Not everybody is always on board with technology. Some think that it functions to distract us, or that it’s moving too fast, that soon we’ll be overrun by technology (especially in the form of AI). These are legitimate concerns that should be discussed, but when you look at the overall pros and cons of technology, that it has been a force for good is undeniable. And among all the benefits that it has added to humanity, perhaps the most powerful impact has been how it has helped bring people together. Below, we take a look at some of the many ways that technology unites people and contributed to a fairer, more inclusive world.
Out Of Sight, On The Screen
Spare a thought for people who lived before the invention of the internet, or, worse, before the invention of the telephone. The only way they’d be able to stay in touch with one another is by writing a letter, which could take months to reach its recipient, and then, of course, they’d need to wait for a reply. When you left your hometown, it wasn’t just about exploring somewhere new – there was also the “when will I speak to my family again?” angle. Technology has changed all that. Now, family members who live on opposite sides of the world from one another can chat via video in real time, as if they were in the same room. The positive influence this has had for families and friends should not be understated.
Everyone will have a problem in their life at one stage of their life or another. And when these problems hit, they can tough to manage, especially if it feels like you’re experiencing the issue all on your own. But if there’s one thing we should know about life, it’s that you’re never the only person with a problem; there will be others out there who are experiencing the same thing. And talking about your problems through with them can feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You’ll find support and advice, but perhaps the best thing that technology can do in this regard is to remind you that you’re not alone.
No matter what you live, you’ll find that there are more things that you’re not exposed to than the things you are. If you have a mild interest in something, you’d have to hope that there were other people living near you who also shared that interest if you wanted to enjoy it to the max. Thanks to the internet (and other technologies), you can connect with people who also have the interest, no matter where they live. Everything’s better when it’s shared. It’s much more enjoyable to chat to other people online (and perhaps eventually decide to meet up) rather than to be stuck at home understanding that there must be other people out there with the same interest, but you don’t know where they are.
More Accessible Content
There’s always been a lot of good content in the world, but it hasn’t always been accessible. To watch a video in, say, the 1960s, you’d need to understand the language of the country where it was produced. Today, thanks to advanced video translation services, this is not the case. People from all over the world are able to watch videos regardless of where they were produced, providing they have professional subtitles in their own language. This has allowed people to enjoy content that otherwise would have been inaccessible to them.
It’s not just watching and reading content from around the globe that technology has done for the public. Thanks to affordable technological tools, we’ve become a society of creators, capable of producing videos, photographs, music, and writing. Indeed, this aspect is one of the most underrated aspects of the modern world; before technology became so widespread, virtually all content was produced by people with the money and resources to make it. They were the gatekeepers of culture. Today, virtually anyone can produce something creative relatively easily.
From A to B
Technology mostly brings us together in non-literal ways, but, of course, it does make being in the same space more straightforward. It’s never been easier to travel across the world, especially since technological improvements have made air travel affordable for all. We should also remember that navigation has greatly improved, too — it used to be that you’d be dependent on asking directions or following a map. Now, we can be lead directly to our destination from our smartphones. Next time you’re going to meet a friend for a drink and rely on maps to get there, give thanks to technological progress.
We’re seeing a wave of new projects for a variety of reasons, but perhaps the biggest such reason is that collaboration is now much easier than it was in the past. You don’t need to be working at the same time, or in the same room, or even in the same country. Through a combination of online video chats and cloud storage, people are capable of bringing a project to completion even if they’ve never even met. It’s hard to envision how such a project would turn out if technology didn’t exist.
We all know that bonds can weaken over time. You might have many a happy memory with another person, but, if you’re not renewing that bond, then it’ll begin to fade over time. Thanks to technology, we’re able to reinforce those bonds over and over again, simply by spending some time going through some photos, or sending one to a distant friend or family member. There are few things more enjoyable than being sent an old photograph from a friend you haven’t seen in some time.
Technology also helps bring people together in a more direct way, too. It provides the platform upon which people can bond with one another. Some parents argue that spending time in front of a games console is a waste of time, but they’re missing the larger point: it’s more than a game, it’s bonding time. Games bring people together in real life, and also online. It’s a different way of bonding from times gone by, sure, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.
Sometimes, you want to be alone. At others, you want to be with other people. And at other times, you need other people; it is not a want. It is essential. When those times come, it can very often be technology that comes to the rescue. If you have a mental health issue or an accident, or just have a problem that could use the help of others, you’ll have all the tools you need to reach out and find a solution. It prevents isolation, essentially, at times when that’s really important.
Try as we might, it’s just not possible to see our friends and family as much as we’d like. We’re all pretty busy out there, doing our things, and sometimes it can be some time before we see the people closest to us, even if they live nearby. The ability to make a quick call or send a text message means that those social bonds remain intact. There’s no amount of time or distance that can create a barrier when you’re in constant contact with one another anyway!
Technology isn’t all positive, but it has helped us in pretty spectacular ways, that we sometimes take for granted.