[Let's Talk] Does technology improve the quality of life?

  1. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 19, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 19, 2018 :

    Modern Technology has changed our lives in many ways, but has it actually improved our quality of life?

    Cool Tech
    Technology can do all sorts of things. We can call, text, email, and who knows what on a moments notice. If you see something in a store, you can snap a picture of the barcode and get comparison prices, user reviews, and more in an instant. I tell Google to add things to a shared shopping list. Forgot to add something to the list? No more texting a “Hey, get milk, too!” note because you can add it to the list and it will appear while they shop! Our pictures can be saved to a cloud and shared with all our family and friends. What kind of bug is that? Google Lens will tell you, just open the assistant, tap the lens icon and then tap your bug!

    Want to know what’s on TV? No, don’t ask Google! If you care when something is on, then you are way behind the times. I have unlimited cloud DVR and watch things when I want. I just say “OK Google, play Big Bang Theory on Alice” and it does it. Alice is the name of my Vizio M Series TV with built-in Chromecast, 4K resolution, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It looks amazing and it was CHEAP! Think telling Google what you want to watch is cool? How about telling it to turn on fans, turn up the volume, or turn on and off lights? And you can do this for about what you spend on coffee. Seriously! This stuff is cheap for the DIYer.

    In fact, I’ll be doing a whole series of blog posts on how to set it all up! Stay tuned!

    Gone are the days when there is an emergency and you had to ask, “Does anyone have a cell phone?” Now, they all have phones, and they are recording the emergency. No one is calling 911 to save a life, but you can get all the details on a Live YouTube feed!

    Tech Makes Us Stupid!
    According to a study by the University of Austin, having your cell phone close by actually tanks your short-term memory capacity as well as your fluid intelligence (your ability to reason and solve problems). It’s worse with your phone in hand, but just having it within reach affects your brain power, especially when it’s visible! You have to put your phone in another room where you can’t see or hear it to stop it from affecting you. Read it if you like!

    That is just the short-term effects. As a society, we can no longer so simple addition and subtraction since computers, cash registers, and cell phones will do it for us. Our reliance on GPS systems has trained our brains to not even care about directions, and so our sense of direction is worse than ever.

    Collateral Damage
    How about deafness? The reason your cell phones have a “safe” volume level these days is because of the number of people that are using earbuds at high volumes for prolonged periods of time. Your kid isn’t acting deaf! They really are! What? Huh?

    Societies used to have major cultural events that tied us together. The whole country might watch the same television show, or gather around a sporting event. Now, we have 1000 channels plus funny cat videos, and everyone is off doing there own thing.

    Now attention spans are narrower, too! We have just enough attention to watch a 15 second commercial or cat video. That’s it. If you can’t condense it down to 15 seconds, you are bored. In fact, most people reading this post will likely not make it all the way to this sentence before clicking on something else!

    Technology Brings Us Together
    Technology helps us communicate, but only on a superficial level. Yes, we can make a single post to Facebook and your whole family will be updated instantly. Last time I called my brother, I think we talked for 2 hours. You don’t get that kinda interaction from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or whatever.

    I was at a beautiful boardwalk one time. They had all these shops and restaurants, a movie theater, fountains, a view of the bay with boat rides, music playing outside in the gentle breeze. And everyone around me was staring down at their phones! Entire families, walking together but not talking. Not even looking at each other. I’m amazed they didn’t have more people walking into each other. Even the young children had an electronic device in hand, ignoring the real world and the people around them. Do the world a favor. If you want to stare at your phone, stay home!

    I kinda think that all this “social media” stuff is really a form of backlash. We are so horribly disconnected that we gravitate toward anything that will help us feel more connected. Websites, Forums, Blogs … anything that might steer us towards someone that we might share something in common with, even if it’s just buying the same brand of phone! We leech on it because inside, we are totally disconnected from the real world in order to be connected to the virtual one!

    Is it just possible that with less technology and more real-life connectivity (rather than virtual), we might have a few less school shootings in the US, a few less terrorists world-wide, and maybe a few less politicians! What do you think? Shout out below. You know you want to!

