Can We Really Trust Technology to Improve Our Lives?

Applied science has created technology, and as this has evolved it has changed our world beyond recognition. A time traveler from an earlier century showing up in our world today, say, someone in an H.G. Wells story, would think that they had arrived on another planet.

Yet since we have been a witness to these unfolding events, we often take our lifestyle changes for granted. From our perspective, the evolution of the first telephone to the smartphone in our pocket, or the progress of the first medical drug to the plastic vials in our medicine closet, seems to have happened slowly. Yet from the framework of history, we have made astonishing progress in the span of a few centuries.

Let us take a look at some of the ways invention and innovation have played a significant role in our lives and changed it in a way that appears almost miraculous in hindsight.

Electronic Cigarettes

Cigarettes have such an addictive quality that no amount of surgeon-general warnings or scientific evidence or personal experience of adverse health conditions has been able to persuade people to stop smoking. Yet rather than trying to wrestle our stubborn wills into submission, helping our common sense catch up with our craving for tobacco, technology has introduced vaporizers and electronic cigarettes. In fact, the use of e-liquid vape juice takes care of our psychological need for calm and poise that cigarettes bestow.

An electronic cigarette, usually referred to as an e-cigarette, is an elegant handheld device that cleverly simulates the same satisfaction that tobacco smoking gives those of us who are chronic smokers. At its essence, this innovation is remarkably simple and practical. An e-cigarette heats a liquid converting it into an aerosol. Smokers inhale this “vapor” to enjoy the same physiological pleasure they had when they were smoking a tobacco cigarette.

Remote Medical Care

When we think of healthcare, we usually think of doctors asking us questions us in person to diagnose the reason for our ill-health. Medicine, in other words, is a personal experience between a physician and a patient. All this was fine when the world was smaller, when people lived in small towns and where the ratio between doctors and patients was manageable. Now we live in huge cities and hospitals are understaffed. Since it takes decades to train a doctor, the doctor-patient ratio is now almost unmanageable.

Technology has reduced the enormity of this problem by shrinking time and space to make it easier for doctors to meet with patients. Telemedicine has reduced the need for healthcare providers to share the same physical space with those needing medical help. Since doctors can diagnose minor health issues by using a video conferencing application, computer-to-computer interactions now simulate person-to-person meetings.

Adults don’t have to take time off from work or students to ask for permission from their school to see a doctor. By removing the constraints of distance and time, it’s possible for doctors and patients to speak to each other and for the doctor to arrive at a diagnosis based on seeing and hearing the patient describe their symptoms.

Almost Instant Telecommunication

The mother of all these innovations and the reason for this rapid growth in knowledge has been the internet. Since technology is based on science and science is based on education and education is based on shared knowledge, the internet has made it possible for human beings to double their knowledge about the world at an exponential rate. It’s estimated that knowledge doubles every year, but it’s expected to double every 12 hours in the future.

Almost instant telecommunication has been made possible by the internet. It has significantly altered the way we think, speak, and understand each other across the globe. Our world has undergone a massive, unbelievable sea change since the late 1950s when the first internet connectivity made the world wide web possible.

The reason why the smartphone is smart, or for that matter any of our electronic devices, are smart is because of the level of communication opened by the information highway. From providing us a way to meet our basic needs to offering us a channel to enjoy extravagant luxuries, blazing fast telecommunications have made the world a global village.

In conclusion, technology has improved our world in innumerable ways and our next step in human evolution is to learn how to use it wisely.

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