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Information Essay

1368 words - 6 pages

A Sample Essay

Almost everyone believes that technology has made life easier and more comfortable and that it has enabled us to perform tasks that we could not do otherwise. A list of the benefits of technology would be very long indeed. However, as with almost everything we human beings have created, technology has a downside. There is, we might say, a dark side to technology.

For openers, technology does not necessarily make life simpler; rather, it tends to make life more complicated. Nowadays, for example, nearly every discussion of the "wonderful power of technology to enrich our lives" mentions the cell phone. Certainly, the instant communication brought about by the ...view middle of the document...

Computer technology has been advancing so rapidly that new applications are discovered faster than anyone can keep pace – and that's a problem. Even the experts understand only a fraction of what these machines do (just ask an expert for help when a computer malfunctions). Although most users can and do master some of the basic operations, most computer owners cannot use many of the functions that are built into computer programs. Much has been written about how the younger generations who have been been brought up in the computer age know intutitively how to use these machines. However, considerable anecdotal evidence suggests that they learn only what amuses or entertains them. Most haven't the patience or the desire to go through the complicated process of learning more utilitarian programs. Furthermore, they tend to use computers rather than their own brains for many tasks that they should be able to perform without mechanical assistance. It is possible to argue that the invention of the calculator is largely responsible for the inability of many people to do simple math; it is likewise possible to prove that electronic spell-checking (which is, and may always be, imperfect) has created at least one generation of individuals who cannot spell and know nothing about the logic of language.

Complexity is not the only downside of computers. They have created an even greater gap between the rich and the poor, the educated and uneducated. To use these devices, one needs both experience and education. Lacking computers at home (even if they can access them at school), poorer people do not have the opportunity to gain much experience with them. Even as the computer becomes a commodity (something to which virtually everyone has access), the pace of technology is so rapid that these individuals are light years behind the more fortunate people. Furthermore, since computer skills must be learned (this knowledge is not as intuitive as some people would have us believe), less educated individuals have an insurmountable disadvantage. Educated individuals can use computers to expand their knowledge; uneducated or less educated people are stuck where they are. The gap widens.

Finally, with respect to computers, many of the advantages have spawned a nightmarish array of problems. While technology has now given us the ability to shop from home, it has opened a whole new frontier in which con artists can conduct scams – a frontier that authorities admit is impossible to police. While it has enabled us to bank by mail, it has brought on a wave of identity theft such as we have never before seen. While it enables banks and other organizations to process data with lightning speed, electronic processing creates greater opportunity for error. One incorrect keystroke can set in motion an automated series of mistakes that are not easily detected or corrected. Every day there is a report of some mass mailing, system glitch, or loss of data...

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