In a previous article (5 Dangers of Our Devices), we looked at five ways technology may negatively affect us. But technology is not all bad. Even with the dangers, technology offers each of us significant benefits.
Technology has become ingrained into average American lifestyle. The majority of Americans have smartphones, laptops and social media profiles. Technological aptitude is expected for many jobs. Students, some as young as elementary school, are being introduced to electronic devices so that they may be proficient with them. Just as you must be aware of the dangers associated with technology, you must also see the benefits so that you can use technology well.
Here are five benefits that technology provides for us.
We can use our technology in appropriate ways that contribute to human flourishing and glorify God.
1. Efficiency and speed
As we noted in the previous article, our devices’ processing speeds are unfathomably fast. For example, our phones are powerful little devices that combine many other functions into one (you can make calls, text, browse the Internet, use a calculator, take pictures, etc.). Plus, the average home desktop computer or laptop has tremendous processing power compared to even some of the best computers decades ago.
This amazing processing power allows you to complete a lot of work in a short amount of time. Instead of relying on tedious hand-recorded data or slow mathematical calculations, our computers can store and process data in the blink of an eye. What would have taken weeks now takes seconds. This efficiency and speed saves us enormous amounts of time.
2. Increased life expectancy and quality of life
As technology progresses, our quality of life improves and our life expectancy tends to increase. Think about your life, for example, and you’ll see how advancements in technologies have improved the quality of life. Your refrigerator keeps your food fresh and safe to eat. Your smartphone allows you to access information and connect with others around the world. Advances in medical technology have increased our life expectancy and lessened the severity of sickness. All these technological advancements and more have led to better lives for countless people.
3. A wealth of information
The advancement of technology has allowed you to access more information than ever before. Acquiring information used to involve reading books, listening to the experts in that field or hearing it on the news. The advent of the personal computer and Internet gives you access to an abundance of information at unfathomable speeds. You can quickly search for any topic in a web browser and receive hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of search results.
Although this abundance of information does have negative effects, there are certainly positives aspects to immediate access to information. You can find a quick answer to almost any question you may have (the quality of the answer cannot always be guaranteed). You can also find tutorials to learn new skills (how many times have you looked up a YouTube video for a tutorial on household maintenance?). If you are interested in a topic you have never been able to explore, the Internet provides thousands of different resources to learn more.
4. Global connectivity
Ever since the invention of the first phone, humans have continued to develop ways to remain connected with one another. Continued communication is essential to maintaining those close relationships with family and friends when you are separated due to moving for college or other higher education, travel, new job opportunities or answering the call to missions. You can call by phone, send a text message or email, or even video chat with people who are thousands of miles away from you. We live in an age where global connectivity is the new norm.
5. Fulfillment of God’s command to cultivate the earth
In Genesis 3, God creates man, places him in the Garden and charges him with the responsibility to cultivate the earth. Technology is created using materials from the earth, and our creation of new technology is a part of our fulfilling the charge to cultivate. Even if you won’t be at the forefront of new technological development, you can still do your part in technological cultivation by learning how to use technology well.
How do we cultivate technology well? First, we can be educated on how technology works. We don’t necessarily need to fear technology, but we can take time to better educate ourselves on some of the technical details. Second, we can use our technology in appropriate ways that contribute to human flourishing and glorify God.
Technology is an ever-present reality we cannot escape. Although we should be wary of certain dangers, we should not live in utter fear of our devices. Instead, technology has had significant positive impact in our lives and can continue to have positive impact. It is up to us to be good and faithful stewards of technology so we may use our devices for the glory of God and the good of humanity.
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