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Technology and Daily Life: Are we becoming less human?

A lecturer asks a difficult question. The class is silent. You quickly google it up. Happily
raise your hand and answer. Correct! says the teacher. You nailed it. Now everybody thinks you
are an expert. But are you?
That was one of many scenarios found in learning environment today. Even in every MIS
class so far, this situation happened. How does that prove students are learning and not just
knowing? Did technology help us or let us just put the spoon and fork on the table without the
need to do all the preparation for our meal? A lot of studies had been conducted to prove advantages
and disadvantages of technology. The whole point of technology is to assist human in their daily
life. With this assistance, human being is able to live an efficient and effective life. But how far is
human dependency on technology affect their intelligence, creativity, sense as well as feelings?
According to statisticbrain.com (2015), the annual number of searches using Google were
2.1 trillion in 2014 compared to 3 million when it just started in 1998. In other word, 5.7 billion
searches were done using Google per day in 2014; 585 thousand times more than in 1998. This
statistic shows how vastly we have become dependent on the internet for information. People
nowadays quickly search for information rather than think and come up with possible answers. The
important thing nowadays is how fast you get the answer rather than how do you actually get the
answer. The path towards forming the answer is not important anymore. Rather, the end result is the
only thing that matter. Nicholas Carr (2010) has stated in the Wall Street Journal that internet has
made comprehension of information less valuable towards human being. This has a huge cognitive
impact as people does not dwell on the depth of an issue or topic thus produces shallow and
superficial thinkers.
How does this affect the brain? Going deep into a subject need focus and concentration. This
will makes us remember and urge us to think in order to comprehend. Along the way, we come up
with all sorts of hypothesises, ideas and thoughts that later would turn into answers or evolve into
another argument for discussion. This is how a topic evolve. This is how our life evolve. Getting the
answer straight away from the internet wont give the freedom to think about the topic. The velocity
of information grasp does not allow critical thinking and reasoning. We would be satisfied by
getting the answer and that is it. We wont even remember the topic later as information had only
reached our short term memory. What we retain in our mind is only this: where did we get the
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answer. But that is also a possible lost. Information stored in long term memory stimulate critical
thinking which is important in understanding and interacting with our surrounding
(academicearth.org, 2015). It is inarguable that dependency on technology pose a huge threat
towards our critical thinking ability thus contribute to declining in problem solving and reasoning
skills.
Technology provides huge environment for learning. Whatever that were exclusives are now
available to anyone interested. Skills like using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop can be freely
learned through social media, blogs and websites where tutorials are rendered in audio, video and
textual format. People can interact with their teachers in real-time using chat applications, e-mails
and online forms. The knowledge being shared is current and this creates an abundance of highly
skilled individuals who can perform better or the least at par with current professionals.
People are becoming more and more creative thanks to the advancement of technology.
High technology machines as well as applications are developed to help in studies, research and
development. This in turn nurture a society of creators and developers evident with innovations and
creations. Technology can be creatively manipulated to generate new products and services thus
provide an out-of-norm cause-effect chronology where things are produced first and demanded
later. This is what pioneers environment creates with examples such as Apple Inc and French Paper
Co.

In such a competitive environment, people becomes more and more creative in making
money. Some would do anything to survive. Values and ethics has repeatedly been jeopardised
thanks to the ambiguous line between innovation and imitation. On the side of demands; consumers
grow to want more instead to just satisfy their need. Suppliers thus argue that they are just
performing their duties to satisfy those wants and needs. Both however are just based on greed.
According to International Chamber of Commerce (ICC, 2015), fake product industry is
expected to reach $1.7 trillion this year; a 2% of world economy output and 10% of goods sold.
Fake product has brought a great impact to the economy of Malaysia as we have suffered about
$772.5 millions of losses due to their existence in the market. The quality of fake products are of
high precision to the original goods. This shows that technology has been manipulated for the
wrong causes. Imitations are made easy, creating a society with a tendency to imitate rather than
becoming a creator. In other word, we are becoming less and less creative. In terms of obligation,
organisations had lost their mission to nurture creativity as it is far more feasible to imitate than to
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create. The industry thus cultivates greediness and untrustworthiness becomes a norm. As integrity
and originality lose their meaning, value held by society has evidently depleted. We have become
modernised by technology yet dumbed by what technology brings; ease. However strict the
regulation has and will become, it cannot save the morale crumble of the society. Ultimately, of all
deficits and debts, a nation will fall out of her failure to nurture integrity and governing human.
