What Will Our Future Look Like With More Technology Advancing?

A research argument by Caley Nell

It is a known fact that we are becoming more and more dependent on technology. We use cars to get to school or work, we use our cell phone to call or text, we regularly use washers and dryers, and most have a dishwasher. With technology becoming more available and more advanced there is only one question to ask, what will our future look like? Technology is making our life easier and allowing us to focus on things we love instead of chores, which may sound like a dream but there are some consequences to this fantasy. Technology is increasing obesity, eliminating jobs, and causing social disruption for kids.

Technological innovation has caused us to become obese. Due to online shopping, groceries are delivered to your door, we are able to connect to people using social media, and watching movies on Netflix causes a grave lack of physical activity. This is provoking us to be less active and much more lazy, which is prompting us to become fat (GUDM, 2014). With screen time rising more and more, so have obesity rates and it doesn’t seem to have an end. One example of this is shown below, it is a graph representing the amount of screen time used based on the age of the child (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2020). Because of such drastic increases within harmful habits of excessive screen time, poor diet, low activity, etc., has resulted in obesity rates increasing for kids. Unfortunately, these bad habits tend to stick with them till adulthood, introducing a new pathway of health issues, including cancer (World Cancer Research, 2018).

From Screen Time to Smoking: Preventing Unhealthy Youth Behaviors

Another example is presented below with a graph showing obesity levels accumulating (SCA). Looking at Japan, which is the red line, you can see that it has the biggest increase out of all of the countries, a direct correlation with their increase in technology consumption as well (Interesting Engineering, 2018). 

The Looming Long Term Care Crisis Meets the Obesity Epidemic? |

Lastly, is cars, trains, and other ways of transportation, which have limited the need to walk and be active. Transportation has further made us lazy and less active, provoking obesity.

Additionally, technology is replacing humans in the workforce. More and more people are losing their jobs due to technology because machines are more efficient and obedient, despite there being malfunctions from time to time. Unfortunately, technology is now minimizing the jobs of factory workers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, phone operators, telemarketers, receptions, packaging, stockroom, warehouse moving, cashiers, bankers; even laser eye surgery is striving to become fully automated (Computer Hope, 2020). According to Chloe Taylor (CNBC, 2019), it is predicted that by 2030, more than 1.5 million jobs will be lost due to robots in the United States reaching 11 million in China alone. Two million people would miss out on employment because of cheaper alternatives in robot manufacturing. According to Arto Baltayan (Money Crashers), the line of robotics will only grow to be more accessible and more reliable further eliminating the jobs of the future.

Recent studies have proved that kids who spend more time on their devices are more socially disconnected, making it harder to interact with others, according to Dr. Beurkens (Qustodio, 2020). As an effect, various behaviors like being bossy, irritable, or bullying may be visible

Technology is also negatively impacting young people. Kids who spend the majority of their free time looking at a device tend to have social disruption. Recent studies have proved that kids who spend more time on their devices are more socially disconnected, making it harder to interact with others, according to Dr. Beurkens (Qustodio, 2020). As an effect, various behaviors like being bossy, irritable, or bullying may be visible. Though some behaviors are targeted at adolescents, those include less time interacting with peers and adults, which causes isolation, loneliness, and depression. Below is a graph further showing that kids who are addicted to technology don’t do well with social interaction (Sigman, 2009).

EU Screen Time Policies and Recommendations - SGWS Blog

As Dr. Beurkens said, technology greatly effects children in how they behave, generating a lack of social skills, and a decrease in their mental health, but also their education, physical health, and privacy/security (Kidslox, 2018). Technology is great for finding information fast and learning new things; however, plagiarism and cheating are more frequent now, leading to critical thinking reduction. Social media and games prove to make students perform poorly academically because they are distracted, causing them to pay less attention in class, as well as to engage in impulsive behavior occasionally.

