Hello everyone! Welcome to Think a Bit Thursdays, a weekly series in which I take a movie and dissect a point that it brings up, setting up some big questions for me to try to answer. This is a fairly new series, and here are the previous three that I have done. Gladiator and Motivation, The Ides of March and Power, and Immortals and Immortality. If you haven’t checked them out yet, drop by and leave me a comment with your thoughts. Don’t worry, the links will open in a new tab 🙂 I’ve got you covered.
This week, the movie I’ll be talking about is The Terminator. For those who are not familiar, it is about a seemingly indestructible cyborg that is sent from the future back to the past, to terminate Sarah Conner. She is a target because she will play a big role in the future, and her only protector is Kyle Reese, who is also sent from the future. From there, The Terminator begins.
But, like usual, I’m not here to talk about the movie. I’m here to talk about a point it brings up. In this segment, technology. The question I’ll be answering this week is: Is technology hurting the human race?
You may be scoffing at me right now. Why would technology be hurting us? Look at where we’ve gotten. We have landed on the moon. We understand the atom. We have cured diseases. We can solve mathematical equations with a handheld piece of plastic. We can talk to a person across the world with a couple of keystrokes. We have unlimited knowledge at our fingertips via the internet. Our phones talk back to us. We have created devices that can capture footage of things that happen in our lives. Why would technology be a digression rather than a progression?
Let’s use a simple piece of technology as an example: The calculator. There are two ways you can view it. One way of seeing it is as a glorious piece of cheap hardware that makes math easier, quicker, and more efficient, thus getting work done quicker and coming to a conclusion faster than one would doing by math with pencil and paper. The opposite view is seeing it as a contraption that allows the user to turn off his brain and dumb himself down, while sucking the humanity out of daily work and functions. Categorize yourself. Which opinion do you side with? Chances are, it’s the first one. I would assume that most of my viewers are not from a very old crowd, and so they grew up with technology from birth. Therefore, their first nature is to take all of these advances in technology for granted. My parents grew up with Saturday morning cartoons on a box with two antennas. We’ve clearly taken a giant step forward, having LED high definition 3D TV’s.
But the question still remains. Is technology a bad thing for our race? Is it dumbing us down? Let’s take a deeper look at the plus side. Some devices that assist us with living are calculators, GPS systems, and the internet. These three things can be used as replacements for functions involving our brain. Calculators to replace doing math, GPS systems to replace the old fashion asking for directions, and the internet to replace books. Everybody knows that these tools are simply just that: Tools. They aren’t replacements, but tools. Just because I have a calculator available doesn’t mean I am not going to write out my math. Just because I have a GPS system doesn’t mean I will never bother to remember streets or ask for directions. Just because I have Google does not mean I will never get a book from the library. See what I mean? These technological advances are not dominating out lives and our humanity, they are simply improving them. That calculator cuts down work time. I’m still doing the work, but it is quicker, and I do it more efficiently. The calculator, therefore, has improved my life, and thus, is a successful piece of technology. Am I a dumber person for doing some work on a calculator? No. My life is simply easier. It is the wise who use the tools they are given. Is it bad to use a hammer to help build a house? Is it making me any less human because I am not putting in as much labor? No. Does it make me less human that I use an alarm clock to get me up in the morning? No. It helps me get ready to start the day. It doesn’t make me a lazy, brainless chimp. The point of technology?: To improve life.
A personal instance can help better explain my point. My home phone number recently changed. Without even thinking, I entered the new number into my phone and deleted the old one. I never gave it a second thought. Later on in the near future I was asked for my home number for whatever reason. I looked right at my phone and pulled it up quickly. I was asked, “You don’t know your house number?” As I was explaining that I just changed it, I started thinking. It’s not like I’ll never memorize it. I’ll sit down and put it into my memory whenever I get a chance. Until then, my phone is safely storing it for when I need it. Is this a bad thing? Am I a dumber person for not memorizing my house number right away, leaving it to be held in my phone? I don’t think so. I am simply using a tool that was given to me to my advantage. Without that phone, I would not have the number accessible to me when I am in need of it. Why is this so frowned upon by some people? (For the record, I now know my house number by heart.)
The truth is, technology will not always be used for good things. Because of it, we can make weapons that can destroy cities quicker, faster, and more powerfully. We can launch cyber attacks on federal networks and take classified information. Technology can be used to harm others. Just like the Terminator, who was built solely to kill, technology will not always be helpful. But no matter what, all technology is made with the intention of being helpful. Though their numbers may be small, there are still good hearted people out there. If their attempt to improve lives is seen as a digression of humanity, then I am a bit flustered.
The question this week was, “Is technology hurting the human race? Is it dumbing us down?” I believe that the answer is no. It is simply helping us along the path of living a peaceful, happy, fulfilling life. Thanks for reading. What do you think about this topic? Let me know in the comments.