Is technology really beneficial? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-20-2005, 05:54 AM
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Has technology helped us or hurt us? I know it is almost always does both, but has the net gain been worth the cost?



What brought this up is thinking about the cultural clash between native americans and europeans in early america. Comparing the european culture to that of the Native Americans makes me doubt if we are really improving ourselves. What does everyone else think?
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#2 Old 06-20-2005, 05:57 AM
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Helped us do what? Hurt us how? Improving what aspects of ourselves?
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#3 Old 06-20-2005, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Scratch View Post

Helped us do what? Hurt us how? Improving what aspects of ourselves?



This isn't about a particular aspect, but overall. The net gain/loss to humanity. It is obviously subjective, but I just wanted to hear opinions.



So the answer: Whatever you think is most important.
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#4 Old 06-20-2005, 06:10 AM
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Okay then . . .



It (society, life, humanity) is neither better nor worse. It is different.
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#5 Old 06-20-2005, 06:56 AM
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It's not technology per se that has been harmful - humans are technological creatures and always have been. It's the attitudes of our culture (civilization) that are harmful. Our culture believes that our way of living is the best ever devised and everyone should live our way. Our culture believes the world was made for man and man was meant to rule it. These attitudes were best exemplified in the conquest of the New World, where the Native Americans were made to become "civilized" or killed, or driven to reservations. This is still going on wherever indigenous peoples live (the few million of them who survive).



Civilization brings benefits to a few people, but misery to the majority. Non-civilized peoples (hunter-gatherers or limited agriculturalists/horticulturists) typically work about four hours a day to make a living. This is well known in anthropology. Civilized peoples on the other hand, typically work much harder. Civilization also brought widescale disease, famine, mass warfare. Sure there are wonderful things it brought too, such as writing and science. But the majority of people don't benefit from these things.
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#6 Old 06-20-2005, 07:22 AM
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there's no question that it's beneficial. and there's no question that it's not always beneficial.



you could be chasing anything you could catch to eat and dying of a hangnail at 20.
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#7 Old 06-20-2005, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by medic99 View Post

there's no question that it's beneficial. and there's no question that it's not always beneficial.



you could be chasing anything you could catch to eat and dying of a hangnail at 20.



Or you could be slaving in the fields for 12-16 hours a day and suffering from malnutrition (agrarian civilization).
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#8 Old 06-20-2005, 07:36 AM
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or you could be living like you live, which is impossible without technology. how about comparing that to hunter/gatherers?



and i also thought you were a guy. i think it's the avatar that projects that image. plus the name is a bit androgynous.
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#9 Old 06-20-2005, 07:37 AM
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This question is really too vague to have any decisive answer. It depends entirely on your point of view (so don't bother arguing). That should be plain to see really . . .
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#10 Old 06-20-2005, 07:37 AM
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Technology is a nuetral force, it is how it is applied that causes it to be beneficial or harmful. Humans would not be humans without technology, we are a tool using species. Homonids used technology to survive long before we even developed into Home Sapiens Sapiens

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#11 Old 06-20-2005, 08:18 AM
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I don't think it's possible to make a blanket claim about technology as a whole. I think it's only possible to weigh the costs and benefits of individual technological developments. Our development as humans has been intertwined with our technologies (even in "primitive" cultures) for so long that it's impossible to say what life would be like without any of it, let alone whether that life would be better or worse.



Some technological developments have been almost entirely negative (e.g., nuclear weapons). I'm tempted to say that a couple of technologies have benefits that have far outweighed the detriments (e.g., printing press, birth control)...but I'm a little hesitant because most technologies are built on a foundation of other, earlier developments. Were it not for the printing press, literacy and scientific knowledge probably never would have become widespread enough for nuclear weapons to have been developed, for example.



Anyway, I think "is technology good or bad?" is an ill-posed question.
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#12 Old 06-20-2005, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

Non-civilized peoples (hunter-gatherers or limited agriculturalists/horticulturists) typically work about four hours a day to make a living. This is well known in anthropology.

I'm completely ignorant in this area, so maybe I'm making a fool of myself by asking, but...is there any way you can back this up? From my point of view, it seems like this figure would vary tremendously depending on one's environment and on the amount/type of technology available to one's culture. I could see only spending four hours a day collecting food/shelter in an environment where plant matter is readily available year-round (e.g., the tropics). But in a place like the Great Plains, where there is little food and most of it is in animal form, I think it would take a lot more effort than this to survive, particularly in the absence of weapons or other tools with which to gather useful materials.



