Whether we make real progress is debatable; as that depends on how we define “progress”. But we are overtaken by technology that is increasingly influencing our lives, even the diehard technophobic are not spared. In fact, either we embrace it or get ostracized and even cease to exist. Despite the benefits that we enjoy through technology, which makes our lives easier and comfortable; are we not getting more and more enslaved by our obsession with it at the cost of everything else that give enduring sustenance to our lives?
The human touch is getting replaced by inanimate automation with no feelings; a one way conversation like with some teenagers! We strain our ears and other senses for response, but given little choices to get our concerns cleared. In a life of eternal hurry, these impersonal contraptions add to our misery. Only those, who use them often and find time to keep up with the progress, are able to adapt easily but for most majority, it becomes a struggle with endless updates and change of password etc. One gets a feeling that it is becoming technology for its own sake, with cosmetic changes, forcing many to part with their hard-earned money.
The pursuit of technology might benefit beyond what we see in black and white at the moment. Of course, we could even inch closer to destruction if they are used negatively, as the scope of damage will also multiply; the fight between the good and evil is an ongoing process, with the former unable to annihilate the latter. The evil forces are like multi-headed hydras that regenerates no end; another sad fact of life! We can never let our guard down, or could pay the ultimate price with the mighty destructive forces perpetrating their evil deeds.
What use technology if it cannot address the very basic issues of life and death? Taken in totality, the beneficial effects are still cosmetic. Enormous resources are diverted both in terms of materials and the best talents into areas that benefit only the minority. In fact, such neglect to the life and death issues of the downtrodden gets overlooked by the glitz of technology application that benefits and attracts the few. Those issues that are ignored include poverty, health care, and wrong allocation of scarce resources. The profit motive decides most decisions and even some jobs, that give meaning and succor to the common man, are getting replaced with technology. Most not only gets lost but also find their lives turned topsy-turvy.
The glitz associated with advances in technology looks like getting accelerated as the possibilities, especially in entertainment sector, will take our breath away. Many would aspire to acquire the latest and even countries compete to outdo each other, to get out of the block faster than others. Already, China has emerged as a key player, controlling supplies of rare earth minerals; the essential components in smart phones, hybrid batteries, and other consumer electronics. The recent spat between China and Japan over disputed islands highlighted the fall-outs, as China held back their supplies. Not only Japan, but the whole world awoke to the realities of near total dependency on China, who clearly flexed its muscles to get its way.
It is time the world got its priorities right, to put the interest of the majority common man above profits. We should take a long term view than hope for the trickle-down effect of growth in GDP to benefit them in the long term. The Gini coefficient is rising, clearly indicating that economic growth benefits only the few privileged. Also, mindless exploitation of resources results in further impoverishment of the majority poor. It is the bounden duty of governments to take proactive steps to right the wrongs and nip the wrong turns in the bud. It is only time before the rest will catch-up to get the latest gadgets by fair means or foul, neglecting the basic values of thrift that sustained many societies from going overboard. It was often repeated that money should be our slave and not the other way around; similarly we should make course corrections to get technology to benefit us than just allow it to run amuck beyond our control. The side effects are clearly visible by our failing to rein in the mad race. We owe to our future generations to moderate our greed.