weapons. The agricultural system
brought on a revolution. The invention of the television can bring media and
other forms of entertainment into your house with video and audio combined.
Before 1950, newspapers and radio were the only ways to bring media or
entertainment into the house. Mass production and other job opportunities
brought many people from the suburbs and farms into the city. We can now have
forms of electricity directed into our houses for heating and light. Humans are
more reliant on technology then ever before. All of these technological
advances sound great, however, there is a negative effect to all this technology.
Technology can serve to actually harm humans rather then help them. Competition
between companies or even cities can sometimes make lives for humans even worse.
Take for example when a city builds better and more roads to attract tourists.
This actually creates more traffic, not less. Technology also changes our sense
of common purpose. New inventions such as the personal computer and machines
can change our lifestyles. Even things we take for granted such as the
automobile have negative effects on technology. The oil needed for a car to run
needs to be imported and sometimes accidents such as the Exxon Valdez incident
spills many gallons of oil into the ocean. All of these examples show how
technology has negative effects on society.
First, competition can lead to a negative effect of technology. When a
company in the U.S. produces shoes and a company in Great Britain produces shoes
as well, they must fight for their market share. Lets say the company in Great
Britain purchases more machines that will reduce the amount of workers needed
and improve output, then they can reduce the price of their product. If the
company in New York doesn't follow in their footsteps then they could be forced
out of business. In this case the company is forced into buying the machines
just so they can stay in business. This has a negative effect on the employees
who will be replaced by the new machines. When a city wants to attract tourists
by building better roads to lessen traffic there is a mistake because this will
only create more traffic since there will be more people wanting to travel these
roads. McManus says the inability to see the future is responsible for the
negative effects of new technologies. He also states better roads cause more
traffic congestion, not less. By creating better roads, more people will want
to travel these roads (A-1). If New York City built a new sophisticated
highway to attract more tourists then more New Yorkers will want to travel these
roads as well. Many New Yorkers who previously used mass transit to travel to
work will now want to use a car to travel to work. In effect there will be more
traffic and more pollution. There will be other side effects as well. Real
estate values of areas near the highway could go down. Competition can help a
community in one aspect however it can hurt it as well. Competition can
directly stimulate the economy, however, long term effects such as pollution and
the loss of jobs could explain why the City of New York doesn't complete a
project like this.
Second, technology can change our sense of common purpose. For millions
of years, mankind has been used to doing everything for themselves. For a long
time peoples' main concerns were survival. To survive means to go out into the
woods or forests and shoot animals for the food which the family needs to eat
for the day. People of modern society never think about hunting for food or
clothes. Now, it is all brought to people instantly through a new standard of
survival. The new standard for survival means making money to go to a mall or
supermarket and getting everything a family needs. A family can get food and
clothing at these places without ever having to go into a forest or a lake.
This thought is ever so frightening. When a person from modern society goes
into a supermarket and buys a pound of fish, he or she doesn't even think of the
process that went into the arrival of that piece of fish. He or she didn't need
to go to a lake, all that was needed was to drive to your local supermarket and
buy it. No fishing or hunting was necessary. Humans are losing their sense of
common purpose. "But what 'revenge effect' will this have? The technology-
resistance movement begins by pointing out that we are cobbling together virtual
communities while our real cities crumble, at least partly because our sense of
common purpose has frayed. Today, only about 5 percent of American households
are on-line, but what happens, the critics wonder, when half the country is
wired? Will we escape the unpleasant complications of the world outside our
locked doors by opting for communities in 'cyberspace,' where we can enjoy the
company of people who share our interests and our views? Where the streets never
need to be cleaned and you don't have to keep an eye on your neighbor's house?
What happens if the sirens outside become too distracting? Will we simply buy
insulated drapes? (Reed 46)." Humans are getting lazy. Almost everything must
be done for them in advance. However, sometimes this change in lifestyle is
forced upon humans. When a company decides to buy robots to do the job that man
once did, then the human is forced into either getting fired or watching the
machine all day long. Hopefully humans will not get used to watching a robot do
all the work for them. Technology has definitely changed the lifestyle and
common purpose of many humans.
Finally, tecnology we take for granted such as the automobile can have a
negative "domino chain effect" on society. The automobile must have been one of
the greatest inventions in the last 100 years. It has helped the United States
to grow in ways never imaginable before. It allowed people to move out of
highly congested cities and move into more peaceful neighborhoods. Yet it also
let people feel as if they were still a short drive away from the city. However,
the negative effects of the automobile were not thought of in those days. Now
it is clear of what negative effects the automobile has on society.

In recent years, though, we have begun to realize just how much these ways of
making life easier are costing us--or future generations. Think about everything
that's involved in the act of driving a car. First, the metal in the body of the
car has to be mined. The plastic on the dashboard and other places probably came
from petroleum. (Plastics can also be made from coal or natural gas.) Petroleum
also becomes the gasoline that powers the car. Extracting the petroleum involves
wells and refineries all over the world. Tankers carry the oil across the seas.
Sometimes, as in the case of the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska's Prince
William Sound, they spill it. Spills can kill birds, fish, and marine mammals by
the thousand. But major tanker spills account for only 12 percent or so of the
oil that enters the sea in a typical year. The rest--less dramatic but more
destructive--comes from routine operations such as loading and unloading of
tankers. Cleaning up after spills and urban pollution is a daunting task, but it
can be done. (Herring 19)

Automobiles are a good example of how technology can backfire on this world.
Automobile exhausts are polluting the atmosphere so much that the next big
technological advancement should be to find a way to heal the environment.
However, healing the environment sounds like a great plan except the demand for
the use of automobiles, planes and trains keep rising. As the demand rises,
there will be a need to find enough oil and petroleum to run these modes of
transportation. Soon, there will not be enough of these resources left and
there will be severe counter-effects on society if all of these modes of
transportation are taken away. Humans take for granted these modes of
transportation. Humans often live miles away from their place of business. No
transportation means there is no way to get to work unless you switch to a job
within walking range of your house. No transportation means no money and
eventually no food. The reliance on technologies we take for granted is also a
negative effect of tecnology.
In conclusion, society has recently seen the negative effects of
society. Competition between cities and companies has taken away jobs and
brought unwanted and costly projects into pleasurable areas. A change in
lifestyle among almost every human being is yet another negative effect of
technology. What has happened to people since supermarkets came to town?
People do not want to hunt for food anymore. They find it much easier to walk
into a store and purchase it. A third reason why technology has a negative
effect on society is the advent of highly reliant possessions such as the
automobile. Many people count on traveling to work everyday by car. If the car
was somehow taken away from people then there would be chaos. It is much too
late to take it away. Humans are much too reliant on it. There is not enough
mass transit to transport all of the present car users. Hopefully, future
technologies will be fully considered. We must look at the advantages and
consequences and measure if society will benefit or suffer from the technology.
Past technologies weren't fully considered and if they were, there is a chance
that the automobile never would have went into production.


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