Keeping Technology From Negatively Transforming Our Lives


Three basic perspectives that can help ensure technology's positve influence

 

Also published in Chicago Woman

 

Advanced technology enables us great advantages, and so we’ve woven these tools into our business and political activities, into our social and cultural fabric, and into our personal lives.

However, more and more of us are realizing that technology doesn’t give us its benefits free of charge. The respective advantages come with a price-tag: the trade-offs of technology use.

For example, the tools of modern food growing and processing gave us unprecedented access to carbohydrates, sugars, fats, and animal protein. But, as we know by now, indulging in this abundance with no restraint is likely to result in various health issues. Therefore we must now deal with issues of self-discipline and balance in our diet. Other trade-offs of modern agriculture concern e.g., land degradation, species extinction, groundwater pollution, or greenhouse gases.

Similarly, information and communication technologies give us great advantages, but they too create trade-offs we must pay attention to if we want to lead healthy, satisfied lives.

Technology affects many more aspects than our nourishment or the ways we interact with each other and process information. The many resulting trade-offs are particular to their respective fields. The basic, underlying challenge however is the same: to minimize technology’s negative effects on our lives, to ensure the human experience isn’t sidelined by technology’s evolution.

Following are three basic perspectives that can help us in our efforts to ensure that technology influences our lives in positive ways.

The practical perspective
In our daily challenges and decisions we look to balance technology’s demands with other key aspects of our lives, like finding non-screen-time for ourselves or for real-world interaction with family and friends. To find balance and draw necessary lines we need our self-discipline and self-esteem, must find and trust our inner voice, and cultivate a healthy measure of serenity.

The value perspective
This focus is on the courage, awareness and wisdom needed to secure and hold high the dignity and well-being of life. To see oneself as part of something far bigger than one’s own life and time, namely, the human experience and life in general. To gain strength and courage from that insight and to know that by refraining from doing something, more can be gained than forgone.

The gender perspective
We live in an age of unprecedented technological acceleration. The technological realities that make up our lives, and the manner of further technological development are defined, created and perpetuated mostly by men. Is there a female view on this momentous time in history? Could women be key in creating a sustainable approach towards technological development or do they mostly want to partake and blend in with the current culture of technology?