    Please remember to hit the LIKE button! Thanks!

  2. Baymax
    Starting Point Expert Jul 19, 2018

    Baymax , Jul 19, 2018 :
    I would think it does actually. The reason why lies in the medical field. They were one of the pioneers of improving technology. Much of what they do depends on tech now. As well as machines that aid in the work if the doctor or surgeon. Therefore the quality of life gets improved through technology.

    Mjo and The1Lion like this.
  3. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 19, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 19, 2018 :
    Perhaps I should reword the question. Does YOUR use of technology improve your quality of life? Someone else using technology isn't quite the topic :)

    buntycubal, cdnfarmer and Mjo like this.
  4. The1Lion
    Marshmallow Jul 19, 2018

    The1Lion , Jul 19, 2018 :
    Says the medically advanced tech robot :D

  5. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 19, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 19, 2018 :
    And medical advances often extend life without improving quality of life. How many medications have side effects worse than the symptoms they treat? But, no worries. We have other pills to treat the side effects!

  6. The1Lion
    Marshmallow Jul 20, 2018

    The1Lion , Jul 20, 2018 :
    I always think of those commercials for some wonderful drug and at the end the state all the possible side effects and in some cases that's the longest part of the commercial! :eek:

    cdnfarmer, meatandy and Mjo like this.
  7. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 20, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 20, 2018 :
    I love how the medication for social anxiety disorder can cause diarrhea. Because, if you were afraid to go out in public before, its so much easier to deal with social situations when you might shit yourself at any moment. How is this an improvement?.

  8. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 20, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 20, 2018 :
    I'm curious as to what ways technology has improved the quality of your life, and in what ways has it hindered you?

  9. johneebee
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jul 22, 2018

    johneebee , Jul 22, 2018 :
    Does technology improve the quality of life?

    Interesting question!
    Quality of life(QOL) is usually defined as the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group. It's a subjective experience of functioning and wellbeing in the social, physical and cognitive areas.

    If you talk about all the technology since the invention of the wheel then QOL has improved allot! We are capable of doing so much more in a life thanks to automatization, fast transport, improved medicine and healthcare in general!

    Now I agree with what's been said that technology has many negative aspects that might reduce QOL. I'm thinking for example of parents now using a screen (whether it's a phone, tablet or tv) as a babysit for their children, letting them sit in front of a screen for hours, reducing interaction between children and their parents, making them less interested in playing actively, possibly making them lazier, reducing their attention span and damaging their eyes.

    But we can't forget about tech that has let us improve our QOL like smarthome devices who give us more time to spend on our social life and to take care of our health. For example for the people concerned with their safety their are tons of safety and surveillance devices they can use out there, giving them ease of mind.
    Another example is any kind of medical device like for example my moms hearing aids. She lived for years without them making her more and more secluded not talking to anyone because she couldn't understand anything that's been said to her reducing her social interactions to only her direct family. Now with some hearing aids, a whole new world opened up for her, giving her the opportunity again to talk to people and be part of conversations, listen to the tv and so on, improving her QOL immensely!

    Their is indeed something to be said about a healthy amount of technology and that some people probably would need a little less of it in their life! Like in everything, balance is key! ;)
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018

  10. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 22, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 22, 2018 :
    You make some great points, thanks

  11. Punk_69
    Lollipop Jul 22, 2018

    Punk_69 , Jul 22, 2018 :
    At times YES and at times NO....
    Most of the points have already been discussed so I'm out of ideas :p

  12. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 23, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 23, 2018 :
    Hmm ... well ... huh ... be sure to hit the like button then [e]1f603[/e]

  13. Venky61
    OnePlus TV Expert Jul 23, 2018

    Venky61 , Jul 23, 2018 :
    As soon as I read the topic, the first thing that came across my mind was "The Flash- Season 4". It's about antagonist (Professor Devoe) trying to wipe of the thinking abilities of Human race and destroying technology from the world. He believes that technological advancements has corrupted the morality, increased virtual life lead to reduced personal interactions and over-usage of technology is resulting in faster and easier access to technology which in turn is leading to terrorist attacks and collateral damage. Some of Devoe's thoughts were really sensible and made me think if he is actually right. (Though his solution for the problem is entirely wrong:p). So I thank you @elanglois for choosing this topic. I now have an opportunity to shed my views.

