Is technology actually doing more good than harm?

Is technology a huge part in our lives, or are we neglecting everything else because of it?

I stumbled into a video on Facebook about the Corning Glass. Here’s a summary of the video:

Our lives will one day revolve around the usage of transparent glass tablets. It will change the way we learn in school and at the outdoors, it will be the method in which our daily outfits are picked and it will improve medical technology by a vast amount.

Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFiEWHdFSsQ

Is it bogus? Is it graphics illustration at its best? Or could it be actualized in 30 years? This post will be nothing about the Corning Glass. Instead, here’s a story: one night in Langkawi island (which is located in the northern part of Malaysia), our classmates walked from our hotel to a reggae embassy. Moon bathing us with its shining beauty? Check. Sound of waves along the shore of the beach? Check. Live band playing? Check. That moment, that place, that atmosphere was the epitome of utter tranquility and nothing else could surpass how relaxed one could possibly be. As I was lying down on the mattress staring up at the moon and its neighboring clouds, brief flashes of light invaded periphery of my eyes. I rose to find a group of Chinese-speaking tourists dressed in flowery shirts of bright colors posing for pictures with their shisha hookahs. I observed them for a while and felt good about them for not being afraid to be totally Asian tourists: pose with everything and post their pictures on Instagram with billions of ridiculous-sounding tags. A brief 5-minute period later, they weren’t as enthusiastic as they were. That’s because all 7 of them were busy with their phones. You’re at a beach with live reggae music being played under the moonlight and the phone seems more important?

I’m afraid of technology, fearing that it destroys more human relationships than it creates. I fear it becomes the definition of us, when technology becomes all of us and there’s nothing else more worth doing than meddling with our handheld devices. I’m scared that my sister is too concerned about level-ing up in Candy Crush Saga as it appears to her as being more important than reading or writing. I’m afraid technology overshadows the arts because in Malaysia, art doesn’t play a part in vital economic growth but technology does. So why care about performance arts when we have our iPads with us the whole time even on vacations we go on to ‘get ourselves away from the hectic lifestyles we have temporarily’. Why bother meeting friends in the city when we’re always preoccupied with socializing on mini tablets with those who are far away?

Phones used to be for interacting with those who are distant from us. Now even when we’re close to each other physically, we choose to interact with our phones (which we use to contact and reunite with our friends and family) more. The Corning Glass might be the next big thing. It may change the way education works, it may revolutionize the conservation of reserve parks and it may affect the way we exploit, I mean use our resources but imagine what would happen if books, tangible musical instruments and the warmth of natural sunlight vanished.

I know. “This is ridiculous Shaun, you’re crazy!” There’s no way technology would go that far. There’s no way it will cause such mayhem. Maybe it won’t.

Maybe it will.

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