HAVE WE BECOME SLAVES OF TECHNOLOGY ?
"We live in a society exquisitely dependenton science and technology, in which hardlyanyone knows anything about science andtechnology", said Carl Sagan, an Americanastronomer, astrophysicist; cosmologist, author and highly successful science populariser and science communicator in the Space andNatural Sciences. During his lifetime, hepublished more than 600 scientific papers andpopular articles and was author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books. Unfortunately,what he said has a smattering of truth
in it. Howmany of us can claim to have a deepunderstanding of the workings of atelevision? Even graduates fromprofessional colleges sometimes donot understand the nuanced workingsof the gadgets we use in our lives withregularity. Even technical subjectsharped upon by the media, and thusbrought to the attention of hoi polloiin long drawn-out debates anddiscussions by news channels, like the3G standards are not well-known tothe public. In this milieu of universal ignorance, we arepractically blind. "Omne ignotum pro magnifico", is anold proverb which means everything unknown ismagnificent. We seem to be following it faithfully, andare so much in awe of this rumbling colossus .calledtechnology that we stare at it, impressed and open- mouthed,ignoring the fact that this ignorance may get us trampleddown.With ignorance so common, we seem to be at the mercyof technology and not the other way round. For how canone be the master of something one does not knowanything about. With technological advances taking place ata breakneck pace, it looks like the "aam admi" cannotkeep up. However, one facet of this technologicaldevelopment to be noted is .that the development seems tobe accelerating.If we lie back and relax for some time and watch, or rather observe the world around us, we get to notice a fewthings. With technology moving ahead by leaps and bounds,we try to take advantage of these advances. We buy variousgadgets arid try to incorporate technology into our livesso that our lives become simpler. We become used tohaving things easy and with time, we lead lives utterlydependent on advanced technology. Whien new technology isdeveloped, we try to introduce it into our lives and makeit easier. "Technological progress has merely provided us withmore efficient means for going backwards", said AldousHuxley, an English writer and one of the most prominentmembers of the famous Huxley family. By the end of hislife, Huxley was considered, in some academic circles, aleader of modern thought and an intellectual of
the highest order and was highlyregarded as one of the mostprominent explorers of visualcommunication and sight-relatedtheories as well.
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity", saidAlbert Einstein, often regarded as the father of modern physics whose great intelligence andoriginality have made the word "Einstein"synonymous with genius. A witty man too, whohad a penchant for delivering gems like theone mentioned above. Well, Einstein'sremarks were made with the dark shadow of nuclear weapons in mind, butthe same holds true even now. Withtechnology expanding now at asurprising pace, there is no tellingwhat may be discovered now, or moreimportantly, how it will be used. Nuclear power is both destructive and useful.Several apocalyptic yarns have beenwoven over the years of scientists'developing technologies that can becataclysmic to the world at large. The basis of all thesestories deals with mankind's lust for power andindividuals trying to control the world for their own endswith the hero trying to stop the villain. While this maysound too frivolous to happen in the real world, one cannever say.With, life now becoming synonymous with computers,mobile phones, ipods and other gadgets, we seem toconsider their presence as ordinary and their absence assomething unnatural. "I am sorry to say that there is toomuch point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced thanours", said John E Kennedy, the 35th President of theU.S.A. Kennedy's youth, energy, and charming familybrought him world adulation and sparked the idealism of ageneration, for whom the Kennedy White House becameknown as "Camelot". A charismatic personality that hewas, his life was tragically cut short before his time, byLee Harvey Oswald. Supposedly, anyway. Murky rumoursstill abound as to his murderer or murderers, but well,that is beside the point. He was also known as a brilliantorator and had a way with words. Technology can be verydangerous too 'as can be evinced from Hiroshima andNagasaki. Recent efforts to decrease the number of nuclear warheads notwithstanding, we still hold our owndestruction in our hands, but the question is how long?With rogue elements and terrorist groups hankering after weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), logically it lookslike it is only a matter of time before they get a WMD.There is a theorem called as the infinite monkey theorem. Itstates that if a million monkeys are given typewriters
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Pratheek Praveen Kumar
First prize winner of CSR Super Brain
Youth Contest 2011 (2) : Topic 2