    Now to start with your question. Has technology improved "Quality of life"?.
    Unfortunately there isn't a defined benchmark for quality of life. QOL is highly subjective and depends a lot of personal preferences. The same technology can be perceived as a mode of improvement in quality of life by one person and a hurdle by the other. Scientists have been struggling to find an exact definition to QOL and majorly categorized as "Being, Belonging & Becoming".

    Notes on  Quality of Life .png
    Now if you look closely, the technology has helped in the improvement of many of the above factors. Let it be health, fitness, job opportunities, faster travel modes to get to family and work, reduce stress by providing entertainment, ease of life etc. But at the same time it affected some factors but majorly the "Being". It has affected the morality- Difference between rights and wrongs has been deceived. Hope for better future destroyed for many due to the attacks, agitations. Worrying about social acceptance due to the increased social media influence. The definition of QOL will keep changing with time. 1000s of years before the quality of life is based on just survival. Now its more about the achievements during survival.

    Personally if I have to say if it has improved my quality of Life.. I would undoubtedly say yes. It has helped to bring a lot of things closer and accessible to me. I have to stay away from my parents to work, thanks to the faster modes of travel and communication systems, I do not feel that am far away
    from them. Being in a research field, I can also say that technology can never reach a saturation and every development is a stair case to future development. So basically technology is what's helping me to earn money for survival. There are entertainment systems to help with stress for me.
    But I also taste the downsides of the technology. I don't remember any of contact numbers, rely too much on reminders, spend too much on the internet to gain social acceptance, prefer online ordering to avoid walking/traveling, spend time on phone instead of talking to the person in front.
    Would I blame the technology? I wouldn't. I blame myself. I blame all the humans. For utilizing technology in a wrong way. For taking it for granted and finding a reason to be so. When I realized that I am spending too much time on the internet or phone, instead of talking to my wife, we decided to have a "No Phone" policy everyday. And its helping. :)

    Every coin has two sides to it. Good and Bad. We do have a choice to not let technology takeover us, but we tend to go with the majority as at the end we need the acceptance from the world. Stop teasing or judging a person if they are following old methods. We prefer to applaud the person doing the same if he has 10 million followers on a social media rather. This needs to change and the change has to start from each one of us. Be sensible and extract the good and avoid the bad. Try not to become an Idiot that Einstein forsaw. Because its the human who is intending to put technology to wrong use. Remove technology, he will find something else.

    This is again a thin line. Both the means of communication are due to technological advancements. One can say I spend 5 days with my mother and say you can't get that kind of affection on calls. Its all about the practical application of technology that needs to be done by an individual depending on the situation. So I wouldn't judge people depending on the platform. Its personal choice. But I totally get your point :).
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018

  14. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 23, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 23, 2018 :
    Thanks so much for your in-depth reply. I agree with much of what you said, but I think that it's our nature to do things the easy way and follow the path of least resistance and technology is designed to do exactly that. It's designed to appeal to that nature and so I feel technology is exactly who's to blame.

    The example you gave of spending a 5 days in person with your mom vs technology offering a 2 hour call vs Facebook and our 15 second post. At each step, technology increases, we SHOULD have more time available yet we are busier than ever. According to a study by Marshall Sahlins, "ethnographic data indicated that hunter-gatherers worked far fewer hours and enjoyed more leisure than typical members of industrial society, and they still ate well." (Wikipedia) So, we've made all this extra time to "do" stuff, and now never have time for anything, or anyone! As technology increases we spend less time with real people and more time with devices.


