Before you label me as one of those ‘machines will rise and destroy all humans’ people, I’m not saying there’s going to be a cataclysmic war when our artificial intelligence turns against us. In fact, I’m certain our end will be far more anti-climactic than that. It might not happen while any of us are alive, but a grim end is approaching for our civilization. How can I be certain, I hear you ask?
Humans are greedy. For every one person that cares about the state of the environment, and about a simpler way to live that doesn’t involve technological enrichment in every aspect of their lives, there are four that buy into all of it. Far too many people go on with their mass-consumption and their thoughtless waste without considering the repercussions of their actions. We watch videos of deforestation, of poaching and pollution, and we care for all of ten minutes before we nosedive back into our smartphones.
Yes, technology is a wonder. It’s made our lives drastically ‘easier’, reduced the risk of death from disease and medical complication, and generally made it safer to live a normal life. Back in the dark ages, being alive for fifty years was considered astounding. Now it’s a platform for mid-life crises and thinking about retirement. We don’t have to hunt for our own food, we turn a tap for water instead of journeying to a well and we merely tap a button to heat our homes as opposed to lighting a fire with wood and matches. In short, the human race is getting soft.
There is a point where convenience turns from being beneficial to debilitating, and I dare say we’re there. The internet progressed from a luxury to a necessity to a way of life for some, to the point where many youngsters find themselves lost without it. If the internet vanished tomorrow, the world would be in turmoil. Plugging ourselves into screen after screen is the easy way out: we don’t have to think about what’s going wrong around us. Technology keeps us placated.
Will there ever be a final release of a phone, a car or a laptop? How much further can they progress? The personal value of these items has decreased rapidly, because it’s so easy to purchase a newer, better model. And we’re convinced that we need to have them. As consumers we’re insatiable: we always need new things to buy. Purchasing things isn’t wrong, but we’re rarely ever aware of what resources go into what we’re buying. We pay a price for the conveniences we purchase, beyond the monetary value.
As wildlife struggles to thrive because we disrupt the eco-system with our unrelenting hunger for ‘new’, we’re too wrapped up in reality television or the latest trends to care. Seeing as this is the only place we have to live, the state of it should be our first priority. Before the new iPhone and the new Hyundai. Charging our phones all night takes energy, and that has to come from somewhere. That’s energy that nobody was using thirty years ago: we’re putting a bigger strain on our environment.
In short, we’re becoming heavily reliant on things that we don’t really need. However, we’re changing to need navigation assistance (who reads maps anymore?), help with driving and other functions that we used to do in a more natural fashion. If energy becomes throttled in the future because there’s not enough resources to keep up, could you perform all of your daily tasks without technology? Everything gets handed to us: we don’t procure much for ourselves anymore.
We used to be far more resilient: do you think youngsters today could cope with the stresses of living in a war zone? If they struggle to survive without internet and their phones, how would they survive their towns being bombed, like in the Second World War? As technology advances, we’re only going to become more dependent on it, and one day that will be our own undoing.