‘Technology makes our lives easier but at the same time more complicated.’ Do you agree?
Technologies address the basic needs of humans and are the fundamentals which set us apart from animals. Man has evolved to be able to use his intelligence to question and investigate his environment and from what he has learnt, apply his knowledge to create tools that give him an advantage over his environment. While technology has no doubt brought about great convenience to our lives, it is incontrovertible that it has fueled extremist activities, destroyed Mother Nature as well as enabled the development of nuclear weapons.
Technology is the panacea for the proliferation of people’s proclivity to indolence.
Science is able to identify problems while technology is able to translate these problems into practical solutions for the betterment of mankind. The power of technology has brought about great convenience and it is evident in the average home.
Roomba is a series of autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners sold by iRobot and named one of the best inventions of 2002 by the Times. Introduced in September 2002, Roomba features a set of sensors that enable it to perform its tasks. Running on rechargeable batteries, Roomba roams your house entirely on its own, swooping up dust bunnies and zipping under beds and couches where mere humans can’t reach. Its sensors keep it from bumping into walls and furniture or falling off staircases. When it finishes a room, Roomba beeps proudly and turns itself off.
EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE 1:
Such ease provided by the advancement of technology has indubitably brought about much comfort to our lives. With a click of a button, the Roomba can easily do the tedious household chores for you. Moreover, with a price tag of under $200, it is affordable and can be easily acquired by households.
Nanyang Technological University in Singapore uses driverless shuttles at its campus. The minibus, which is fully enclosed and air-conditioned, can take up to 15 people, with 11 seated and four standing.
EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE 2:
Densely-populated Singapore hopes driverless technology will help the country manage its land constraints and manpower shortages. “The autonomous vehicles will greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children and the less mobile,” Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said.
All these appliances and tech gadgets that have made life easier for us are all products of science.
In less than two decades, the development of technology like wireless Internet, text messaging and smartphones have wildly transformed the way we communicate with one another.
Efficiency in communication brought about by technology can be seen in a practical sense. Technology has definitely made us better communicators in utilizing the resources available to us to communicate with one another in a faster and more concise manner. Gone are the days where lack of an efficient means of communication had brought about inconvenience to our lives.
Prior to the advent of the use of telegraph and radio in warfare, dispatch riders on horseback and runners were used to convey and deliver orders and battle updates to and from unit commanders and headquarters. This provided a slow and inefficient means of communication, causing units whose lines of communication were compromised to be vulnerable to becoming isolated and defeated, as the means for requesting reinforcements and resupply is lost.
EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE:
Today, emails and text messaging made possible by state-of-the-art technology have become a staple and inexpensive means of long-distance communication where messages are delivered to the intended recipient with just a single click or touch of a button.
Time is no longer a constraint in communication, and people no longer have to worry about being separated by geographical boundaries. Be it disseminating information, broadcasting news, or sharing knowledge, technology has unequivocally made it faster, easier, and smarter.
THESIS 1 (REBUTTAL TO AT 1)
More often than not, technology complicates our lives more than simplifies it. The deleterious consequences on the environment as a result of technological advancement is taking a toll on Mother Earth and inflicting serious damages on our lives.
Allan M. Eddison once famously said that “Modern technology owes ecology an apology”. This is true as the advancements in technology have no doubt brought about the deterioration of the environment, complicating our lives.
Our lives today are made more comfortable and convenient with the advancements in technology in producing electrical appliances like refrigerators, fans, air conditioners etc.
However, the increased consumption of power and electricity has led to the depletion of Earth’s natural resources and brought about pernicious consequences. Global warming, which came to widespread attention after Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”, is a crisis borne out of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere; the increased rate of its release being the byproduct of the Industrial Revolution and mankind’s subsequent revolutionary lifestyle with factories being continuously built to satisfy man’s desire.
The melting of ice caps due to global warming has also proved to be a worrying issue especially when scientists recently found out that the world’s thickest East Antarctica Ice sheet which contains enough water to raise global sea levels by over 50m, is at risk of melting due to drastic climate changes. Additionally, the fifth Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report mentioned that for high emissions IPCC now predicts a global rise by 52-98 cm by the year 2100, which would threaten the survival of coastal cities and entire island nations. But even with aggressive emissions reductions, a rise by 28-61 cm is predicted. Even under this highly optimistic scenario, we might see over half a meter of sea-level rise, with serious impacts on many coastal areas, including coastal erosion and a greatly increased risk of flooding.
EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE:
The rise in sea levels has already caused some islanders to be displaced from their homes. As many as eight islands in the Pacific Ocean have disappeared entirely due to rising sea levels. The low-lying Micronesia and the Solomon islands have fallen victim to climate change, resulting in islanders facing even more challenges.
THESIS 2 (REBUTTAL TO AT 2)
The argument put forth by detractors sounds specious as they fail to consider the fact that the improved transportation and communication channels are available to extremists as well.
It has heightened the vulnerability of societies by increasing their exposure to threats beyond their own community.
With the availability of air travel, terrorists have been able to target their activities on communities in other countries. This can be seen in the 9/11 attack where Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked and crashed commercial planes into the two World Trade Towers in America in a bid to fight against the West, leading to widespread devastation across the country.
2005 Bali bombings and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing where terrorists were able to carry out attacks around the globe due to the ease of transportation was made probable by technology.
By harnessing the Internet as a tool for communication, the prominent terrorist group ISIS has been successful in spreading its ideology and setting up branches all over the world, which has staged several bombings worldwide. A terrorist planned a Christmas bombing with his girlfriend after he pledged allegiance on Facebook to an Islamic State commander looking for volunteers to carry out lone-wolf attacks, his trial heard. Munir Hassan Mohammed sent messages to the commander in Iraq or Syria and downloaded terrorist publications online, as the couple plotted to make bombs and toxins together.
EVALUATION OF EXAMPLES:
The advancement of communication technology like the Internet has provided an efficacious platform for terrorists to spread their ideologies, thereby expanding their terrorist network. Furthermore, according to a UN report, the US believes that terrorists are now able to share their intelligence with one another and even learn quick ways to make a bomb through videos on the Internet.
Clearly, the advancement of technology has removed precious limitations and opened the door for new threats to enter various countries, thus forming new hazards to the people in their societies.
Technology as weapons of mass destruction fuels a string of complications on people’s lives.
Albert Einstein once said that “I do not know what World War III will be fought with, but I do know that World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Technology is highly susceptible to human manipulation and can be used as a tool for destructive purposes, often creating a host of problems and dangers of a disastrous magnitude.
Nuclear power, once thought to be the solution to the world’s dwindling power, has taken on a much more insidious appearance after its destructive potential was revealed.
In the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s, the world was nearly embroiled in nuclear warfare when America and the Soviet Union came head to head in Cuba. Also, in spite of treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1968, we have been powerless to stop depraved dictatorships like megalomaniac dictator Kim Jong Un from holding the threat of nuclear weaponry over the heads of many countries in a bid to protect its own security. Not forgetting the deployment of atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima which led to the loss of colossal lives and utter destruction.
Governments have also been relentlessly building up stockpiles of increasingly lethal weapons in accordance to their own national interests. Unmanned drones rain down death from above in Pakistan, helicopter gunships massacre unarmed civilians in Syria, and chemical weapons such as nerve gas are deployed to quell the multitude of insurrections in separatist Russian states.
Technology has therefore increased the capability of man to wage war, threatening to disrupt the delicate balance of peace in our world today.
For every advancement that humanity collectively make as a species, there always seems to be accompanying regression. Technology was meant to benefit us all, and yet all it has managed to achieve is seemingly making the world a more dangerous place. At the end of the day however, we must remember this – guns do not kill people, people kill people. Technology by itself is neither benign nor malevolent, it is merely a tool. It is how we use it that determines whether or not it helps to increase our safety or ultimately undermines it. The end goal we should all strive towards now therefore should not be technological advancement, but rather technological enlightenment. We as a species simply should focus first on figuring out how best to utilize the current technology at our disposal, maximising its benefits, while minimising its detriments. Getting everyone to slow down might be unheard of in the name of progress, but given the current context, it is the only way to make things right. Whether we ride the waves of technology or drown in it all depends on how we utilize it.
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The Rationale Thinking Learning Centre currently offers you two unique tuition programmes to choose from – ‘A’ Level General Paper tuition and the IP English tuition. Find out more about our unique approach to our tuition curriculum here.
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The preponderance of students in Singapore struggle with mastering the Language subjects. However, the English language is arguably the most important subject in Singapore as it is our lingua franca. Furthermore, the daily use of Singapore Colloquial English (commonly known as Singlish) is exacerbating this problem further. As a language specialist, we aim to tackle this prevalent issue. A strong foundation in the English language is vital to acing other subjects such as General Paper, Humanities, Mathematics, Science, etc. and ultimately getting coveted placements in Ivy League Universities.
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