Technology: How is it Changing our Ecosystem?

Technology used to be known as any type of invention that made the human life easier. That definition, however, is changing in the face of our current technological revolution. Now when people think of word “technology”, they think of iPhones, computers, GPSs, etc. We’ve gone from a world of virtually no long-distance communication to a world where elementary school children have smart phones and iPads. All of this is consistent with Neil Postman’s article, Five Things We Need to Know about Technological Change. Postman creates his five ideas based on “thirty years of studying the history of technological change”. I agree with all of them, but idea four is the one that resonated with me the most. In the “Fourth Idea” paragraph, Postman explains that “technological change is not additive; it is ecological.” He then explains this dynamic through an analogy. If a drop of red dye is placed into a beaker of water, what happens to the water? Is it simply water plus a spot of red dye? No of course not because the coloration has permeated every single molecule in the water. Thus, it has become part of the water’s ecology, and therefore it is an ecological change. Technology has the same effect. Refer back to my elementary children example. Back in my day, even though that day was only ten years ago, it was an anomaly for a child my age to have a cellphone. Now it is an anomaly for anyone at all to not have a cellphone. One of my mother’s friends, a successful business owner, tells me that ten years ago, “only about seventy-percent of people had cellphones. There were no touch-screens, and if you texted someone it was considered rude.” Today, I now notice that my eleven year old brother texts constantly. I also see parents letting their toddlers play games on their phones and tablets, so they are learning how to utilize technology at a very young age. Thus, this technology is evolving with us; it is becoming part of our technological ecosystem. Furthermore, a phone is not just a phone now; it is our social media entry, our alarm clocks, our planners, our calculators, etc. This has created an ecological change of newfound convenience and reliability. Conversely, it has also created shorter attention spans. Too often people will ignore their reality to be on their phone. We are all guilty of this; but some people do it to a point where it is utterly rude, and they don’t even realize it! Sadly, this is starting to be considered normal. Only time will tell how our technological ecosystems will continues to change in the future.

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