Source: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

As mentioned before, physical health decreases from lack of exercise, which can be triggered by too much use of technology. Some other problems are lack of blood circulation prompting neck and head pain and poor posture creating a curved backbone. Staring at a screen for too long can also lead to headaches as well as poor eyesight! Lastly, listening to loud music can create hearing loss or ringing in the ears.

Letting kids be on their devices for too long also leads to privacy/security issues. One in three adolescents are reported to have been victims of cyberbullying as well as 39 percent involved in sexting. Additionally, situations like cybercrime, hacking, and other viruses arise, locating personal information, photos, and videos.

With technology advancing all around us, a future with even more screen time could cause more obesity, depression, social disruption, cybercrime, and limited jobs.

Some may say technology advancement reduces cybercrime risks. However, evidence shows that with more technology out, there are more risks of being hacked. One method hackers use is called spear phishing, where they send out an email to employees, making the email sound like another employee. Once the person falls for the malicious scheme, they steal your money, confidential information, and critical business data (InfoGuard Cyber Security, 2017). In fact according to Paul Wright, “Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2020 annual cybercrime report states that the global cost of cybercrime is projected to hit USD 6 trillion annually, by 2021. The average cost of a ransomware attack on an organization is USD 133,000” (KPMG, 2020). Below is a graph representing the rise in cybercrime going up to $800,000,000 in 2018! 

300+ Terrifying Cybercrime & Cybersecurity Statistics [2020 EDITION]

Glancing back at the technology inventions back in 2006 there was the Nintendo Wii, Google, Social media like Facebook, Youtube, and Apple iTunes (CHM)(Paste, 2016). However, in 2015 there were Apple watches, portable computers, smartphones, holographic computers (VR), drones, and the start of self-driving cars (CHM)(Paste, 2015). As we can see, there is much more listed in 2015 than in 2006, showing more hacking stems from more opportunities for hacking.

A Few Recent Additions to the World of Technology: Fascinating or Creepy?

In 2018 a robot named Sophia was exposed to the Internet. Much like us, she can talk, move, read emotions, and express emotions herself (CNN, 2018). “We’re not fully there yet, but Sophia can represent a number of emotional states, and she can also see emotional expressions on a human face as well,” David Hanson said in a CNN article. Sophia was created to look like a human but also like technology. According to Hanson, “It was very important that she represent this intersection of humanity and technology, with the intuitive idea that technology can enhance humanity, help us actualize to higher states of being.” Sophia’s goal is to have many artificially intelligent robots to work in hospitals to give humans more freedom to do what they want (United Nations, 2018).

Source: Photo by Alex Knight from Pexels

Another cutting-edge robot is a vacuum that uses a virtual map to know where it is and where the mess is, cleaning the mess without you having to move a finger. This creation was designed in Beijing and founded in July 2014 (Roborock). In September 2016 the very first Roborock was launched in China and received an award. In March 2017, this product was marketed in Taiwan and 15,000 units sold in a month. In September 2017, the second Roborock was launched and that made $10 million in four hours.

Would you let a machine be in control of your car? Self-driving cars have been a goal for a while but only recently are you able to get one, depending on where you live. Due to many accidents caused by automated cars, there are concerns about safety, and the car also tracks your every move, your speed, and destination (CNN, 2019). Currently, you must drive the car in certain intersections and roads, showing that self-driving cars are not fully automated and will probably stay that way for another decade or so.

What Can We Do?

Research proves that technology is detrimental for the mind and body. With technology advancing all around us, a future with even more screen time could cause more obesity, depression, social disruption, cybercrime, and limited jobs. What can we do? We can all start by limiting the time our kids use devices or prolonging youths getting a device, having children call family and friends instead of text, and exercising as a family. Finally, avoid feeling socially pressured to keep up with technology advancements.

MLA Sources:

Additional Sources:

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Social Disruption Sources:

Eliminating Jobs Sources:

Obesity Facts:

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