Progress in technology

Updated 09:55 Central European Summer Time (CEST)

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Que ce soit pour les LV1 ou LV2, les notions sont au nombre de 4
et peuvent ĂŞtre traitĂ©es sous des angles diffĂ©rents. Un mĂŞme 
document pourra illustrer 2 voire 3 notions.

1./ Espaces et Ă©changes - spaces & exchanges
2./ Mythes et héros – myths & heroes
3./ Lieux et formes du pouvoir - places & forms of power
4./ L’idée de progrès - the idea of progress

Progress in Technology

Progress is a term that covers a multitude of issues whether they be social or technological, artistic or domestic. But perhaps the interpretation which preoccupies us the most is the progress in technology which has revolutionized our everyday lives. We are confronted with these changes on a regular basis and have possibly witnessed more changes in the last 20 years than our ancestors did.

It is fair to say that every aspect of our lives is influenced by technology. Let us consider thenthe way in which it affects the average person on the street. In a first instance regarding the domestic sphere and home life followed by the ever increasing resources available for education & learning, before finally assessing the changes in personal life, relationships and communication.

I./ The domestic sphere

Our life has changed owing to time and labor-saving devices which have improved our life: Computers, i-phones and/or i-pads, cell phones, vacuum cleaners, washing machines to mention a few.
Indeed we have more time available for professional and leisure activities.

This enables us to deal with another aspect of progress, these devices have even changed the role of women and men in society. They have more time available to do other, more enjoyable things than housework! So, our home lives and the time shared between housework and leisure is perhaps one of the most noteworthy changes in our everyday lives. I think it is safe to say that in the last 50 years we have significantly reduced the time spent doing chores thanks to labor-saving devices such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines. Just talk to older people! Your great grand mothers would probably tell you that one of the greatest century inventions was... the washing machine ! Your great grand fathers would perhaps rather mention the inventions
of the first telephones! But others, more recent members of you family would certainly mention their first computers or cellular phones…

Indeed we have much more time available to do other, more enjoyable things than housework!

II./ Personal lives

Moving on to our personal lives, technology has fundamentally changed our relationships and the way we communicate with each others. More and more people tend to send a text message rather than pick up the phone to call a friend. We can keep up with old (real) and new friends (sometimes virtual ones) on their Facebook or Twitter pages rather than actually meeting up to talk face to face. Indeed, the increasing of technology is reducing the instances of contact with others: we are often spending more time with our virtual relationships than real-life ones. Of course the danger with this is we never know how much truth there is in the information we
read about people. Privacy and information exchanged on the Internet is a burning issue at the moment.

Many people, often teenagers, put details and information onto blogs or other websites without thinking who will be able to read and understand them. Blogs sometimes replace diaries and online chat rooms which replace cafĂ©s open up our lives (opinions, ideas, readings, perceptions, and culture) up to the rest of the world 
in a (sometimes) very worrying way (misunderstandings, misinterpretations, harsh or easy criticism). 

You would think that owing to new technologies people spend more time with their families and friends or relatives … but it is often not the case. 

III./ Access to information

Another major concern is the access to information presented by technological progress.

A high school student, for instance, who no more than 20 years ago would have researched papers in a library and no doubt reached for an encyclopedia or a dictionary as a means of reference material can now just access all this information at the touch of a button from almost any location. The amount of information available is nothing short of overwhelming. 

In fact, research no longer consists in finding the information but instead in sorting through

it. With the quantity of information available on the internet it is often difficult to judge how reliable it is. You can copy and paste any information believing it is real but without cross-referencing or checking how reliable it is... it can be dangerous.

Times change, we know that, but the rate at which technology has progressed over a very short period of time is quite frightening! Our lives have been totally transformed at every level. 

The issue we have to face then is how to moderate our use of technology and accept the fact that there are perhaps as many negative aspects to it as there are positive ones. Our task is to incorporate it into the way we live and work without letting it take over our lives. 

As a conclusion we could quote Einstein 

«Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.»  
One could ask ourselves the following question :

 Â«Do computers and modern technologies help us to think ? ».

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