The Impact of Technology on Society

Anonymous TechnologyI love technology. I love my computer, broadband connection, mp3 player, Bose speakers, HDTV, HD camcorder, and all other tech gadgets that are available in the numerous electronics store circulars that overflow my mailbox. Technology helps me communicate, get more done in less time and re-experience life with the push of a button.

Advances in medical treatments, entertainment, communication, and even warfare are reported daily as we develop better, faster, more impressive technologies to replace the old. We continually push to achieve the next breakthrough in hopes of satisfying our ravenous, tech hungry society.

What we don’t see, or choose to ignore, is the hidden truth that lies under the shiny silicon surface.

Under the microscope, technology’s impact on society isn’t as positive as you might think. I believe that technology doesn’t improve our lives, but instead will negatively effect our social interactions, minds, and overall advancement as a society.

Bringing Us Together… by Pushing Us Apart

The summer before my sixth grade year of school, my parents moved back to my home state of Pennsylvania. My stepfather, whose company had promoted him to a management position in Georgia 3 years before, promoted him again.

Though I was moving back home where my biological father lived, along with the rest of my family, it was still hard leaving my friends behind. Especially my 2 best friends; Adam Rotter and Chad Ownby (let’s hope they do vanity searches on Google). This was a time before the Internet, email, and Vonage. Long distance was expensive, so keeping in touch by phone wasn’t an option, which left only one solution; snail mail.

We exchanged information, promised to write, and I left. We never wrote and now anyone I knew from my time there is just a memory. Had today’s technology been there then, our fate might have been different.

It is stories like these that blind us and make us think technology is a good thing. They make us believe that it can keep us together and allow relationships to exist regardless of distance. Don’t be fooled.

If a relationship is worth having, you will find a way for it to happen. If I truly wanted to know how my friends in Georgia were doing, I would have wrote, I would have found a way to call, and I would have even looked for ways to visit.

Technology has allowed us to be more casual in our interactions. No longer do you have to meet someone in person to have a conversation. You don’t need to look or even talk to them. You just have to type a few letters on your keyboard or cell phone and press “Send”.

What’s the problem?

We, like many mammals, are social creatures. Though some are loners, we all need an amount of physical contact and the presence of others like us to satisfy our needs. Technology has provided a medium for us to separate and sterilize ourselves from each other. It cheapens our interactions and effectively increases their quantity, but severely lessens their quality.

Ultimately, this slowly disconnects us from each other, turning humans into screenames where soon we’ll be a society of isolated individuals with a synthetic connection to everyone in the world.

Removing Us from Sanity

During my sophomore year of high school, I was assigned a research paper in biology class. The teacher, Mrs. Barnett, handed out a list of topics for us to choose from and I selected, “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Zoos.” The goal was to research our topic and formulate an argument for, or against it.

During my research, I found a number of stories about zoo animals being mistreated. How these majestic animals, once free, were captured, separated from their families, and forced into substandard living conditions to satisfy our curiosity for exotic life.

Though appalling, this wasn’t my most interesting discovery. It came from a story about a polar bear in New York’s Central Park named “Gus” (and no, he is not indigenous to the area).

Gus, the neurotic polar bearEveryday, Gus would jump into the water on one side of his habitat and swim to the opposite side. Once there, he’d return to the water and swim back to where he started.

He would do this for hours.

What made this so unusual is Gus didn’t exhibit this behavior until being at the New York facility for months. He, like many zoo animals, developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These disorders commonly arise in zoo animals because they are removed from their natural environment, where they spend most of the day hunting for food, and placed into one where they are given food.

Their entire day is replaced by a couple 15-minute feeding sessions. What are they to do with all this free time?

Now consider the human animal.

With technology helping to make life easier, we are replacing our natural behaviors with artificial substitutions. We, like Gus, no longer need to be concerned about gathering our own food. With the invention of fast food and other restaurants, we don’t even need to prepare it. Water is provided directly to our homes, we have cars to take us wherever we want quickly, and we can shop at the mall or online to find what we want in minutes.

We’ve become more concerned with streamlining our lives and need to find replacements for activities that used to consume our time. Now we make time to play video games, watch television, or find ways to make more money. With this lack of mental stimulation, our population is becoming increasely dependent on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Bullied into a belief that faster is better and that if you can’t keep up, you’re left behind, has lead many of us down the same road Gus traveled.

Even with the aid of technology, you can only bend yourself so far, before you break.

Inhibiting Advancement

Charles Darwin, famous for his theory of natural selection, believed that over the course of time creatures with traits better suited for survival, would have a stronger chance of living longer and reproducing. This, in turn, produced more creatures with these same traits.

He further added that as mutations occurred naturally, due to environmental influences, new traits would develop. If these traits were useful, the resulting mutation would remain and be passed on to future generations. If it was not, the mutation would be naturally eliminated.

How natural selection worksFor example, consider the albino mutation. Creatures that carry this mutation are easy to spot because they are not able to produce melanin, which makes them uncharacteristically pale. In the wild, these animals are intensely selected against because they are easily spotted by predators and are not attractive to potential mates. Therefore, the albino mutation is seldom passed on.

Now consider a different example. There are 13 species of finches in the Galapagos Islands. Each are closely related, but have a distinct shape to their beak. Each shape is well suited for the kind of food it prefers. In other words, over time, each different species’ characteristics changed and those whose changes made it easier to eat, lived longer to reproduce and share this favorable mutation.

