Monday, March 13, 2017

What is Ailing Americans: Technology?

I worked in the technology field as an engineer for a long time. I worked in the field of analog to digital data conversion which made the whole digital revolution possible. I believed what we were working on was not only revolutionary but important because it would make our lives easier. After leaving the technology field, I believe I was wrong. I believe technology is a curse and is not only causing societal issues, but it is crippling our health. I remember being in a meeting many year back and asked what was the application for the data converter we were working on? The application specialist said it is to put a digital camera on a phone. I said “that is crazy and no one will ever need that!” Man, was I wrong. But I do not think I am wrong about the evils of technology. Technology leads to increased criminal activity in the forms of cybercrimes (identity theft) and hacking as well as being used to recruit terrorists and to report “fake news”.

Sure, technology does lots of good, but it has not made our lives easier. Since people are connected 24/7/365, they never get away from the stress of work. There is no such thing as a vacation. Hence, stress and anxiety in current and future generations is getting worse. Anxiety wreaks havoc on the body. With computers, iPhones, and electronic games Americans are sitting more than ever before and exercising less. The result of this coupled with bad eating habits has led to a massive increase in the rate of diabetes in America and around the world.

Electronic devices create electromagnetic radiation and create large power densities. Human contact with high levels of radiation or large power densities for prolonged periods of time will cause everything from headaches, sleep loss, and concentration problems, to behavioral changes, weakened immune systems, learning disabilities, and a doubled increased chance of getting leukemia in adults. We are all exposed to these harmful electromagnetic fields, they are running rapid in our homes and in our skies. The issue has even shown up in TV programs using the subject matter as a comedy routine (AMC’s – Better Call Saul). But, I do not think this is a joking matter.

I also believe the future will see an increased number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Why? Technology takes away from humans using our brains to think. Calculators stop us from doing simple math and there is no need to memorize anything anymore since we can find information about anything at our fingertips. However, I think GPS units in cars may pose the biggest risk to human health. We no longer have to read maps or understand directions. That does not sound like a big deal, but Alzheimer’s disease starts in the area of the brain where map reading would prevail. Will weakening this portion of our brains cause an increase in Alzheimer’s disease? I do not know, but my hypothesis is yes it will. I have heard horror stories of people putting in the wrong address in a GPS unit and then travelling thousands of miles out of their way and had no commonsense to realize something is wrong and then how to correct the problem. Sure, this is rare, but it is getting worse. We are definitely a directionally challenged society.

Social media has made us less social. Remember social media was developed by socially challenged engineers. Less physical experiences makes us less healthy according to most health reports on the subject. Some studies suggest that the home environment has contributed to the development of antisocial behavior. Parents of these children have been shown to display antisocial behavior, which could be adopted by their children. Antisocial personality disorder is seen in 30% of psychiatric outpatients. A 2002 literature review of studies on mental disorders in prisoners cites that 47% of male prisoners and 21% of female prisoners had antisocial personality disorder. The occurrences of antisocial personality disorder is higher among patients in alcohol and other drug abuse treatment programs than in the general population. What is in store for individuals developing anti-social behavior from technology? I do not know, but the possibilities do not sound good.

This year, the U.S. Life Expectancy rate decreased for the first time in nearly 40 years. Part of the blame was placed on the high rate of youth deaths due to the growing drug addiction problem. That is definitely part of it. Traffic fatalities are back on the rise mostly due to people not concentrating when they drive. They are too busy playing with their electronic devices. Ironically, technology has probably saved thousands of lives from car fatalities with new innovations, but despite these gains fatal accidents are rising again. Why? People are distracted and relying heavily on technology to drive our vehicles. Technology has expanded our life expectancies with advancements in medicine. However, I predict technology will lead to the demise of the human race and that of course means a lowering of the life expectancy rate. Increased rates of anxiety, exposure to electromagnetic radiation, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and social disorders spell doom.

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