Technology affects humanity at all of the individual, societal, and global levels. On average, people, societies, and countries globally are developing their creativity, innovation and the various mental abilities. We as human being are taking on huge challenges and making long strides in science and various fields on intellectual activity with the aide (rather than in spite of) technology. Wether technology makes us better intellectuals or not depends on how technology is used, it might render someone lazy or too dependent on technology.
The wide range of advanced technology and the ubiquitous nature of which significantly changed the way humans think. We no longer have to worry about making complex calculations, because we have programmable computers for that. We have advanced spreadsheet applications with many features. When we delegate the time consuming tasks of computing and calculation to machines, we are free to focus our effort and time on designing solutions to higher-level problems while we explore bigger and better issues in the various fields of human endeavor.
What does it mean for us to be able to think for ourselves? Does mean our ability to multiply huge numbers in our head without using aids? Certainly someone who haven’t been using a calculator for some period of time, would be better at this than someone who has been “relying” on a computer or calculator to do the multiplication. But then, is that really “thinking”? One might simply argue that this task of calculating, which was historically considered something that only humans can do, isn’t even a task of thinking but a merely mechanical task.
In the past, a Calculator was a job title of an employee! Now it’s a small application on a desktop computer. Instead of having an amazing human with a bright mind spend all his or her time at the Ministry of Finance doing mechanical calculations, we have such people doing work that matters: designing markets, creating effective strategies on how and where to invest, providing insights on the dynamics of local and global economy and these tasks require intelligence and a lot of high-level thinking that machines (or calculators, no matter how complex they are) can’t do.
Technology is still advancing, and more work that we thought only people can do, will be doable by machines. To some this means we will all be replaced by machines with nothing to do. I verily disagree: no matter how intelligent artificially intelligent machines are, we will still have a lot of things to do, but things that matter more than that which can be performed by machines.
Having said all that, there is another view point. Some people are made lazy by machines because they do not grow their thinking to higher levels. For example, if all what needs to be done in some accountant’s job is to perform addition, multiplication and other mathematical functions on some numbers and then he or she starts using a computer program that does exactly that, and he or she does not add value beyond what the program does, then not only his or her ability to do math will weaken and wither with time, but so will his or her value.
When something becomes automatic, we need to search to do more and provide more value than what can be provided by technology.