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Technology in the Modern Age

Abstract

One of the most widely discussed topics is the question of how technology has changed the way human beings relate to the environment. Various approaches have been taken to the subject, attempting to explain the implications of technological advancement on the interactions of human beings and nature. Convincing as they may be, most of these pieces of writing attempting to demystify the impact of technology on human-nature relationships are predominantly sentimental. This paper will focus on how various writers have approached the moral and philosophical implications of technological relationships between humans and nature. It will also focus on some of the pieces of writing that are believed to explain the meaning of being a human.

In her book The Second Self, Sherry Turkle dedicates a chapter to explore the relationship between the human mind and the computer. The chapter “Thinking of Yourself as a Machine” delves into the intrigues of why some people believe that the computer will someday be able to think, act and react just as human beings do. Sherry Turkle declares that whatever the reaction of people towards this future possibility is, the fact that is that human beings seek to maintain the natural and the artificial (Turkle, 2005).

Philosophically, Turkle asserts that computers appear to have a mind of their own. Computers only need to be fed with instructions. They can, thereafter, ‘think’ for themselves about what to do with the instructions and eventually will provide the ‘best’ response. The artificial intelligence that computers use to execute commands according to a given set of rules is an indication that computers have their own mind. The fundamental element of all computers is logic; everything else is an accessory to it. Artificial intelligence, therefore, makes the idea that computers may one day advance to a level, on which they would become super intelligent and rival human beings seems conceivable.

The result of this knowledge is paranoia. Although people do not fully understand how the human mind works, they agree that the great similarity in the ways computers execute commands and the one in which human beings react to stimuli around them engenders the possibility that computers can be used to unravel the mysteries of the mind. We, humans, can barely define what is meant by consciousness; much less tell what leads to it (Searle, 2012). Little as we know about the human brain, we agree that computers behave in an astonishingly similar fashion as it. This causes a silent fear and panic among human beings. We are not sure that we are evolving into more intelligent beings, but there is no doubt that artificial intelligence is advancing by the day. Hence, human beings fear that they run the risk of being supplanted by computers in future.

In 1914 Samuel Lilley proclaimed that history is the science of the future. By this, we study history to draw plans for the future. The greatest lesson we can learn from history is that there is nothing impossible (Lilley, 2012). Samuel Lilley’s philosophical view of the notion of impossibility puts into perspective the fact that that there are no limits for the possibilities that artificial intelligence presents. One of such possibilities that it has been repeatedly suggesting is the alternative that computers might evolve into creatures with their own minds, threatening human existence.

History has proved that when human beings are facing the issues that threatens the normal procedures, traditions and routines they are familiar with, scientific issues cease being merely scientific; they become moral issues (Schlosser, 2012). As such, the moral authority of developing technology to such a level that it rivals human superiority has been questioned. Such technological advancement has been the object of sharp criticism from various corners in the intellectual arena. Scholars and literature gurus have given numerous examples of the adverse effects of technological advancement.

One frequently targeted area of criticism is war. Poets have written treatises that paint the world wars as a favorable platform to exercise the negative side of technology (Roberts, 2012). Some poems have, with considerable success, painted a very grim picture of the impact technological advancement as regards war. This has given pessimists leeway to criticize technology and pronounce it incompatible with the future of the human race.

Conclusion

The aim of technological advancement is predominantly to aid human beings by making difficult tasks easier. However, as technology becomes more complex, a fear that technology could one day grow out of human control and lead to the jeopardy of human life has cropped up among people. This has raised the question of whether the current level of technological advancement is morally acceptable. The implications of this to the modern society are that technology will inevitably take a slower pace in advancement. However, it seems unlikely that technological progress will come to a halt altogether. On the contrary, this is the season when it is at its peak! That notwithstanding, the numerous hurdles that have been placed on the way of technological advancement moral and philosophical issues will undoubtedly cause the pace of technological advancement to recede.