Technology has its cost. Often, it’s worth it. The article “Five Things We Need to Know about Technological Change” by Neil Postman brings that first fact up in several of its points. It is a recurring theme in the article. However, the second point is barely explored. Yes, technology comes with a price. And yes, technology has profound, changing effects on society. Yet technology is not a bad thing. Technological innovation can, and usually does, provide more positives than negatives—the “price” is often a fair one.
The invention of the wheel made travel and transportation faster and easier. Humans could get from place to place and haul their belongings at greater speeds and in greater numbers. Efficiency and speed of travel were furthered. This technology came at the cost of whom? I suppose stronger people who were capable of hauling goods on their own suffered due to an equal playing field… maybe. Sure, this technology changed the world, but for the better. The world was at that point better connected and humans were more mobile. The wheel became the basis or a component in countless technologies since then. This is only one, perhaps obvious, example of how technology is a necessary thing where the pros far outweighed the cons.
The aforementioned article stated something to the effect that modern medicine had not only cured diseases but also brought on new ones and detracted from certain abilities of doctors. All I can say to this is, so what. To dwell on this way of thinking is to forget that before the onset of modern medicine people would die of the common cold and simple infections. Humans had no concept of germs and had no antibiotics to cure them. Various past theories on medicine were quite literally insane by modern standards. One of which that dominated Europe for centuries was the belief that health was based on a balance of different types of fluids in the body and that people’s personalities were connected to which fluid was in greater quantity. Personally, I’ll take the antibiotics and take a doctor that wants to conduct a biopsy or an MRI rather than apply leeches when I have symptoms of cancer.
In reality, the article by Postman brought up good food for thought. However, it dwelled far too much on the negatives of technology while ignoring the context. Of course it should be noted that certain technologies bring changes that do not benefit everyone equally at first. Furthermore, such a truth should be recognized and considered as technology moves forward. However, innovations like the printing press, modern medicine, and computers brought incalculable amounts of positive change and opportunities to society. To demonize them or ignore their value is a pedantic and fanatical viewpoint.