Technological Strides and their Effect on Human Psyche
By Rafiq Ebrahim
Glendale Heights, IL

 

There have been moments that have changed the way we think, that have stunned humanity, that have changed the very civilization in history. Late twentieth century and the beginning of twenty-first century have led to realization the dreams of scientists, researchers and technological gurus, changing the life of man, making him see and experience things he never believed in the past. Man has crossed the frontiers of unknown spheres, enjoying the benefits of multitude advancement, and finding cures to many diseases once considered incurable.

We have seen tremendous transformations in every field of human existence. Artificial intelligence, Nanotechnology and Genetic Engineering have made new headways. Robots are matching human intelligence to perform many tasks. In military operations they are doing the dangerous work of locating mine fields and defusing them. Robots may as well serve as a shield against possible attacks from the enemy.

Animal cloning has been successfully done. DNA strands are merged from two different kinds of animals to produce a new kind of animal, but man is still unable to create a perfect clone. All efforts to clone a human being have failed, proving that you can’t play God.

Computers, internet devises, wireless communications and other gadgets provide all the information needed. More and more extra-efficient chips are being made. Ultra-dense seven nanometer chips, designed by IBM, are more powerful than any other.

In the field of energy, all efforts are being made to harness cost-efficient sources of energy like solar, wind, clean coal, geo thermal, biomass and nuclear, making it possible to provide electricity to even the remotest villages

On the roads we see a multitude of modern cars that do not need gas – or even electrical back-up in some cases. Soon Hydrogen-powered vehicles would be coming out of factories soon.

Details and challenges of life in space have come to light. The planet Mars appears within reach. The discovery of ‘Mega Earth” named Kepler-110, a planet double the size and seventeen times heavier than earth, has been of keen interest to space explorers. Much information about Pluto has been revealed. The planet has no crest on the outside, but there are a number of ice mountains which show the possibility of water there, and perhaps life too.

Glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland are fast melting to accelerate global warming. In spite of tremendous efforts, we are still unable to counter the effects of global warming. Zero-emission vehicles, low emission factories and industrial units, environmental regulations devised to sharply cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from power plants help combating weather effects to a certain extent only.

This technological age boasts of some amazing inventions; some already in use and some in the pipeline.

Cell Transplantation grows new organs, enabling even a paralyzed person to walk again. Robots contribute in the field of medicine, making a doctor’s job easier.Da Vinci Surgery Robotsare now common in most hospitals and facilitate complex surgeries, using the minimally invasive approach. 3-D Printers, Abicor (fully functional artificial heart), Exacto (self-guided bullet that can change direction mid-flight to seek a target) are a few examples.

Amidst all this, where does a common man of yester age stand? He may have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, but if he is not well-versed in the use of computers, he is simply wondering in a maze, feeling himself incompetent and uneducated in today’s world.

For most of us, all this vast technological advancement has, no doubt, proved a boon, making life easier, providing more comforts and helping people to even live longer, continuously changing business landscapes and redefining humanity. But with all the advantages, a common man’s mind is disturbed. Trying to cope with the plethora of new information, inventions and constant developments and changes, man in general remains distracted, disrupted and detached from the reality of human bondage. This technological age has diverted human minds to machines, to their computers, I pad, smart phones and other newly-developed electronic devises.

The most relevant adverse effect on humanity is that man’s finer feelings are greatly replaced with instincts to wonder in the mechanics of the ever-changing technology. He hardly has enough time or inclination to spend quality time with his family. The children are on their own, not receiving proper guidance, love and attention from parents. They attend schools and universities, mingle with other children, get mechanical instructions and education from teachers, bury themselves in computers, visit different websites, occasionally unhealthy and adult ones, and put a lot of stress on their nascent minds which they seldom use, because computers provide them with the answers they need.

Children and even adults watch movies which have robotic characters, demonic figures, violent and unbelievable actions and loud sounds. Hence, some of the children, having grown up develop abnormal and violent mental traits. We have seen so many incidents where young individuals commit violent crimes, like shooting and killing innocent people without any motive, except to satisfy their desire for violence. The age has shaken the human mind. No wonder there are more and more psychiatrists and psychotherapists with a thriving rush of patients.

Someone pointed out, “Relationships these days are harder because conversations become texting, arguments become phone calls and feelings become status updates.”

Someone also said, “I am stuck in a generation where loyalty is just a tattoo, love is just a quote, happiness is a myth, lying is the new truth and being fake is a lifestyle.”

Maybe in the years to come, all efforts would be made to curtail violent material on electronic and social media and modify human thinking, instill finer feelings among the family members and friends. Perhaps they may slow down constant technological strides and concentrate more on the welfare of the human psyche.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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