Technology – The Price of Convenience or The Cure For It?

Author

Gil Laroya

March 24, 2014

Its 1:00pm on a Monday, and I'm chewing away on a project at my current start up. Already having skipped breakfast, and now running through my lunch hour, my brain tells me it's time for some sort of nutrient to feed my mental engine. So, what's convenient?

My coworkers laugh at me, and make references to poison and carcinogens as I shove bundles of McDonald's french fries into my mouth. Convenience always seems to be the answer to everything in America, whether it's a way to share data (Dropbox), a way to watch movies from a smartphone (NetFlix), or to fill your stomach with something that resembles nutrition (sorry Ronald).

When society first embarked on the journey of technology, it was all about doing things better, faster, cheaper, and easier; all monikers of convenience. Before technology, tasks were very manual, and very hand-to-mouth. Picture Farmer John picking cherries at a rate of about a bushel every 3-4 hours, and it's easy to see why he would want something better.

But when technology became more prevalent and mainstream, we started to look at it more as a cool way to get stuff with little or no effort. We plugged technology into fast food, making it even faster (albeit not any healthier). We plugged technology into mobile phones, adding capability for internet access, email, and even file sharing. We even leveraged technology in child and pet care, with GPS buzzers to warned us when little Billy wandered off in a crowd, or Twitter-enabled collars so that even Fido could tweet his favorite bark to his band of online followers.

So does technology offer a cure for convenience? Is convenience so bad that we need technology to save us?

The saving grace of technology is that we can in fact use it for good, not just for evil. We have smartphone apps that tell us how far we've walked, or how many calories we've inhaled. We have internet technologies that connect us with doctors, and enable real-time monitoring of health conditions. And technology as a basic enabler has allowed us to turn innovative, positive ideas into real items, through technologies like carbon fiber composite materials which make things stronger yet lighter weight, to manufacturing methods like 3D printing which can make objects in hours instead of days.

Now that I've digested 2 days worth of fat and sodium, I realize that maybe technology doesn't really "help" in some areas, like fast food...

Because eating unhealthy was never meant to be product of technology - - no matter how convenient it is...

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