The world is changing every day. Whether it’s small changes or incredible leaps done by a large group or just one person, technology has not just allowed for the advancement, but a court-side view to all the excitement right at your fingertips.
We want to feel a part of the changes and make a real difference. I can guarantee not many of us haven’t lost at least a night or two of sleep after watching the news or reading up on a social issue close to our hearts, wondering how we could help. These days we don’t have to wait to find an answer anymore, all of the information we may need is readily available. What’s also happening with this information is, we start to wonder, but what about me? How does this help me help the world?
Big or small, here are seven ways that technology has impacted our lives and helped us change the world.
1. Access to advice and tips
This one is a no-brainer, you reading this article is proof of how easy information can be reached in your every day life. If this reaches just one more person than it shows how technology has helped get the word out there. Sadly, it can’t always guarantee quality, but access, always.
Whether it’s a how-to to help make your life easier, or just googling something quick enough to prove a point we get all the answers with a few words and a search button.
For example, just the other day I needed to put a photo up, and so I wouldn’t embarrass myself or put a hole through the drywall I put up a video and followed a tutorial. I could have just asked my boyfriend, but I did it by myself (with YouTube’s help), AND I got bragging rights, and no holes.
Bonus points: No trees are destroyed getting us this information.
This one differs from the first point in the sense that information is always a two-way street. We use technology to find help, but we wouldn’t know other issues needed our attention without the news making us brutally aware of all the problems we still need to face. I wouldn’t know that a particular place had a blood shortage, and that I could help with the solution just with the thing literally flowing through my veins, had I not heard it on the radio while driving to work.If we don’t know there’s a problem we won’t know to fix it.This day in age, I know that even though things seem advanced and happy in my near surroundings, things may be going wrong on the other side of the world. There are no rhinos in my backyard, but I know that they are dying far away and that they need a solution.
On the flip side I also now know that the Giant Pandas have been taken off the endangered species list. Phew! – Extra bonus!
3. Access to global issues and global solutions
This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. We now know what else is happening across the world, and with access to other country’s problems we also get access to their solutions.
For example, due to Sweden’s highly effective waste-to-energy program, they have run out of garbage. Thanks to their innovative recycling programs they only have 4% of their waste ending up in landfills. Their solution actually allows them to take trash from nearby countries and provide assistance where needed.
Another thing this includes is helping each other to identify problems as much as their solutions.
We made a rather significant discovery recently when we found that there were large gyres in the oceans, formed by plastic dumped into the ocean that had not degraded. Technology can find an alternative to plastic to help fix this problem, which can cause a big positive impact on the environment.
There are only so many mistakes to be made that we shouldn’t make them all ourselves. It’s important that we get to learn from each other and if others find solutions, we should use them. We are all in this together after all!
4. It already is!
I’m just going to take a moment before more reasons why we benefit from having technology for our future and remind you about all the bad-ass things it already is doing for us, and how many cool ways it’s allowing us to change the world. Not just in providing us with better entertainment with flat screen TVs and DVRs, but also by providing huge environmental patches. Here are just a few:
- Technology allowed us to find a replacement for Freon, which was causing a hefty depletion in our ozone layer.
- A Human Genome Sequence used to cost several millions of dollars to do, these days a full work up can be done for less than 1000 dollars. Although, it still seems like a lot, with this we can quickly discover and detect diseases earlier and make huge advancements in finding cures for diseases that just a few years ago seemed incurable.
- Thanks largely to technological advances, since 2008 the price of Solar Energy has decreased by 78%, and the cost of Wind Energy has decreased by 58%. Alternative sources of energy to oil will help our planet to recover from some of the havoc we’ve been causing it. Electric cars will also contribute to the lowering of fuel consumption around the world.
- Advances with smartphones over the years have allowed better access to education, information, and medicine.
- Drones have helped for advancements in the agricultural industry, providing farmers with the right tools to monitor their crops more effectively, which help to reduce damage to the surrounding environment.
- Get used to cute little robots, because one day you may need them. Sci-Fi is becoming reality when tiny bots are introduced into your blood stream to help combat certain types of cancer. Read more here: Livescience – Magnetic Robot Swarms Could Fight Cancer.
