Nothing can be explained enough about the newest generation without the mention of technology. Gen Y or Millennials have grown up with technology in their life, and they have become masters of technology because it is one of the important tools of humanity. Achieving the profound development of technology, our life as Millennials has become more convenient and flexible compared with the past. However, many skeptics against technology argue that the development of digital technology is reducing the intellectual power of humans. It sounds reasonable and deserving to blame technology because recently there are so many serious problems resulting from the misuse of technology. For example, the mechanization of human life brings a lack of creativity and intellectual brainstorming by depending on the computer too much. However, can humans ascribe those problems only to technology? How about considering productive effects from the development of technology in relation to the extension of knowledge? I totally disagree with the claim of skeptics against technology. That is, the development of technology gives us much more than just a convenient life. Digital technology is the driving force of innovation which advances existing technology and knowledge.
First of all, chasing convenience can be a good motivation to make humans think more about broadening knowledge. Humanity has innovated and improved many technologies to make their life more efficient and convenient. We achieved various successful results, and it brought us dramatic changes in our routine life, such as computers with software or smart phones in our hand. Nobody can deny this fact. At this point, did humans stop thinking about the development of technology because they previously accomplished monumental development? They didn’t. Rather, humans continue to think more passionately to update previous technology for the next generation. The desire of humanity toward knowledge is endless, and it motivates them to study in different and new ways. They conduct scientific experiments constantly by using digital machines to produce more pragmatic and sophisticated techniques. Unlike the argument that the development of technology reduces human’s intellectual power, it generates summative brainstorming in human’s intelligence. It is the motivation for human to seek a higher level of knowledge, that is, the development of technology encourages human’s intellectual activity.
Second, digital technology provides us with an effective and useful way to approach knowledge. For example, we can compare the way problems are solved between South Korea and the U.S.A. The big difference of solving mathematical problems between the two countries is whether students usually use an electronic calculator or not. Korean students can’t use any kind of calculator in math class and during exams American students are free to use them to solve problems. Of course, not using calculators makes students activate their brain. However, instead of practicing numerical processes repeatedly, American students save that time by using calculators, which is one example of digital technology. They don’t need to spend a long time calculating all the numbers by themselves. As a result, they learn how to approach a mathematical problem with various ways to reach the answer, not focusing on just calculating. Likewise, digital technology is not just a simple and one-dimensional method which debases our brain’s ability. Pursuing convenience and efficiency brings spare time enough to find a new way to see the same problem with different perspectives. It produces much more possibilities, making time flexible and economic.
Also, depending on digital technology cannot be seen as logical evidence of ruining human brains. Many people predict that humans will be ‘stupid’ without technology. For instance, most people in our generation don’t remember the phone numbers of friends, family and even their own number because they can save all the numbers in a cell phone directory or other digital materials. In this case, technology becomes a necessary item which handicaps the human brain as skeptics say. However, these negative cases are very trivial. The advantages of digital technology greatly outweigh the disadvantages. Instead of remembering all phone numbers, we can save tons of information and documents in a tiny memory disk and use them very usefully at home, workplace and even school. Making helpful use of digital technology depends on the users. It is a matter of how to use digital technology properly, being careful to use it as a valuable tool. Digital technology is absolutely occupying quite a big part of human life and we should accept that humans continue to rely on it for diverse tasks. Even so, it is not everything which can substitute for a human brain but just a tool and a method for convenience. Therefore, making a sweeping criticism about relying on technology is not persuasive enough.
Although many negative side effects are related with digital technology, it is not the problem of technology itself - especially, the concern about a decline of ability of human brain is valueless for this reason. The proper usage of technology is totally up to people who are the users of it. As humans living in the 21st digital century, we should broaden our perspective toward using technology. To avoid subordination to technology, humans should be more wise and intelligent about dealing with exploding techniques and digital machines. They are doing well in many fields with the advantages of technology such as the medical field, industry, and science. For these reasons, I have the objection to skeptics who criticize the existence of technology itself and consider it as a major factor of many social problems. In addition, the development of technology can be a good stepping stone to expand our knowledge and possibilities like invention of higher-level techniques or saving time to solve some problems by using digital machines including electronic calculators. Based on the established digital technology as a stepping stone, humanity is still trying to take a leap forward intelligently. As a result, the development of technology is not reducing brain work, and it is not spoiling our brain, either. It motivates humans to study flexibly and show the possibility for various areas. We should keep in mind the development of technology as a crucial source of new innovations and knowledge.
By Oh Ro-ra, Junior, Dept. of English Language and Literature, Chonnam National University