TECHNOLOGY—FRIEND OR FOE?

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Technology has long been the bane of my existence. When the college required that instructors post their syllabi on-line, I had to have a student aide virtually (no pun intended) do it for me! However, this IS the age of technology. Those who don’t have at least a bit of a handle on that entity are likely to be considered troglodytes—or worse. The whole world is ruled by computers these days.

Alvin Toffler once wrote a book, The Third Wave, in which he discussed three “waves” of human development. The first was the agricultural revolution when man became a food producer rather than a food gatherer. The second was the industrial revolution when manufacturing moved from homes to factories. The third is the age of technology. Toffler wrote the book in the 70s, I think, and it has resonated with me more and more over the years. In fact, I need to reread it.

Technology has given us the age of information. Information overload, in fact. Google is trying to record every book ever published—that is, they were doing so until, as I understand it, they ran into a snag with copyright laws. In any event, there is more information at one’s fingertips (literally: just put your fingers to the keyboard!) than any one person can hope to command. A parallel to this is, I think, the transformation of American culture from being a manufacturing culture to a service-oriented culture—basically, that is. We shall always have to produce “goods” to a great extent—we still need to eat and drive and furnish our homes—but it seems to me that more and more the job openings are in service areas. And this change-over appears to be part and parcel of the huge issue of lack of jobs in today’s economy. Such monumental turn-arounds in culture are always accompanied by social and economic unrest. However, I’m sure that idea offers little comfort to folks standing in unemployment lines!

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