5. Access to experts
I was just talking to my colleague, who is a tech wizard (or some cool other title), about how great it was to call a computer store and ACTUALLY get a person who isn’t just trying to sell me something. These days we have direct access to the same people we want informed and accurate answers from.
Gone were the days of googling your symptoms (and finding out that we all have lupus), now with improved customer service and direct access to medical assistance we can speak with a person with the answers we are looking for and not just approximations or guesses.
We may have, mostly, removed the need for face to face interaction, but we have managed to fortify the customer-expert relationship by providing the customer with trustworthy information and well researched feedback catered to each individual. This opens up another avenue that is rarely touched upon. The well-versed and expert assistance to issues that always seem to fall under taboo, or unspoken – like mental illness. Sure, hotlines have been around for quite a long time, but now, rather than some well-meaning individuals who are willing to offer up a listening ear, you also have access to someone with the right medical experience and coping training that we truly need. This makes you feel like you’re taken much more seriously and that you’re in the right hands getting help.
Non-transferable bonus: It also stops the pesky ‘Let me transfer you to the correct department/manager/other person who may know this answer’ song and dance that we’re used to getting.
6. AI and automation
This one is a doozy. There are two sides to this one, and one of them doesn’t always seem as positive as I’m about to tell you. Automation gets a bad rep, but if we think about all of the time that is saved and lives by a qualified machine to do certain jobs, like back-injuring manual labour, repetitive motions, and enter dangerous places, so us mere humans do not need to develop injuries over time.
Automation is not just about those automated messages that we receive when trying to speak to a human over customer support webpages. These days Automation is taking a more severe turn towards AI, while still serving the same purpose, to make advancements.
In the point above I mentioned the introduction of anonymous experts who can help with mental disabilities and inabilities, but one thing that AI and Automation allow for is for your skills to be used elsewhere. Now that may seem a bit vague, so bare with me. When a lawyer no longer needs to constantly sift through data and legal issues just to find one case, he/she can focus on other aspects of your case, such as finding creative ways to defend your case. Facts and fact checking can be done by Artificial Intelligence because there is no emotional aspect necessary, and also because sometimes it’s a bit boring. The last thing you want is your lawyer to feel buried and overwhelmed with paperwork when they should be speaking with you and figuring out how to win your case. Now think about another case, having machines do repetitive motions, things you can teach it to do over and over again opens a whole new world of creativity. If your body is being taken care of, maybe there will be more time you things that often get overlooked, like your mind. If the research is being done, maybe there is more time for the story to be created. And if the computer is running a search for you then you have a chance to move onto the next task. This is advancement. Of course, one would argue that they are taking jobs, and you know, the whole taking over the world thing, but look beside you, you’re probably in front of a computer, maybe your tiny phone with a plethora of information is also right beside you, and it fits just in your pocket!
Let’s just say automation and AI is already happening, whether you’re terrified of it or not. But let your phone settle the debate for you so you can get back to your lovely dinner. Let it fact check your research paper so you can ago off and educate others. Let it go through millions of records so a lawyer can defend and innocent person. And let that machine make your coffee for you, while you go hug your kid in the morning.
7. Resources so extensive, they cross planets
This is the last one on here because it is quite literally out of this world cool!
Thanks to all of the points above, through technology, we are well aware, that we are running out of certain resources on our planet, but wait, now, there’s more!
The incredible out worldly discoveries that are being made is allowing for more and more advancements that we may have been limited from due to our own planet’s limits. Now, this isn’t an excuse for drilling holes everywhere, just because we have other planets, but instead, it’s just allowing for ideas, thoughts, and plans to go far beyond what we thought we had.
Asteroid mining has been talked about for several years now, but more and more every day we see it becoming a reality. How will this help us? Well, if you think about it, the more resources we have, the farther we can take evolution. Sustainability can only get us so far, eventually we will have to come up with a better solution, needing less and finding more. The sky is no longer the limit, it goes far beyond. Who knows what we’ll discover next?
With so many cool technologies coming into our lives and the crazy amount of change we are constantly going through, you’d think our world was just incredibly young and working on finding itself, but really it’s just incredible individuals and teams who start with an idea and never stop. I know the world is expanding rapidly, and we have tons of other planets out there as well, but never think your ideas are too small or too insignificant.
Everything and everyone has to start somewhere, just make sure that once you start, you never stop.