Technology is great at solving the problems we don’t want to deal with. What used to be the innovation of automated clothes and dish washing has now become the ability to provide us with navigation and physical location at any spot on this earth. We can free our minds to think about other things while we let the technology handle others. But is all this a good thing?
We often measure the quality of society based on our ability to divert menial tasks to machines. If we can let our Roomba vacuums clean our floors for us, this is generally seen as a good thing. If we have to clean the floors with a rag and water, this is seen as a bad thing. I pose this question to you: if we are able to free ourselves completely from menial tasks, if we can have technology do everything for us so we can effectively do nothing, does it make us happy? If we’re able to gain all this lost time with technology, what are we spending that time on? Are we using it wisely? Are we connecting with people, helping the poor, and trying to better the lives of others, or are we spending 8 hours a day with the TV on?
Technology is a bad thing if we don’t spend the time it gives us wisely. If we’re incapable of using the extra minutes the world has offered to us through technological innovation, perhaps it would be better not to have those spare minutes at all. Could our quality of life be increased if we spent more time becoming well-rounded individuals who enjoy the subtle nuances of daily life? Could we find happiness in washing our dishes by hand, knowing that we’re fortunate to even have such fine china flatware?
As the world continues to progress forward, we must be mindful of what really makes us human. Technology will not fill that gap. It can’t buy us enough time to make us happy. We can always find ways to fill the time it gives us, but can we fill it with things of quality? Things that really count?