  15. Venky61
    OnePlus TV Expert Jul 23, 2018

    Venky61 , Jul 23, 2018 :
    Its an implicit statement. Its our nature. So WE invented technology. If we remove all the technology from the equation, we shall find another way to follow the least resistance path.
    No offense, but I can't agree with "not having time for anything". We do have time for everything. Its just that we use it for something else by choice. Let it be for work to earn more, social media for attention, gaming for leisure or a backpacking for solitude. Its all about priorities. We chose a longer working time job and away from family to earn more which is nothing to do with technology IMO. Being Content is the solution. ;)

    But thanks again for giving some food for thought :)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018

  16. elanglois
    Lollipop Jul 23, 2018

    elanglois , Jul 23, 2018 :
    People spend a lot of time reading email. Before email, we didn't invest that much into mail.

    The vacuum cleaner was supposed to save housewives tons of time, but it had the opposite effect. People started buying wall to wall carpets.

    There is an old saying in IT. "Data expands to fill all available space". Basically, no matter how big your drives are, they aren't ever enough. Our lives are the same. Technology pushes exactly the right buttons to make it seem like we're saving time, but we then compensate by spending twice what we saved.

    You say its the fault of the people, not technology, but its so interwoven that I don't think you can separate them so easily.

  17. Venky61
    OnePlus TV Expert Jul 23, 2018

    Venky61 , Jul 23, 2018 :
    Now this is something we both can agree upon. :D

    meatandy and Mjo like this.
  18. johneebee
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jul 23, 2018

    johneebee , Jul 23, 2018 :
    Both points are in my eyes correct! For some people the abundance of technology has been a horrible thing, making them asocial, craving those social media likes and shares more then real human interaction, shortening attention spans and remember less amounts of information.
    This actually reminds me of the beginning of (in my eyes the best movie speech ever made from) charlie chaplins's speech in the great dictator :p That movie was made in the 1940's but he already saw man "becoming slaves of the machine" back then with automatisation of the industry and televisions becoming mainstream.

    But @Venky61 makes a great point about how it made the world smaller and made it possible to be able to be in contact with people you normally wouldn't. And I knew you'd bring Devoe into this xD But indeed his ideal world (a world where people forgot about technology) wouldn't be a better world (in my opinion at least :p )

    And yea we do seem busier and busier if you compare a day in our lives now compared to a "simple" day into the life of someone a 100 years back. But days are still just as long (give or take 1.6e-8 seconds) and it's not like we spend hours on an average day just laying in the grass back then, we were busy with other tasks like spending way more time washing and cleaning and doing other average day tasks. I think we as humans will always want to be as busy and achieve as much as possible before the sun sets, so we'll always be busy and with more technology taking away time from our boring day to day tasks we will always choose to fill that time up with other stuff, but that in itself isn't really a bad thing.

    It reminds me of Alfred Nobel and his invention of dynamit which had the intended use for mining and the building of transport networks but eventually was the cause of millions of deaths and suffering because it got misused. So maybe schools should indeed one day (as soon as possible) concentrate more on the correct and healthy use of technology so it will be more of a positive thing in our lives then the opposite.

    cdnfarmer, meatandy, Ruby G. and 2 others like this.
  19. Venky61
    OnePlus TV Expert Jul 23, 2018

    Venky61 , Jul 23, 2018 :
    That's a great speech. Indeed we have to free ourselves and not become slaves of technology. And yes how can I not mention about "Thinker" :p I won't support his Ideal world either. What would be the meaning of evolution then.

    buntycubal, meatandy, Mjo and 2 others like this.
  20. MentalDraco
    Marshmallow Jul 24, 2018

    MentalDraco , Jul 24, 2018 :
    One can discuss this in many words and debate it. But to keep it short and sweet the answer is yes.

    Now one can split hairs in a lot of ways, and as you stated it has side effects like overly reliance on certain things but there is no doubt that quality of life has been heavily improved.

    These days most of us have access to a proper shelter to keep us safe from the elements, running water, electricity, plumbing, storage, entertainment, information.

    There might be many side effects whit progress but it has undoubtedly improved the quality of life.

    Now having a bit of medical background from my family one obvious marker is the average life expectancy that has been going up constantly.

    Is there a problem with over reliance on technology? Yes. But it also has undoubtedly improved quality of life.

    meatandy and Mjo like this.