Adopting New Technologies
The Amish society is known across the world for its simple living, clothing, and reluctance to adopt modern technologies. They adopt a technology only if it brings people closer, such as a Barbecue. If the new technology does not lead to a face-to-face interaction, such as a telephone, then they discard it.
The basis on which they adopt a new technology is very logical. However the way they implement it is a bit harsh and somehow impractical in our modern societies. Sometimes we are forced into using a certain technology because the rest of the world is using it, and we are afraid of being left behind. This is when technology affects our perceptions and plays with our emotions. This is when we tend to not make informed and logical decisions, and allow the wrong technology to become part of our lives. The correct approach to adopting a new technology is somehow in the middle.
I personally suggest a way in which families, bodies of adult mature individuals who live together, decide in an objective manner whether to adopt a certain technology or not. Here are some of the questions family members should ask each other:
- Is it important that our kids have their own smartphones?
- What are the consequences if one family chooses not to allow its children to own a smartphone, while the children of their friends do?
- How many hours of computer game playing should be allowed for our kids?
- How many hours of movie watching for teenagers?
- How many hours of remote connectedness to the office should a father exercise from home?
Such questions require intelligent answers; answers which might be different in every culture, in every household and for every individual.
The Theories of Ethics will surely help us as individuals to come up with a logical, reasonable justification for our decisions on what is the right thing to do. We can always rely on the Ethical theories anytime to decide if some technology makes sense to use or simply discard.
The right answer to whether to adopt a new technology or not is: “It depends”. It is a mix between our individual decision, the culture we live in and our relationship with our family members. Irrespective of the final outcome, these questions need to be asked in my opinion, and they need to be addressed at least every now and then.
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