Technology is changing the human experience every day. But is it for the better, and what about the rest of the planet? We look at the amazing, and not-so-great, effects of having advanced technology at our fingertips.
Futurist Speaker’s Thomas Frey, says that by 2030, 90% of all restaurants will be using 3D food printers in their meal preparations, scientists will have achieved cross-species communication, allowing humans to talk to other species, and if a hurricane is predicted, we will be able to stop it from happening by human intervention. We know. It’s quite a bit to absorb.
Read the full list of predictions here, if you’re interested.
Technology’s influence on human behaviour
In early 2015, The Guardian reported that the use of smartphones and tablets could interfere with children’s ability to develop empathy, problem-solving skills, and some elements of social communication that comes from human interaction. In the article, a researcher and clinical instructor in developmental-behavioural pediatrics, Jenny Radesky, suggested that direct human engagement was essential to childhood development, and that unsupervised use of technology could be a hindrance to personal growth.
In another article on virtual reality (VR), two German scholars argue that “VR technology will eventually change not only our general image of humanity but also our understanding of deeply entrenched notions, such as “conscious experience,” “selfhood,” “authenticity,” or “realness.””
In other words, the virtual media we consume will become our reality, and in this way, media will have even more power to manipulate human behaviour. The scholars refer to various cases in psychology where people have embodied certain roles in their surroundings, for example, the Stanford Prison experiment where people acting as prison guards and inmates, actually began to display pathological traits of the roles that they were playing.
The drawbacks of constant device consumption for humans seem to extend beyond the mind. Harris International published a study of gadget use with 2000 Americans, aged 18 and over, which revealed that 60% of participants experienced health problems such as eye strain, insomnia, back pain, neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the use of technology.
How tech is saving the planet
Needless to say, if we educate ourselves on how we can use technology to our advantage, the quality and perhaps even the length of our lives will improve. For starters, Samsung has been working on an app to improve the working experience of people with autism. The app follows a collaboration with PizzAut – the first non-profit pizzeria designed to be enjoyable and accessible as a work place for autistic people.
Did you know that the ocean is polluted with an estimated 8 million tons of plastic every year? We should all be recycling at home and at work to reduce the amount of plastic lurking on the earth. Coming to our rescue, a 24-year-old Dutch innovator recently set out to create a 600-metre long plastic cleaning system, in the hope of collecting 50 tons of plastic in its first year. That’s not all: researchers in the UK have developed a sieve that can filter salt out of sea water and could be the savior to global water scarcity.
In Japan, researchers have sought to combat food shortages by creating a drone that pollinates flowers. Nearly 80% of the world’s crops rely on pollination to grow. And with pollinators such as bees facing threats to their existence, this tiny invention could be the gadget that saves the buzzing species.
Do you have a breakthrough tech idea that can help improve the planet? We’d love to help you get the word out. Chat to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.