Letter: Progress and technology

Letter writer Ryan Hurley argues technology halts human progress. 

Letter writer Ryan Hurley argues technology halts human progress. 

Ryan Hurley

Ask almost anyone in the street about progress; they tend to associate that word with a positive outlook. On the surface, it makes sense. Isn’t an iPhone 12 better than an iPhone 6? When you look deeper at every level, you can see that some progress hurts the everyday citizen. When progress hurts the average person, we must stand athwart to stop it.

Let us look at an example of technology that will soon be used to entirely replace workers: the self-checkout. You see these whenever you go into stores, many of which are gradually becoming more focused on increasing the number of machines compared to humans. This little scanner is undoubtedly a cool thing; you can quickly scan your items and be on your way. The problem comes with these machines replacing the workers who traditionally cashiered.

Technology has not always been regarded as a net positive, and many everyday things have served to isolate us and keep us automized. The internet serves many purposes but also creates issues of people isolating themselves. In Japan, they have a name for people who withdraw from society: hikikomori. These people have been without actual human interaction for months, as they prefer the virtual world.

Increasingly, people are spending hours and hours of every day on their phones and computers. People will go to work on their laptops and look forward to getting back home so they can look at their laptops. This, of course, also happened in the old days with television and radio but is only increasing as we globalize. In the old days, channels were limited; this allowed for a sense of community wherein most households watched the same few television channels. Now, so many subcultures have popped up on the internet, only further dividing people.

Looking at these devices’ effects, we can plainly see that this so-called “progress” has done little to help regular people. People are losing their jobs, becoming more reclusive and these small machines have much to blame for it. The solution is to reject consumerism and become more self-sufficient. We have these wonder devices in our pocket that can transmit unlimited amounts of information, it’s time for us to use it. Learn to better yourself in any way possible; learn to become self-dependent.

Ryan Hurley is a junior in marketing and the president of Iowa State College Republicans.