‘Over the past century, technological systems have gradually become so intrinsic and pervasive, that like the air we breathe or the purloined letter, it often seams invisible (Russo, P. 2005). Therefore it is good for us to now step back and take a look at what technology is and how it has affected us. Idhe (1993) believes it is mammalian instinct that created technology, as we modified our local environments. Going back as far as the Stone Aged times, technology existed. Whether it was ‘a stick picked up and used as a club, or a broken gourd used as a container the prehistoric man or woman found technology. (Idhe, D.1993)
‘Technology is neither good nor bad, nor is it neutral’ However Kranzberg also (1997) believes that when combined with our social world, environmental, social and human consequences ‘go far beyond their immediate purpose of the technical devices themselves’.
The mobile phone which was once the new innovation in communication is now a means for so much more. A 2014 Newspaper article Top 10 uses for mobile phones? (The Daily Mail, 2014) concluded from a number of surveys, that making and receiving calls was the sixth most used function after reading and sending text messages, reading emails, surfing the internet and the alarm clock. Curtis (2014) has predicted that by 2018 over one third of the world’s population will be utilising a smart phone for these functions. Although these devices are helpful they also have created negative impacts to our everyday lives.
Knight, S. 2016, One in three adults are now waking up in the middle of the night to check their phone, viewed 2th October 2016, <http://www.techspot.com/images2/news/bigimage/2016/09/2016-09-26-image-23.jpg>
Fiona Keer (Sleep 2016) speaks about one of the negative effects our mobile phones have on sleep. “Whenever you look at your screen or get a ding from your pager, you get a spike of dopamine. This encourages that addiction of its use and keeps you up using it at night. The other thing is its blue screen”, which changes how the light sensitive hormone Melatonin (found in our brain) facilitates sleep. Therefore unless you stay away from this light, at least 2 hours before bed time there is some form of negative impact towards your sleep.
It is evident through this example that ‘Technologies have played a large role in creating the problems that we face, but can also play an important role in solving them’ (Mulder, Ferrer, Van Lente 2011). Week Fours Lecturer Jessica Dunn explained the positive impacts technological advancements can have on our sleep. Working for ResMed (one of the world’s leading providers of sleep apnoea products) she explored the various innovations which aid people with this medical disorder, hindering them from sleep. On the main page of their website it reads ‘For people with sleep apnoea, healthy sleep begins with understanding the condition and its treatment’. Both factors of understanding and treating this illness is based on the reliance of medical technological advancements.
This is where is gets tricky, because ‘the fact that the future can never be viewed or fully predicated’ means that we cannot know what these negative impacts are. However it does not ‘negate our responsibility try and to identify possibilities that imbed precautionary action’ because what we are doing in the now depicts the consequences for the future (Fry, T. 2009).
Brockie, J. 2016, Sleep, Insight, Episode 14, Viewed August 15th 2016, < http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/674210371926/insight-sleep>
Curtis, S. 2014, Quarter of the world will be using smart phones by 2016, The Telegraph, Viewed 27th October 2016, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/mobile-phones/11287659/Quarter-of-the-world-will-be-using-smartphones-in-2016.html>
Daily Mail Reporter, 2014, Top 10 uses for mobile phone? Calls come SIXTH!, Daily Mail, Viewed 27th October 2016, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2815114/Top-ten-uses-mobile-phone-Calls-come-SIXTH-40-smartphone-users-say-manage-without-call-function-device.html>.
Dunn, J. 2016, Lecture week Four, Sleep Research (Industrial Designer at RESMED) , UTS Online Subject 85202, UTS, Sydney.
Ihde, D. 1993, Philosophy of Technology: An Introduction, Paragon House, New York, pp 47-66.
Kranzberg, M. 1997, Technology and the West: A Historical Anthology from Technology & Culture, University of Chicago Press, United Nations.
Mulder, Ferrer, Van Lente, 2011, What is Sustainable technology? Perceptions, Paradoxes and Possibilities, Green Leaf Publishing, Leeds, England.
Russo, P. 2005, Future without a past: The Humanities within a technological society, University of Mussouri Press, United States, p 23.
Tony, F. 2009, Design futuring: sustainability, ethics and new practice, Berg, Oxford, pp. 145-155.