Libertatem Magazine

Why ‘We’ are hypocrite about technology?

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We often see people blaming that watching television is the reason behind the poor performance of their children in exams. People are generally critical of ‘Technology’ for their own faults, particularly, the social media, Smartphone, etc. Parents who are restricting their kids to be on ‘facebook’ are ironically found on ‘facebook’ themselves. People who are criticizing drones for being intrusive are sharing every bit of their information on social networking sites. Then, what is this hypocrisy about? Is it just that we became habitual of criticizing technology all the time for own faults based on our own fallacies?

In a democracy, the ideas between the individuals must be promoted. In the last ten years or so, we have seen a tremendous change in the way people communicate in India, it became fast due to the advancement in information and communication technology (ICT). We are becoming more sophisticated users of technology day by day. ICT is undoubtedly providing one such platform for individuals to express themselves. One cannot doubt that technology is making us independent, connecting us, transforming us, and changing our perception to look out the world in a new way altogether. But, why do we still criticise it? Be it the Smartphone or the Internet or the Robotics, they have just become a part of our society. Even the practice of religion is largely dependent on technology nowadays. Be it the ‘traditional’ loudspeakers or the sound system in any religious establishment, or the ‘modern’ digital call of prayers at a scheduled time in your Smartphone, or reading of holy text in ‘kindle’, these are all technological innovations and just making the practice of a religion convenient.

Hence, the pertinent question here is it justifiable to criticize the technology for not bringing the solution with it?  Like, if a social networking platform is being used for fanning rumours & hatred as it did in ‘Muzzaffarnagar riots’,  was it the fault  of the users or the technology? Who should be criticised for it? I’m sure the users must hold liability for it; technology should not be condemned for it. Here what is necessary to be looked into that why the technology has been invented, implemented, who are the people using it and where it is being used? The paradox and the circumstances, be it social, economic or political must be looked into before being decisive upon a ‘technology’.  The social system in which it ‘exists’ must be considered, for instance, people who are using technology related devices like Smartphone in metros like Delhi would certainly use it differently compared to who are using it in a small town.  Similarly, a computer student can use a laptop in so many different ways than a philosophy student. So, what matters in the case of technology is not the ‘technology’ itself rather the factors or circumstances in which it exists.

I do not find myself in agreement with those who say that usage of technology like Smartphone is leading to ‘social isolation’.  Further, that it is distancing us from our near & dear ones. I think it’s not. It’s rather empowering us and considered as a communication technology. And in a democracy any medium which promotes the communication of ideas amongst the individuals must be encouraged. Talking to somebody who is physically near to you doesn’t mean he/ she is endearing to you. If a person wants to talk to someone who is far away from him /her and any medium which is helping to do so must be appreciated.  And obviously, in a free society none can be compelled to talk to somebody. Hence, technology must not be blamed in any case for creating for not talking to people who are placed near to you as it is a conscious choice.

People like to ‘criticise’ and never stop complaining about the existing things. They are habitual of praising the past or perhaps, ‘Manto’ was right in his own way in labelling the society being ‘hypocrite’ but technology should not suffer due to this very human nature. Hence, it is our duty as a responsible citizen to make the best use of technology and should not blame for not bringing the solution with it. Policies must be formulated to regulate any technology by considering the socio-economic factors that have influenced its very creation. As Sustainable development goals mention ‘infrastructure’ expressly and sustainable technology has a pivotal role to play in its development.

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