This article aims to answer the question ‘Is Technology a Panacea For The 21st Century?’ It also discusses the reason why technology is not completely a Panacea.
Since the advent of technology, life has become very sweet, yet so bitter. In other words, one cannot categorically say that technology is a solution to the 21st century challenges. Hence, I wouldn’t be wrong to say that the answer to this question is two dimensional because whatever has an advantage must have a disadvantage.
Defining technology, it is not only limited to physical machinery and production methods, but also refers to digital applications as well as investments that are intangible and more or less invisible to the eye.
Technology obviously makes our daily activities very easy but at the same time, its effectiveness has spurred crime as well.
Considering the positive effects, technology has been able to solve some problems to a great extent. Below are some ways in which technology has been able to solve major societal challenges:
WAYS BY WHICH TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN A PANACEA FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Technology is gradually changing the educational system from the traditional classroom method to a more advanced system, thereby giving students and teachers access to more opportunities.
In this 21st century, technology has paved the way for students to access classes and learning materials at ease, especially those in rural and very remote areas. With internet and wireless technology, teachers can organize classes and examinations for students without any hitch.
Advanced network coverage has also given individuals who ordinarily cannot afford enrolling in schools the chance to access free online classes and courses.
With apps like YouTube, anybody can acquire free knowledge to become empowered. On the other hand, students no longer need to travel far and near or even visit cafes often for registrations of any kind. With internet connections and at least a mobile phone, that can be done from any location.
2. Reduction in Unemployment
If there is one very important problem technology has solved, it is the reduction in the number of unemployed citizens which have in turn reduced the poverty level in the society.
With technology, people no longer have to travel long distances to submit application letters and CVs. With one click, people can apply for jobs and in some cases virtual interviews are carried out. With apps like Zoom and Google meet, this has been made possible.
Increasingly, technology has created more jobs by making it possible for those in developing countries to access a wider market locally and internationally.
In other words, with digital literacy and internet facilities, people from different parts of the world can collaborate as a team.
3. Climate Challenges
Global warming, which is about the most disturbing climate challenge worldwide, is gradually being tackled in many parts of the world. Technology is gradually taking care of various activities that bring about the release of fossil fuels and toxic gases into the atmosphere.
Technology has brought about a reduction in the generation of power from fossil fuels. Recently, that has been made possible through solar energy.
Currently, different means of transportation like cars, trains, etc, have been identified as one of the major agents of CO2 emission but technology has made electric cars available to reduce pollution.
4. Security Issues
Years back, there were no provisions for knowing the whereabouts of people, especially those in danger. In the era we are, a range of technologies have made that possible thereby increasing public safety.
With location based apps and emergency communicators, it has become very easy for those in danger to make their locations known for immediate help. In the case of robbery, with the use of trackers, stolen properties such as vehicles and phones can be tracked and recovered.
In the olden days when our forefathers had no access to technology, a lot of health conditions were overlooked and rather associated with spiritual problems and manipulations. Then, there were no medical checks. This made a lot of them to fall victims of genotypes, thereby subjecting the innocent children to torture. The same is applicable to blood groups.
Then, there were nothing like paternity tests. Hence, a partner could easily get away with infidelity. All these have become a thing of the past with the advent of technology. Different machines and equipment have been made available for medical checks. The issue of genotype and blood group has been spotted out except for those who chose to fall victim out of ignorance.
Patients with critical health conditions as bad as a heart failure, can now live for more years with external hearts. Different surgeries of all sorts are not left out too. They are just too numerous.
Previously, agriculture was so tedious that many people didn’t want to be associated with it. Then, most farming practices were carried out manually, starting from pre-planting operations such as Harrowing, ploughing, etc, down to post planting operations like harvesting and processing of farm produce. All these, made farming a very tedious occupation.
With time, technology brought about Agricultural inventions that have made it a more enjoyable profession. Most farmers now practice Mechanized farming. Improved seeds and livestock as well as new farming systems have enhanced the productivity, efficiency and decision making of daily Agricultural activities. All thanks to technology.
7. Social Media
Technology made socializing easy. In recent times, one can easily connect to people in other parts of the world in their comfort zones. People get to meet new people behind the keyboard. This has in one way or the other brought opportunities to people.
With different social media platforms, communication has become very easy and fast. The idea of travelling to hangout regularly on weekends has been bridged as peers can easily do that via facetime and video calls.
In the areas of finance, technology has made life very easy especially for entrepreneurs. With the existence of mobile banking and the likes, business transactions have been made very easy. People are no longer required to move about with huge sums of money; neither are their excuses for payments.
These and more are global challenges technology has found solutions to.
While they are all amazing, technology has equally caused a lot of harm to human existence.
Here are reasons why technology is not completely a panacea in the 21st century:
1. Impact on Education
There is no denying the fact that technology has played a vital role in the education system. However, it has equally influenced the system in more negative ways than one.
First, a lot of individuals who have embraced online school are required to enter their personal information online. Be it age, date of birth, location and sometimes bank details, this information can easily be accessed by a third party. This is not safe at all.
More so, technology has given rise to misconducts by examination bodies which is the root cause of examination malpractice amongst students.
There is ongoing research where humans won’t need to study but use chips to transfer knowledge. While this might reduce the stress of studying, on the other hand it changes the excitement of being human rather than functioning like a robot
2. Increase in Crime Rate
Technology has made fraudulent activities very easy. With just the click of a button or swipe of a card, one can lose millions to a person behind the keyboard. This is why the rate of hacking and scam is skyrocketing on a daily basis.
3. Increase in Health Challenges
All types of technology are within our reach. From personal laptops, phones to tablets. Each of these gadgets has their potential importance but in some cases, it also has a lot of negative effects on our physical and emotional health. Prolonged use of computers and cellphones can lead to digital eye strain causing blurred vision, headaches, joint pain, dry eyes, etc.
Excessive use of technology can also lead to finger and wrist strain. Another health challenge is sleep disorder. Having electronic devices in the bedroom makes it hard to drift off when you try to sleep.
Another common problem is emotionally related. Since technology makes it possible to connect to the world, chances are at some point, you might start comparing yourself to others and this can leave you feeling inadequate, depressed or left out. In other words, technology has exposed a lot of people to unnecessary peer pressure.
4. Effects on Relationship
Technology may have reconnected people and encouraged some form of online bond but it has also broken friendships and relationships. Many have neglected their relationships in favor of technology; some have equally given room for technology to affect their work life.
In all of these, one is left to ask, “Is technology a blessing in disguise?”
Technology has made life very easy and comfortable in numerous ways. Some of which have been stated. In the same vein, its negative impact cannot be overemphasized. With this, it is difficult to see technology as a panacea in the 21st century. While technology has solved a lot of problems, it has equally generated a lot of problems but the truth remains that whether good or bad, technology has come to stay.
How it is used or seen totally depends on individuals.
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Leonel has been Teacher at Alliant International University since 2013. He began to write about admission details at Course Discovery.