1 Corinthians 13: 1 & 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

25 September 2013

Technology: more harm than good (6B Chan Chin Hung)

Since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, advancement in technology has changed everything. People can communicate with others who live thousand kilometers away. Through advanced transportation systems, we can go everywhere. Most diseases can be cured. People’s life expectancy has become longer and longer. However, after a thorough analysis, someone has pointed out that technology does not benefit all people.

The first logical argument that comes to mind is that technology only benefits a small group of people in the world. Some people cannot afford to enjoy the benefits of technology. In fact, rich people or people from developed countries are the only parties to be benefited by advancement of technology. 10 percent of rich people own 90 percent of wealth in the world. Billions of poor people cannot get even clean water or enough food. As the advanced technology products like mobile phones, computers and vaccines for diseases are usually charged highly, the underprivileged cannot improve their quality of living. That’s the reasons why technology does not benefit all people.

Another negative effect technology has on people is the exploitation of the needy. Advancement in technology of Internet and transportation shortens the distance between people in different countries. Through globalization, some transnational corporations from developed countries have developed their businesses in developing countries. For example, electronic equipment producers like Apple and Google have set up a lot of factories in China and Southeast Asia due to the low salary level. These factories only offer a very low wage for local workers who cannot but accept the offer because of the lack of bargaining power. Some of them work for extremely long hours everyday and fall victim to the exploitation. Therefore, technology does not benefit all people but harm the workers in developing countries.

A more profound impact of technology on people is how it produces new forms of crimes. It is true that some technology is used in evil ways. Some wicked people make use of the advanced technology to break the law. A common example is that some hackers invade others’ privacy through the Internet. This kind of wrongdoing brings misery to victims and even brings huge social and mental pressure to them. For example, some actresses’ private photos were exposed to the public. Another example is some conmen swindle people out of their money by setting up fake bank websites. When people entered the passwords of their bank accounts, their money was withdrawn. In short, technology breeds new forms of crimes and harms the victims.
Some may argue that technology improves the standard of living of all people, but this argument is only superficially plausible. A common scenario is that technology improves only quality of life of some pole. In ancient times, the needy in the third world can only earn money by engaging in physical work. Nowadays, however, they are replaced by advanced machines. They can only stay at the same social level in their whole and cannot even have a chance to become richer. This unfair situation is brought by technology.

Technology is not as great as perceived by some people if not to all people. It leads to unfairness, exploitation and crimes. However, it is not the fault of technology itself. The key is that how it is used. It is time for another revolution, for people to remedy what they have done, for the sake of kindness and fairness.