Personal Technology: Good or Bad?

Omnipresent technology presents an incredible opportunity for technological advancement in our society. However, as stated by Diane P. Michelfelder (2000), this technology also poses a treat to our “social freedom, individual autonomy, and personal privacy” (p. 273). We must consider omnipresent and personal technology through an ethical lens in order to best protect our individuality while exploring everything technology can do for us.

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One positive aspect to consider is how omnipresent technology benefits our relationships with others. Michelfelder uses the example of the telephone and examines it though the lens of feminist ethics. A common stereotype is that women have long, meaningless conversations with one another over the phone. The reality is they are building relationships and expressing care for one another through these conversations (p. 279). In this case, technology provides greater access to communication with others. I also think this applies to teens and social media. The general stereotype is teenagers spend more time on their cellphones than face-to-face with their friends and family. While this is certainly true in some cases, I think for the most part my generation still greatly values their relationships with one another. Social media is a great way to stay connected with people you don’t get the chance to see often and show them you care, much like talking on the phone.

However, omnipresent technology also poses a threat to our security and privacy. Anything we do online is out there for anyone to see and possibly take advantage of. Internet scams, viruses, and the spread of false information are very common. Personally, I have had some bizarre experiences with talking about something with my friends, and minutes later having an ad come up for that exact thing on my social media. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it makes me think about how little we actually know about our online privacy. I think society should be concerned about the risks that come with omnipresent technology; however, I also think it would be difficult to restrict use of this technology. How would we go about doing that without infringing upon peoples’ rights? Perhaps the best thing we can do as a society is educate ourselves on the dangers of omnipresent technology such as the internet, and be reasonably cautious when using it.

Regarding the rise of personal robots video, I was interested by Cynthia Breazeal’s idea that robots can be used as social technology. The examples she gave of social technology development sound useful and beneficial to our society. I particularly enjoyed the robots that used mixed reality to make technology interactive and playful for kids. As someone who wants to be a teacher someday, I can already see how cool that would be to use in a classroom! While widespread use of these robots seems far away right now, I think they are a promising look into our future.

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