Today, thanks to modern medical advances, the average life expectancy continues to increase and we are living longer. What could possibly be wrong with that? Think about how it affects the process of natural selection.

Medicine has affected natural selection’s basic principle, also known as, “Survival of the Fittest”. With technology, those with favorable and unfavorable mutations alike are able to live longer and reproduce. This pollutes the gene pool with weaker genetic material, in turn slowing evolutionary progress.

Our addiction to technology for survival has taken the natural process that has helped mankind advance, slowly come undone.

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21 Responses to “The Impact of Technology on Society”

  1. Sugar Mouse In The Rain says:

    I like this post rating feature that you have. Is it custom or did you find it online?

    Sugar Mouse In The Rain

  2. Aje says:

    I really enjoyed your synthesis. The story line was exciting. You definitely kept mt attention throughout the passage

  3. JEFF says:


  4. Brian says:

    Thanks Jeff.

  5. Lolly Pop and Billy Ray says:

    Okey, this is one of the best that i have read …
    I really like your theisis and Jeff has no idea what he is talking about
    Brian, you made very strong points and this essay helped me lots!!
    Also, i hope you may one day find your long, lost friends :D

  6. Brian says:

    Glad to hear it Lolly - thanks for taking a few moments for the comment! This is one of my favorite posts and I’m always happy to see what folks think!

  7. thomas says:

    I also like the passage, very thoughtful. My only critique is that you did not introduce the same thesis in the beginning, as you suddenly came to in the end. I feel that you have left the last paragraph open ended. In addition, one must examine the importance of Darwin’s model in light of technology. Does ’survival’ substituted by technology? We may be weakened towards disease, but we have the power to cure disease. It seems barbaric to claim that we should not use the science before us to be merciful to those in need. That is what makes humans different than finches.

  8. sarack says:

    this was great you have the greatest life i wish i could be you by dude

  9. Uma says:

    a good one. But there should have been more emphasis on the negative impact of technology on society leading to terrorism and bigger cyber crimes.

  10. Leslie says:

    It’s nice to hear someone else say that they are seeing isolation occuring because of technology. I’ve been saying it for awhile, as I watch teenagers in groups, talking on cell phones and not to each other. I see young people in restaurants, sitting together at tables, but staring at laptops or hand-held video games with their headphones on…and not exchanging two words in an hour or more.
    It’s frightening. We are bringing up the Isolated Generation, and when people do not have face-to-face human contact, they lose empathy.
    This is what we have to look forward to.

  11. Brian says:

    Hi Leslie! Thank you for your thoughtful remarks. Maybe we can coin a phrase here hehe “Isolated Connectivity” (I dunno, first thing that came to mind).

    And I agree 100% that we lose empathy as we replace person interactions with electronic ones. The best example (in my opinion) is the “e-mail badass.” The person who can write a scathing e-mail berating you for everything. Then, when you see them in person, they either talk about it with a cooler head or act as if the incident never happened.

    With e-mail, you don’t get that connection you would when talking to someone in person. You can’t see how your words effect them.

    But more specifically, I think we all let out more rage than we should when writing e-mails.

  12. Brian says:

    Thomas (from way above) I really respect your comment about not helping those in need being barbaric.

    It is.

    If I were more educated, I’d have a better example, but I’m a product of pop culture… so…

    If you’ve seen the movie 300, you know that the first thing we learn about the Spartan people is that they are very concerned about birth defects. Defects of any kind really. That when a child is first born, it is take to a cliff where it is inspected. If the new child fails, it joins the dead below.

    Their “barbarism” doesn’t stop there. They also begin training their children at a young age and (in the movie) it looked pretty intense.

    To try and keep this short (not a strong suit), the Spartan people were one of the strongest fighting civilizations ever. (Again, I admit this entire argument is weak… I based it off a movie for God’s sake!)

    The idea is “barbaric” (to our current, “American?” standard)

    This reply is getting a bit long… so I’ll leave it at that. ;-)

  13. rusty says:

    You have good ideas and theories, however, none of them are supported in any real fact. Adding anecdotes from your life gives a personal touch, but how does it prove any of your claims? Where is the evidence that all of this toxic technology is causing an increase in depression and anxiety in people? It’s a great theory. But unless you can back it up with some actual statistic or scientific data, all it’s going to be is a theory. I guess that’s why this is on your own website and not published as a peer-reviewed article. Thanks for your opinions.

  14. who cares says:

    and yet you published this fascinating little article through the internet. fail.

  15. natasha says:

    this is a really good sight i love it l.o.l

  16. natasha says:

    this is a really good sight i love it l.o.l

  17. rosemarie dejesus says:

    your site is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo awsome i would love to add to it a lot of crap about me duhhhhh anyways i love it l,o,l

  18. Fz says:

    It is a great writing indeed .
    You can sense the intellegence of the ideas in each sentemce.
    Great job!(whether it was written or simply collected info.)

  19. Kim says:

    I agree with you. Finally, somebody else saying what I have been. Technology is great, but without face-to-face conversations once in a while what will happen to us?
    Thank you!

  20. Loi says:

    I strongly believe in your idea that is why society as become so lazy and they don’t know how to perform manual labor when these things malfunction. I am not saying that technology is not good but we need to always have a backup plan whenever things go wrong. Also that is why right now we are so financially drained, we are so caught up with these technologies the providers are making millions due to the fact that we cannot live without them.

  21. Veronica says:

    If by any chance you could email me, i would like to use you as my source for an argumentative paper im doing for college. i need an interview with someone who thinks technology has a big impact on todays society.


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