July 22, 2018 | ° F

Consider drawbacks of technology

On first look, Google's self-driving car seems like one of the coolest technological advancements ever. It is a car that can steer, stop and start without any sort of human being behind the wheel. It is a triumph of human inventiveness and we should feel proud of it. But there are some serious drawbacks to the development of a self-driving car. Computers do not have the same instincts or reflexes as human beings, and there is something to be said for the element of humanity present in any given situation. Perhaps we are just Luddites, but we'd rather see humans continue driving than hand over the roads to armies of self-driving vehicles.

The implications of advancements in technology are always double-edged swords. While making human life easier, these advances also make human beings lazier. When computers do things for us, we are no longer forced to learn how to do things ourselves. Consequentially, our minds and bodies start to rot. Where does that leave human beings? Not in a very good place, that's for sure. For example, think about all the people who rely on GPS devices instead of their own knowledge of the roads. Often, these people will use GPS devices even when they know very well where they need to go and how to get there — they merely want to take the brainless route.

Also, the prospect of a self-driving car could encourage reckless behavior in transit. For example, in the future, these self-driving cars become available for public use. Now imagine a man who owns one of these cars gets very drunk one night and decides it's fine for him to get behind the wheel, because he's not actually driving. Then, on the ride home, the car malfunctions. You can probably guess what happens next.

There are also some very unsettling military implications of self-driving cars. These things could be deployed in combat. The more the human element is removed from warfare, the more brutal warfare becomes. Technological advances should aim to minimize suffering, not maximize the potential for untold destruction. Can you really call something "progress" if it could potentially cause immense pain? Hardly.

It is clear that people have to be careful when choosing convenience over doing it for themselves. Sure, self-driving cars might be easier, but think about the repercussions. Progress often makes us lazy. It makes us forget how to operate independently of technology. Most importantly, technological advancements often remove the human being from consideration. In a world built and run by people, that's a dangerous move to make.

The Daily Targum

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