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When Technology is an Improvement in Our Lives

Updated on October 12, 2011

Not always the case


Note this status line for one Facebook user. “FB sure beats the heck out of reading 5 year old issues of field & stream while waiting at the doctor's office.”

This is certainly an undeniable truth for that individual but technology, or really how we end up using technology, isn’t always an improvement for our lifestyles. We do sit on our “laurels” much more now and they do get wider. Children and adults alike don’t get enough exercise. No doubt we have more current information readily available through the Internet and we waste fewer trees since the need for newspapers and magazines is diminishing simply because we don’t use them as much as our parents did.

Now when we end up needing reading material for those visits to our “favourite reading room” (the one down the hall that we visit after eating a meal or two), magazines, catalogues and newspapers were certainly better than a computer but I do know people that take their laptop into that room to conduct their personal business or to assist in same.

It also shows that little has changed over the years in those waiting rooms that doctors and dentists only provide as a necessity for the poor souls that are about to be received by them when the “professionals” are good and ready, and no sooner. It is quite obvious that the medical profession does not spend much time teaching the concept of excellent customer service based on how patients get treated starting in the waiting room. There are lots of ways to use technology to improve this time but the doctors and dentists mostly focus on the latest technical gizmos that make their practice more profitable.

And there is another concept that I never got. Why do they call it practicing medicine? Wouldn’t you much prefer to find a doctor that isn’t practicing on its patients’ bodies but is in the game with their entire focus on resolving the patients’ medical problems both physical and mental? But it is really only the wealthy that have access to that kind of treatment, I’m afraid.

Ultimately, how technology improves our lives is totally up to how we decide to put it into practice. Plastic drinking bottles might make for safer drinking water but they end up creating their own set of problems. It would seem that filtering already treated tap water might be a better solution for this need in most parts of the world.

If we decide to use technology to improve both our mind and body at the same time, well then we are on the right track. A healthy mind isn’t going to serve us well if the body is ignored and vice versa. Life is all about the right balance and technology has its deserved place in that balance. It has served us well to this point in our evolution. Let’s hope we have learned enough by our mistakes to ensure that this continues. Asbestos, mercury and lead have found replacements in modern technology since we became aware that the human body and mind don’t deal well with those items.

Hopefully, we aren’t creating any new “asbestos technologies” unknowingly. The jury is still out on cellphones and microwave radiation but time will tell as to how detrimental these technologies are to mankind. We do know that how we use the cell phone has more to do with how dangerous it might be to us than just as a communication tool. Text messaging or talking on the cell phone while operating a motor vehicle is definitely an accident waiting to happen. The only debate here is how serious the accident will be for the user and the innocent folks that get caught up in this dangerous practice.

The cellphone will continue to evolve and become safer for sure. Personally, I am waiting for the technology to come along to change the need to type with your thumbs on keyboards that are not large enough for even a mouse to use. And are we going to blind ourselves by looking at screens that are not a comfortable size for viewing on these devices? Sure it isn’t practical to carry around a 40” HDTV screen but wait for the technology to come along to make that somehow practical (a virtual 40” screen?).

Computer technology has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time. It remains to be seen what will happen down the road and how we ultimately put it to use. Meanwhile, we all need to go for a walk, a bike ride, a visit to the gym, play a game of some sort that involves physical activity and interaction with others, etc. Just turn off the technology for a bit. It’s not going to disappear. It will be there when we get back from our physical adventure. It’s there to serve our wishes and not to be our master. It is our life. We should be more in control of it and technology should be there to enrich our lives. It’s all about what we do with it.

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