Daniel Thomson from Brigham Young University-Idaho, South Africa has secured the 3rd place in the competition and won an amount of $145. Daniel wrote on the topic: How are gadgets changing our lives for better and for worse?
We live in the year 2017 ACE, almost one hundred and forty years after the invention of the electric light bulb. Today our world and livelihoods depend on technology and the seemingly low hanging fruit that it provides us. Through science and innovation, trial and error we have made incredible advancements for mankind. Now we live in a world where our gadgets have the power and capacity to ruin us. In this essay, I will explain three main principles of how gadgets are changing our life for the worse.
One of the biggest problems the world faces today in both developed and developing countries, except for only a few countries is that of high unemployment rates and unstable economic providence. This problem is growing and in many countries crippling the infrastructure and potential of the country. Men and Women, young and old, skilled and unskilled have to deal with this issue. No one is immune or exempt of this highly demanding and competitive element of life. Countries like South Africa and Greece are experiencing rates of above 25% unemployment as of 2016.
Our technological advancements and gadgets have done little, but worsen this issue in many countries. Industrialization in the early eighteen hundreds began the process, and today we live in a world where automation and artificial inelegances from smart phones to highly complex robotics dominate the supply of needs. In the near future will we be able to consider an end of laborers, factory workers, or manufacturers, no more repeating service providers, and fortunately for the money makers – no more salary negotiations. People are being made redundant and replaceable on almost a daily basis as the rate of technological improvement doubles in power and halves in size approximately every twenty four months according to Moores law.
Another problem we are facing is that of education and its faltering impact on youth and young students. Recent studies show growing trends of illiteracy and poor basic numerical skills. The problem is most prominent in countries considered to be developed by global standards. These countries are battling, and as a result, the basic salary of primary and secondary educators is on the rise due to the demand for redress of this issue. A recent report showed that almost 15% of American citizens are considered illiterate. Thus we can see that gadgets aren’t just a singled out issue, but are in fact the cause for the creation of many issues which could have a very negative impact on society.
The rise of personal and portable technology is directly related to the fall of literacy and numeracy rates. Young people have grown incredibly reliant on programs such as calculators and spell checkers. The personal inquisition for knowledge is being replaced daily by the process of “googling it”. The worse effect that unbridled gadget use is having on this generation of students is that of the distraction that it provides. Hundreds of hours are consumed by the time spent on social media websites and browsing the internet for an endless and sleepless amount of content.
The third reason I can provide for how gadgets are changing our lives for the worse is this. We seem to be losing ourselves in the online world. Families and friends are not what they used to be. Parents all too regularly neglect their responsibilities to their loved ones and dependents in exchange for time on social media sites and the like. Youth are consumed by hand held devices and electronics. Even to the extent of recreating themselves and losing their identities. All that seems to matter is the number of likes or notifications they can get a response to their posts. The Keiser report showed that young people between the ages of 8 and 18 could spend anywhere between 7 – 12 hours online each day.
Basic communication and environmental response skills are being forgotten and lost. Office cubicles and online work stations and service providers cause us to be limited in our connections and relationships with others. People are beginning to lose their sense of humanity and be almost entirely absorbed into the world of gadgets. The basic human attributes of patience, kindness, empathy and sympathy are being lost to the demands of an ever increasing market for more-than-human interaction.
To conclude, I say, we need to be mindful of ourselves and our environment. We need to be cautious and not consumed by a desire to create and have the next best thing. We need to be willing to make sacrifices and live for more than just ourselves and our desires. The world has incredible potential, and we could almost entirely miss it if we spent our whole life buried in the screens and displays of our gadgets. Gadgets are changing our world, but we are the ones who decide what changes and how it changes.