Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do Computers Take Away Our Humanity?

If you don’t read the technology articles in the Wall Street Journal, you should. They’re just a click away. I keep an eye out for news on tablets, smartphones, and e-book readers, myself. I’m writing a novel myself, and it’s important for me to track their development. A thought hit me this morning while I was reading, and it went a lot bigger than screen sizes and sales numbers.

This morning found me reading a piece on ultrabooks. Basically, an ultrabook is a skinny laptop. As I read about which companies were releasing them, and how they thought customers would respond, I had the big thought.

Why in the world are people paying so much scrutiny to pieces of plastic when there is so much death in this world? I’ve also been reading the Wall Street Journal for details on violent clashes in Yemen, the bloody aftermath of the Joplin tornado, and tensions on the Gaza Strip. Human suffering is everywhere. Can we forget these fancy toys and focus on the pain of real people?

That probably won’t happen any time soon. But I couldn’t let that be an answer for a question that big.

After some thought, I got it. Of course! Technology is the very thing that has been helping some of these people in their suffering. Social media has been a huge part of the Arab Spring. Food processing gives us the ability to keep food fresh, and transport it out to poor countries that need it. But what about these fancy laptops that only the rich can buy? They help us to collect and create data and information. If we use it right, we can make a better society that can share this information and enrich its citizens.

It’s our duty to follow technology, then. Not only for a hobby, but because it’s the tools that we use to make society better and better. We can keep helping these other poor countries, and when they come to our level, we can have perfection.

Well, not perfection, but as close as we can get. Doubly good reason to keep an eye on who comes to power in this Arab Spring, by the way. Thoughts?

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