And besides, aren't most other warm-blooded animals constantly in the process of hunting for food?
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#13 Old 06-20-2005, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiz View Post

Technology is a nuetral force, it is how it is applied that causes it to be beneficial or harmful. Humans would not be humans without technology, we are a tool using species. Homonids used technology to survive long before we even developed into Home Sapiens Sapiens

That's about right.[INDENT]There's been a tecno revolution recently- it began with Einstein (and I don't think it's over, yet)- that has left many of us a bit daunted as, what to do with things like nuclear energy, genetic engineering, computers, etc. I wonder sometimes, what living would be like, if Einstein had simply said, "Duh, I don't know. I can't figure it out." I suppose life would be simpler, but that's not the way it is. The worst is, the new technologies has placed in the hands of governmental agencies and entrepreneurs a greater leverage for manipulating the living to their own advantage. It's needs a greater maturity and vigilance on the part of the rest of us to keep those who would use technology for the wrong purposes in check. Technology's not good or bad, people are.

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
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#14 Old 06-20-2005, 09:46 AM
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Without the invention of nuclear weapons... I doubt we'd have nuclear power plants (which do power a lot of the world, USA included).



Say radiation in general... if we never discovered it, a lot of people would be dead, a lot of people now living wouldn't be alive (medical procedures).



But, if say the weapons hadn't been made, but then either of the other two had been discovered.... soon thereafter the weapon counterpart would've been developed.



Without rocket technology, warheads couldn't be fired from long distances... also, we wouldn't have television, news, or radio the way we do now either.





A pencil is just a pencil... until a murderer jabs it into the throat of their victim killing them, then it's a murder weapon.







Of course... crop rotation is a technology... shoes are a technology... clothing, food, refridgeration, air conditioning, bottled oxygen, water pipes, sewage treatment, roads, housing, paper, ink, ships, cars, telephone, etc...
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#15 Old 06-20-2005, 10:07 AM
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What about language? Is it technology? I've been trying to answer this for a long time. (Is time technology?) Is technology the only real measurement of intelligence?

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
"Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles isn't a realist." -Billy Wilder
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#16 Old 06-20-2005, 11:09 AM
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I don't think i would call language or time a technology. technology is applied science.

maybe they could be called tools of some sort. Time is a concept. Techonology is maybe one way to measure intellegence but certainly not the only way.
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#17 Old 06-20-2005, 11:10 AM
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I've wondered this myself, especially watching The Gods Must Be Crazy. I get the impression that Bushmen are some of the most content people on the planet. Then again, every human society uses a certain amount of technology. I am kind of inclined to think a short yet simple life is not equitable to a mentally yet not physically stressful sleep deprived sedentary life. Also, technology has come up with some pretty nasty stuff (e.g. global warming, biological warfare) that has the potential to literally be the end of the world as we know it. Death from infection or childbirth is bad, but not nearly as bad as say weaponized Ebola.
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#18 Old 06-20-2005, 11:19 AM
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In the colloquial sense technology involves some application of the scientific method. As it is used in the social sciences (in my experience) technology would include language and any other tool, knowledge, or algorithm we develop to do anything.
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#19 Old 06-20-2005, 11:45 AM
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If it weren't for technology, we wouldn't have VB, so the net outcome is good, IMO.







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#20 Old 06-20-2005, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post

If it weren't for technology, we wouldn't have VB, so the net outcome is good, IMO.







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Aw man, beat me to it ;-)
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#21 Old 06-20-2005, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ug333 View Post

Has technology helped us or hurt us? I know it is almost always does both, but has the net gain been worth the cost?



What brought this up is thinking about the cultural clash between native americans and europeans in early america. Comparing the european culture to that of the Native Americans makes me doubt if we are really improving ourselves. What does everyone else think?



Um, the Native Americans had technology. Humans have lived in technology-saturated cultures for about 10,000 years now.
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#22 Old 06-20-2005, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by kirkjobsluder View Post

Um, the Native Americans had technology. Humans have lived in technology-saturated cultures for about 10,000 years now.



