To what extent has technology allowed us to enjoy a better standard of living?
Despite the fact that the majority of the world is experiencing a lockdown, I am still managing to work from home via online platforms, ordering food deliveries, and benefiting from a lot of online learning opportunities as well.
I am also absorbing as much information as I need or want to, as well as communicating with my family, friends, and colleagues, at any time. There is no question that technology has made our lives easier and more efficient.
But to what extent has technology allowed us to enjoy a better standard of living?
This article summarizes the main ways that technology has affected, improved, and irreversibly changed the course of our lives. Together with technology experts, the author discusses the magnitude of this impact. The experts consulted will examine how technology is enhancing communication, improving healthy lifestyles, saving time through online shopping, and helping communities by way of online awareness-raising campaigns.
As with everything else in life, a good balance is always a good thing
In his conversation with Youth Time, Vula asserts that humanity has always worked to make mankind’s lives and standard of living better by improving the advantages of technology and the way technology gets things done.
“In fact I would argue that there are two things that drive technological advancement and are directly or indirectly related to it: improving daily life and raising the level of human curiosity and mankind’s exploratory nature.”
But, how is today’s world actually using these new technologies? At this point in the discussion, Vula reminds us that human beings have different needs, be it work, play, hobbies, and creativity, and technological advancement and technological gadgets serve all those purposes.
“As with everything else in life, a good balance is always a good thing, so using these powerful gadgets in a balanced way definitely has positive potential for impacting all these areas productively, or not. It’s up to one’s personal choices and drive to find the right balance. Generally, being more connected and having access to more information will have an undisputed positive impact on society as a whole.”
We can try to see what’s out there and think long term
The relation between technological advancement and a better standard of living, he says, is direct in a lot of ways and indirect in many others, sometimes it even functions in a strange way.
He elaborates on his understanding of the relationship between these considerations.
“I could think direct correlation in the sense that better technology improves and eases our way of working, playing, communicating, and other things. In indirect ways technology drives the economy and in turn, an improved economy drives a better standard of living overall. In some strange ways these technological advances, if used for military purposes, could drive the economy positively up to a point, giving rise to a better standard of living, while at the same time raising the specter of ruin.”
Vula is of the opinion that technology has not just “shifted norms”, but it basically is at the core and essence of what makes humans different from animals.
“It was the ability of people and technological advances that using a flint stone to create fire represented, or using a sharp stone to make a cutting tool, which kick-started humans on being on top of the food chain, and it’s been the same ever since.”
According to him, technological advances, like anything else in life, if used improperly can have a negative impact.
“As humans we’re tiny teeny small compared to the universe, and without technological advances we could not assume we’d ensure the continuity of the human race. We’d just be another dinosaur. Being curious and being the explorers that we are, at least we can try to see what’s out there and think long term.”
Technology allows for a safer and more convenient lifestyle
Tala Qaddoura, a master’s degree holder at the Illinois Institute of Technology, believes that her standard of living has improved notably in recent years.
She takes us a few years back, when it was impossible to continue work, education, and even fulfill basic necessities from home.
“Today, I can even exercise with a virtual coach and do not need to leave home at all. Coming from a third world country, this concept is very new to me. Even though we had the infrastructure to get these services online, it was not part of our culture, and people continued to do things in the physical world rather than online.”
However, she continues, after the lockdown people quickly adapted, and working and shopping online became trendy overnight.
Concluding that technology is definitely a great thing, Qaddoura shares that even as she is experiencing a lockdown, and is not close to her family, still she can talk and see them thanks to technology.
“I can still hold meetings online, and entertain myself during my free time. There are some disadvantages of course, and I think the main one is that a lot of wrong and inaccurate information can be circulated fast without proper control.”
Comfort and ease of communication
Respecting Youth Time’s question if there is a relation between technological advancement and a better standard of living, she states as follows:
“There is a correlation between technological advancement and standards of living, as technology allows for a safer and more convenient lifestyle.”
In her conclusion, Qaddoura asserts that the best thing that technology has brought to us is comfort and ease of communication.
“The thing it [technology] took away some real life interactions that have been replaced with online messages/conversations.”
We reviewed the impact that technology is having on us, mostly focusing on its beneficial effects. Let us remind ourselves that it is of a crucial importance to understand how to use technology to improve our daily lives.
In our previous article “Digital Awareness, as Part of Today’s Survival Kit” we discussed strategies to establish a more healthy and definitive relationship with technology.
Photos: Shutterstock / collage: Martina Advaney