Pearl Software received numerous submissions for our college scholarship program. The student with the most creative and well-written essay is Occidental College’s Isaac Glanzrock who discussed the role of technology in today’s society. Thank you to all that applied and congratulations Isaac! We at Pearl Software wish you all success in your academic endeavors. Isaac’s essay follows:
A Word of Caution Against the Consumption of Technology
By: Isaac Glanzrock
Smartphones that unlock via face detection. Car navigation systems that respond to voice. Undoubtedly, the gadgets of today have come very far from days past. The constant evolution of new technology continues to enhance human life on a daily basis. Drivers can now be routed to the nearest gas station with one voice command; cell phone users can get restaurant recommendations with just a few screen taps. Platforms such as Google Drive and Skype allow for innovation on an entirely new level, increasing efficiency by eliminating the need for physical presence. Video calls and online collaboration are the new norm for businesses, permitting ideas to be developed in one voice across thousands of miles.
While the evolution of technology has led to the quality of life humans enjoy today, many concerns arise when looking at the implications of this development. What is the cost of having high definition flat screen televisions and incredibly thin tablets? It cannot be ignored that increased consumption of technological goods has led to increased pollution through mining of materials and disposal of old technology. The production process of new technology releases greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming. We face the unwanted consequence of environmental degradation as the result of our modern consumption habits. These issues did not become problematic until humans began to witness the effects of the industrial age, proof that the problem is rooted in modern technology.
It is now widely accepted that global warming is real. Either way, the world is undergoing some time of global climate change, seen by more severe weather conditions. The terms “polar vortex” and “extreme drought” are now commonplace as we face challenging climate circumstances with progressing seasons. In addition, animal species are going extinct at an absurdly high rate, the highest in history. This is without a doubt due to humans and their development; ecosystems are changing faster than a species ability to adapt and construction destroys habitats altogether. Ethical questions surrounding these conditions have formed a large discourse community of those who both agree and disagree about the direction we are headed. One main focus question is, “Who/what matters?” Should humans take precedent in all situations, or should more value be placed on other species?
Humans are special in that they have capacities that are regarded as incredible advantages over other species, particularly in the technological and social spectrums. Our ability to innovate in these areas is unparalleled. Even monkeys, our close evolutionary relatives, are incapable of creating a modern refrigerator. However, being unique is not unique to us. Humans are not capable of photosynthesizing or producing silk, for example. The truth is our qualities that define us as a species typically are detrimental to other organisms. The world would be able to sustain itself without humans; the same cannot necessarily be said about other species, such as fungi or plankton.
The life we live today, one with sports coupes and “smart” televisions, is enjoyed by a technologically savvy society. It is wonderful to be able to travel vast distances in short amounts of time and to see different parts of the world without ever leaving your couch. However, our technological advances have caused the well being of our planet, to suffer considerably from our actions. We may have indeed paved a road to Hell with good intentions. Our response to global climate change will determine the actual destination. While it may be Hell, hopefully it will be somewhere a little less hot.