When reading David E. Nye’s “Technology Matters” I came across a quote which, I believe, summarizes the role in which technology plays in our society. The quote reads “Technologies are not just objects but also the skills needed to use them.” Nye’s interpretation focuses on the idea that an individual is incapable of using technological devices without a deeper understanding of the way in which they function. I will argue that Nye is incorrect in this belief. Instead I believe that our society has shown that overtime, as our species has become more familiar with technology, the skills we need to operate them becomes instinctive.
When first reading Nye’s writing I began to think not about the technology in which I come into contact with in my daily activities but rather who is behind the screens. In my daily activities I realized that most of the technology which surrounds me has a younger user behind the screen. This common theme made me consider when does one actually learn how to work their devices. Do people read manuals or is the use of technology second nature at this point? I think the answer to this question can be answered simply. Technology has become a part of what makes us human. Due to our heavy reliance on technology we as a species have become so dependent on our devices that we are forced to learn how to use them in order to survive.
Another point which needs to be considered is the generational gap that has formed due to the presence of technology in our society. Tasks such as sending a text or taking a photo can be done in an instant for younger generations. However, as the generations become older in age these tasks are more time consuming and exhausting. The Huffington Post conducted a study to see how adolescents use technology versus how adults prefer to use their devices. What they fond is that the generation gap is “never is it more evident than in the field of technology” and the way in which various age groups depend on technology. Another important thing which stood out from the study is that younger generations not only use their devices more but own more than one device. While elder generations might struggle with the usage of a single device, youngsters “thrive” with the presence of multiple technological devices.
However, while younger generations have become more proficient in the usage of various technological devices, they lack other basic skills. For example, students in elementary school are no longer taught how to write in cursive nor do they know how to write a proper check due to a lack of need. Such basic skills have now been replaced by the presence of technology. In addition, younger generations lack some of the basic social skills which were once common knowledge. For example, when eating in a restaurant if a child is bored during a meal a parent often offers them a technological device rather than a book or crayons. Technology is often seen as the solution to ones problem. However, younger generations have become so dependent to technology that they are ignorant of the downfalls.