More like 100,000 years.
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#23 Old 06-20-2005, 08:13 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^



Yeah. I mean, the arrowhead is a technology. Spear tips... Heh. This makes me think of 2001 when early man discovered that a leg bone could make a great weapon.
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#24 Old 06-20-2005, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Scratch View Post

This question is really too vague to have any decisive answer. It depends entirely on your point of view (so don't bother arguing). That should be plain to see really . . .



I agree that it depends entirely on your point of view, but that is exactly why I wanted to discuss it.



Everyone says it is good and bad, and it depends on its use. I agree, in one sense. However, I think the good of our technology has decreased over time, while the bad has increased. Not to say good things haven't come about in the past 10 years, but our advancements have caused more harm than good. I don't know when the line was crossed; when we started to hurt more than help. But I do think that line has been crossed, the net movement of our technology is negative.



I have nothing to back this up, and I could be convinced otherwise (I'm not firm in this belief). But this seems to be my gut instinct lately.
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#25 Old 06-20-2005, 09:28 PM
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>>Um, the Native Americans had technology. Humans have lived in technology-saturated cultures for about 10,000 years now.>>



I'm pretty sure this isn't what the original poster had in mind.



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#26 Old 06-21-2005, 11:06 AM
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"This makes me think of 2001 when early man discovered that a leg bone could make a great weapon."

-----------------------



One really excellent visualization in that movie was when the ape threw the bone up in the air that it sortof gets replaced as a spacecraft in orbit (I'm going from memory here so I forget the details) as the movie shifted forward in time. I think that was a cool visual way to show that the leg bone and the spacecraft are both technology to give humans more power of survival.



In a way , even the ability to go into space (and at present humans are not even at the toddler stage! I mean humans on the moon is laughable from a cosmic scale) is as much a survival neccessity as the leg bone was in the past. One thing is for certain, without technology, intelligence at this planet will be wiped out when the Sun's lifespan ends and Earth's life sustaining capabilities are erased (5 billion years from now I guess). I have been thinking lately that it seems important for intelligence to continue and evolve (even if this evolution is more in the technological realm) into the vast future. In 5 billion years who knows what technology will be like but I prefer to think that some intelligence exists to expand into space rather than everything here just ending at that time. Of course any other planets (yes I feel it's highly improbably that in the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the "known Universe" that only Earth developed intelligent life) out there would have similar things happening and if they got to the point of being able to get away from their doomed planets by use of technology , then intelligence can survive there too.



Without technology , on a certain scale outside of individual experience, the continuance of intelligence would end at any star's death.



Perhaps in 10 billion years (or sooner) various intelligences will combine and something even greater.



Perhaps one or more of these vast intelligences already exists (although maybe they would just combine into one more powerful thing) ... formed from a previous incarnation of the Universe.



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#27 Old 06-21-2005, 06:33 PM
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I wish i lived in the days where an adventure was still easy to come by. I believe this world is to boring. Thats why i am ditching this 9-5 as soon as i have some money saved up to just go...
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#28 Old 06-21-2005, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rev View Post

If it weren't for technology, we wouldn't have VB, so the net outcome is good, IMO.







The Rev



But is VB such a good thing? Don't get me wrong, I'm as addicted to it as the next person, but social interaction via internet doesn't compare to face-to-face...



At my husband's work, they use instant messenger to the point where they are more likely to IM the person sitting in the next cubicle than get up and actually talk to them. Krikey!



Personally, I enjoy technology to a certain extent, but I often feel that I have become too dependent on it and would be a healthier and happier person if I relied on it less. I often think I'll get try to rid my life of internet, get rid of TV, get rid of my car - all healthy and worthy goals, but when it comes down to it I just enjoy the convenience, entertainment, and relaxation values of those things.



Yep, it's basically a love-hate relationship.
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#29 Old 06-21-2005, 08:07 PM
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I wouldn't know 1/100th as many veg*ns as I do thanks to VB, so I do think that's a good thing. I'm even going to meet some of them in September. Yup, face-to-face. So yay technology.
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#30 Old 06-21-2005, 10:13 PM
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But is VB such a good thing? Don't get me wrong, I'm as addicted to it as the next person, but social interaction via internet doesn't compare to face-to-face...

....



Similar types of arguments have been said about computer labs, LAN parties, etc. I've heard that at a local LAN party (for different games), the people are more likely to chat (via computer) after they get killed to the other people in the room with them (under 15 feet away), rather than say something aloud -- the exception being if someone cusses, then they say "sorry" aloud.
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