It is evident that technological advancement is very central to man; its importance in the life of mankind cannot be overemphasized. Over the years, man, through his wisdom and understanding, has been able to make some obvious progress with the technological materials available to him, in order to make his life so easy and enjoyable. In fact, with the advent of the new phases of advancements in technology, it will be unmistakable to state that any community that ignores this technological development is more or less advancing towards oblivion.
The term “technology” according to the English Encarta dictionary is referred as “application of tools and methods, method of applying technical knowledge and machines and system.” Put differently, technology is the practical application of theoretical sciences in industries. On the other hand, the term advancement, refers to the process of helping something to make progress or succeed; the progress that is made. Technological advancement is man’s initiative and effort to cope with his physical environment-those that nature provides and those that man creates in his attempt to subdue and control the environment by the means of his imagination and ingenuity in the use of available resources. Through the instrumentality of technological advancement, man is liberated from the chains of superstitious, insecurity and physical constraints.
The Impacts of Technological Advancement to Mankind
Technological advancement has undoubtedly contributed to the growth and change of human environment and life. It has led to the emergence of different types of machines with different purposes, which not only assisted man, but also saved time and energy. It has led to the increase in the production of goods and services, and farm produce through mechanized farming. Moreover, communication, road construction and transportation are made possible through various developments in technology. In the medical field, it has led to the production of vaccines, genetic engineering and generation of radiation which are used for the treatment and prevention of diseases. Through technological advancement, via the generation of radiations such as x-rays, gamma rays and so on, the treatments of cancer; such as, thyroid cancer and tumors, became possible. These radiations are not only used for the treatment of cancerous cells in the body, but they are also used to sterilize hospital materials. This has led to the establishment of, using Mcluhan concept, a global village such that everybody knows or at least can know what is happening to others, and therein can influence or be influenced by others. The area of media experienced development by way of the invention and creation of new means of communication like radio, television, printing press etc. All these were made possible through technological advancement. Surely, technological advancement has brought about industrialization, urbanization and other advances which have made human life comfortable and fulfilled in the society.
On the other hand, technological advancement is bedeviled with multifaceted problems and challenges. The negative effect resulting from technological advancement is very dehumanizing in such a way that it may spell disaster for man’s future, environment and existence. One of the major negative effects of technological advancement is ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer, in the atmosphere, protects humans and other life forms on the earth from lethal effects of direct solar ultra-violet radiation. Presently, it is affected by most of the industrial gases generated by heavy industries. These industries eject fumes that are very unfriendly to the environment. They do not only constitute air pollution, but equally constitute water pollution through the discharging of toxic chemicals in the water, thereby, leading to the destruction of the aquatic creatures. In the medical field, the radiations that are generated for the curing of cancerous cells in the body and tumors, can as well, be detrimental to the human cells and tissues, especially those that are located within the treatment area. It has capacity of causing sterility, baldness, skin cancer as well as impotency in man. Moreover, it has made man to be lazy such that man is highly dependent on it for its survival, happiness and comfort. Put differently, technological advancement has enslaved man in such a way that for a small work (such as washing of cloth) to be done, man must rely on the instrumentality of machines in order to accomplish such task.
Furthermore, technological advancement, especially with regards to cloning, poses multifarious threats on human existence. This development in technology (cloning), which is tantamount to playing God or the role of God, has the capacity of ruining our familial as well as socio-communal life. It not only threatens the stability and even elimination of the family as an institution established by God, but it also diminishes the dignity of human life. Additionally, it has reduced the human person into an object, a mere commodity, a means to an end and not an end itself (Kant). It has, to a greater extent, taken man as an object that can be used as an experimental material. A noticeable depletion in our natural treasure of peace, environmental bliss and tranquility due to the diverse noises emerging from the churning of the factory wheels, the running of innumerable motor-vehicles and the allied automobiles, the zooming of air craft as well as the blaring of the radio and television sets. These are nothing but the unintended outcome of technological advancement.
From the points above, it is very apt to say that man, as far as he continues to exist and seek for a happy life, cannot do without technological advancement. Though it has contributed towards enhancing man’s quality of life and standard of living, it has at the same time contributed immensely to the plights of man in its effort to make mankind live well in the society, through its unintended consequences. Thus, this write-up serves as a clarion call for all who crave for the technological advancement that the other side of the coin has to be also weighed.
About the Author
Kingsley Chukwuebuka Ogbete is a final year philosophy Student of the University of Ibadan.
Contact details: phone number: 07062835021 (+2347062835021), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.