Technology has advanced significantly over the past hundred years or so. Wireless capabilities have become so common place in most parts of the world that there are more people with cellular phones today than there are with land lines, even in the developing world. People are living longer and are more interconnected than ever, and mostly for the better. Developments in vaccines, communications, and medical technology mean people are living healthier, longer, and more productive lives across the globe. Even poorer and less developed parts of the world are being reached by wireless phones and social media.
Technology can be harnessed for any number of reasons, ranging from the life and death reasons to pure entertainment purposes. Entertainment or not, these uses have their place and their value in society. The film industry, for example, has developed special effects so sophisticated that they seem as though they are happening in real life right in front of you. Combined with the newest LED displays it is as if you are in the movie itself. LED screens have made viewing movies and television brighter and clearer and overall more enjoyable. Trying watching one of the latest action movies on an old standard definition television after watching it on an LED screen and you will notice a big difference.
Other advances are aiming to save the world. By extending the reach of polio vaccines across the globe, the world gets closer and closer to eradicating a costly and painfully debilitating disease. We completely eradicated smallpox several decades ago and are hoping to follow suit with polio. Fancy new medical devices and technologies such as pacemakers and stents allow people with a history of heart disease and a risk of stroke or heart attack to live longer and survive them at greater rates than ever before. Plastic surgery can provide valuable reconstructive services to burn victims or cancer patients, allowing them to return to mostly normal lives.
The internet has the ability to connect people instantly across the globe, from big newsworthy events such as hurricanes or earthquakes to having the ability to make immediate financial transactions across countries and time zones. Technology has its downsides too, in that it also has contributed to some of the most sophisticated weapons in the history of the world – weapons that hopefully will never be used against any nation in the future.
In general, though, technological advances are a good thing and can be put to amazing uses. It is possible to talk to someone in rural Africa while also being able to see them on your computer screen while doing so. Ten years ago that could never have been possible, and now it is a regular occurrence. There is a twenty four hour global financial cycle, because there is always some part of the world that is working and trading in stocks and bonds. Understanding how to use technology to the best of our advantage will allow the human race to move forward and ensure its long term survival.