The emergence and surge of technology in our everyday lives has caused an immense shift in the functionality, limits, and enjoyment we experience. Of course, this has fantastic benefits. My friend from college can facetime his parents three oceans away. You can check your bank account on the fly by using your thumbprint to log-in. We have devices in our homes that will talk back to us when asked questions. Our cars can do just about anything, including driving themselves – shouts to Elon. The list goes on and on, and surely your mind has taken you to two-or-three others just in the time it took you to read this list. However, is technology a rose - beautiful and treasured, but plagued with thorns, so that all who enjoy and appreciate the sight must be made aware of before touching, lest find out through the harsh reality of a painful lesson?
Technological advancements are often thrown in to free world and left to run their course, with repercussions being addressed once/if issues arise. Prime example one, the demand for personal information that is entrenched in our obsession with social media. Facebook, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, recently set aside $3 billion dollars in advance of looming FTC fines over Facebook account privacy issues. Fines, which have seen predictions of nearly $5B. Another example is Dr. Kristin Ray’s research, of Pittsburgh University, published in the journal Pediatrics citing evidence that the rise in telemedicine has increased the likelihood that children will be prescribed antibiotics, in the absence of adequate consideration of medical guidelines (in tele: over 50%, in urgent care: 42%, in doctor’s office: 31%). Seems relatively harmless, right? Just antibiotics. Wrong. According to Tim Landers, an expert on antibiotic-resistant infections at Ohio State University, easily identifiable consequences include the increase in needless medical bills, the introduction of germs becoming resistant to antibiotics thus mutating into untreatable superbugs, as well as other serious side effects. A final example is the interconnectedness of companies and the dependency that exists. AreoData, an independent vendor specializing in the sharing of flight locations, experienced a glitch in functionality in early April. This miscue led to flight delays in major airlines in massive airports - including Delta and United, in major location such as Atlanta and New York.
The unintended consequences of technological advancements and their widespread use in society are countless. This is not intended to shed negative light on technology, nor issue a blanket skepticism of such outlets. Simply to pursue a more advanced understanding of the reality that surrounds such developments. We must be cautious of the consequential thorns associated with the beautiful petals of technology.