The Role Of Technology Essay Research Paper

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The Role Of Technology Essay, Research Paper Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all. - John F. Kennedy Speech, May 21, 1963 As we look back in retrospect, civilization has evolved greatly from generation to generation. Our advancement has been solely dependent on one factor, the human mind. The human mind has brought us from the bondages of Neanderthal era to today s modern age. It has brought us numerous of conveniences that are as simple as a hammer to as sophisticated as the personal computer. These creations have multiplied exponentially and have been the crutch for our society. The anxiety of Y2k exemplifies the magnitude in which we rely on these machines we have created. The dilemma in which the development of technology brings is a simple question: To

what extent should these machines govern our lives? This medium is the crucial answer to future survival of our existence. If we look back to a little over two centuries ago in our world, technology was not as prominent as it is now. A day in which the horse cart broke did not greatly affect daily life for people in that time period. On the other hand, imagine a day when electricity stops. Airports would be shut down, communication failures, business loss, and etc. Recently an earthquake hit the nation of Taiwan, where a majority of the semiconductor industry is located. During the earthquake with a Richter scale of 7.4, many of the factories halted production on computer chips. In the one of two days the plants were shut down, stocks relating to the computer industry plummeted.

Dell Computer announced that its third quarter earnings would be lower than expectations, Gateway shares dropped, and the damage went down the chain to companies that were related to the computer industry. If the hysteria over Y2k is accurate, we will see in first hand, the grasp in which technology has on our society. I have observed that a popular plot in sci-fi novels is the notion that someday in the future, computers will govern our lives and we will become slaves to them. The Terminator movie series is a classic example that uses this plot. One must ask himself if this fiction has become a reality for humans. Weapons of mass destruction were a constant fear for all citizens during the Cold War and are still a threat to us. Reading about the Oklahoma City bombing, the

Columbine shootings, the recent Xerox shootings, and so forth makes me wonder if we have become slaves to our creations. To find the medium in which we can balance technology with our lives, we must understand the differences and parallels that computers share with us. An apparent disparity is that computers/machines do not posses the reason and intuition that a human brain contains. Descartes foresaw this distinction and reasons as follows: For whereas reason is a univeral instrument which can be used in all kinds of situations, these organs [of animals, like mechanisms in general] need some particular disposition for each particular action; hence it is for all practical purposes impossible for a machine to have enough different organs to make it act in all contingencies of life

in the way in which our reasons makes us act. (Descartes 1637, p.140) Descartes continues, even though such machines might do [or say] some things as well as we do them, or perhaps even better, they would inevitably fail in others, which would reveal that they were acting not through understanding but only from the disposition of their organs . There is a common misconception that computers are perfect in their respective functions and that they are the solution to the erroneous human being. Thus, we trust it with all of our daily duties. Many continue to believe that since computers appear to be perfect and that we trust it with all our duties, ultimately computers are smarter than humans and someday may help us accomplish all of our tasks. We have been fascinated by the