Mobile technology has become the basis of advancement in social media and vice versa.
Nowadays, more people are meeting online rather than having a real life relationship. In a way,
mobile technology enables human to constantly communicate. It lifts the barrier of distance and
culture as people from two different sides of the world can now communicate instantly. A social
networking fact sheet released by Pew Research Center stated that as of January 2014, 74% of
online adults do use social networking sites (n.d.). Latest information from Statistical Portal (n.d.)
shows that monthly active users of Facebook has reached 1.44 billion in the first quarter of 2015.
Evidently, people are spending more time online that they neglect basic human needs for a real
relationship. This will create a gap in between family members or individual of society resulting in
loneliness and depression. People will care less about their surrounding as their life revolves around
virtual reality.
In contrast, the statistics mentioned above could indicate that people may have become more
sociable. Result of a study by John A. Bargh and Katelyn Y.A. McKenna (2004) conclude that the
internet does not contribute to loneliness and depression. It is the importance of face-to-face
relationship that is evolving through time and technology advancement. People need to study how
relationships are formed thus internet is just an alternative platform of interaction without the
traditional starters of verbal interaction and physical proximity. Technology has a noble role of
providing social support towards those in need.
Technology has indeed assist human in their daily life. One of the example is how Ireland
manipulate Internet of Things to build-up their energy consumption system in an effort to mitigate
the use of bio-diesel energy. The system decides for itself on how much energy to be used by the
citizens in a given time so that the sources of energy will always be in-balance. In May 2012, the
Ministry of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources have also come up with a strategy for
renewable energy 2012-2020 towards 100% renewable energy system. As what Dr John Barrett
(2012) said in a TEDxCIT Conference if we can better manage energy, perhaps we can finally get a
grip at the death wish that we seem to have for our planets climate.
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Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has produced many robotic machinery that help
human in all aspect of life. Movies such as AI shows us how AI can be mass-used for a better
future. However, AI could be a threat to human existence (Elon Musk, n.d.). Creating a machine
with an ability to reason itself could be disastrous as they; like human, would learn to fight for their
right to exist and demand for their wants and needs. On another perspective, human will become
less productive as all the work can be done by autonomous robots. Mass usage of AI robots will
increase human unemployment rate as robots are more efficient and programmed to strictly follow
orders.
Another serious issues nowadays is technology creates unnecessary habits and wants. Japan
has come up with sex dolls that can function much like human. Using artificial intelligence, they
created robots with the same texture as human and can respond automatically. This would only
create and satisfy social illness within the society. In this case, morale value of society decreases
thanks to the advancement of AI.
With rapid advancement, more and more people are attached to technology. Children were
exposed to gadgets and technology tools since they were babies! Study (Lin et. al, 2012) has shown
that with tremendous time allocation to technology such as Internet, people can develop mental
metamorphosis similar to the effect of drug and alcohol dependance (as cited in Tyler M. , 2014).
This in turn will cause addiction as what experienced by video gamers, mobile device addicts and
social media addicts. They disengaged with social life, feel agitated, irritable and depressed without
their gadgets and connection. These symptoms are self-disruptive as development of compulsive
behaviour can further cause health complication such as toxic-stress, headache and brain-drained,
insomnia and heart attack (Soong J., n.d.).
Technology addicts feel disconnected to life without their gadgets and connection thus
cannot function without those. Addiction is not yet a diagnosable condition and people tend to hide
their addiction (Tyler M., 2014). With the growing advancement of technology, more and more
people will unconsciously fall into addiction. The technology that should serve us have become the
master of our life. Without control and intervention, a society of technology servants will ultimately
becomes reality.
Conclusion
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It is not the fault of the weapon but how you use the weapon. Everything that is given to us
falls under our better judgement to use and manipulate them. It is not just the matter of using it for
good but the length and depth of using technology is a crucial matter in managing life. It is a fact
that we are not perfect thus create means to help us reach the perfect life according to each of our
par. But with our imperfection, God honours us as His caliph on earth (Quran, 30:2). Human has the
ability to learn, choose and build. That is why in terms of technology, it is not its existence that
makes us less human but the choices we made mould us into intelligence, creative being or a piece
of trash. It is because we have emotions and feelings that we can and should choose wisely how we
are using the technology. Assisted or not doesnt make us more or less a human. The way we choose
does.