Monday, March 14, 2011

Technology food for thought

Watching the devastation in Japan, especially regarding the nuclear power plants, has me thinking. Any time you become dependent on technology, you risk losing if the technology fails. This doesn't always happen, but the possibility is always there. Many people have faced losing data when a computer crashes. I lost all my music last semester when I reconfigured my hard drive, and in the age of mp3 files, I didn't have a physical copy of most of the music. A stupid mistake on my part, but it also made me realize my dependence on a piece of technology that is already outdated.

In Japan, the failure of technology is a life-and-death situation, so obviously it is much more serious. Sure, nuclear power plants provide a relatively clean source of energy, but they also come with the potential of nuclear proliferation. How scary is that?! And all it takes is an earthquake to start the problems.

The same type of situation can be seen with gas prices. As a nation we are almost completely reliant on fossil fuels for transportation, most of which is sourced from foreign shores. That can also put us in a place of compromise.

I guess my question is, is the risk associated with technology worth it? Technology provides numerous benefits to society, but do the potential outcomes of dependence on technology outweigh those positives? I don't really have an answer, but this is just my way of saying a re-prioritization might be in order. Maybe it's time to focus on long-term outcomes instead of short-term benefits.

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