Impact of Technology

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・MLA ・2 Sources

Introduction

In the article, It Always Costs via David Suzuki (2006), the writer talks about technology and how its impact on the environment. Suzuki notes that there is no technology does not have problems. Even though technology has its benefits, it has its cost. The author gives an example of DDT, which helped to kill many mosquitoes and saved the lives of many people dwelling in tropical countries. However, DDT it also made mosquitoes immune to it. As a result, the mosquitoes returned, and major ecological damage was once caused due to the increased use of chemical sprays used to fight them. This additionally caused harm to animals. The damage passed off because the chemical was not clear on the exact insects that were supposed to be targeted and therefore, in addition to many mosquitoes being killed, other insects were killed as well. Suzuki provides a solution he thought would be useful in reducing the use of unnecessary technology. He suggests the need for a board of people with diverse interests who can help to examine the cost and benefits brought about by new technology. In “It Always Costs,” scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki argued that though technology is useful, it has a hefty price that the environment has to pay for its use. He states that there is no such thing as “problem-free technology,” because however beneficial it is, there is always a cost. This paper will critically analyze the article by Suzuki to show the expenses brought about by technological advances, and how to minimise these costs.

Discussion

In his article, Suzuki mainly focuses on how technology, even with its advantages, can have adverse effects on people’s lives. To make his argument, Suzuki notes how he realized that his faith in technology was misplaced, mainly because every technology has some challenges. Suzuki begins his case by using DDT as an example to prove how something so useful could become a more significant problem than it was fighting initially. Though DDT was helpful in killing malaria-carrying mosquitos and saving many lives in the at-risk tropical areas, he explains that it also gave the mosquitos the ability to become immune to DDT. Therefore, the malaria-carrying mosquitos came back, and we had to start using more toxic chemicals to fight them. The result was unintended harm to other animals. In his analysis, the writer uses DDT as an example of such technology. Suzuki then goes on to explain how this was used to kill a large number of mosquitoes known to cause malaria and in the process, many people’s lives were saved. Mosquitoes eventually became resistant and returned, and Suzuki explains how commitment to a chemical approach had been established, and this meant that more toxic compounds had to be utilized. The excess use of chemical sprays caused ecological damage because DDT is harmful to all insects and not just mosquitoes (Suzuki 9).

While analyzing this fact, Suzuki goes on to discuss his misplaced belief in the power of increased awareness. Suzuki then reminds his readers of his misplaced “faith” in the power of greater awareness. He states “by carefully weighing the benefits and bad side effects, we could make a more informed decision on whether to allow a new technology to be used.” In other words, to be able to make a decision, we need to have a comprehensive awareness of the situation. He notes that a careful examination of the benefits and costs of technology can help in making better choices on whether to agree to the use of technology. Here, he means that for more informed decisions to be made there is a need for increased awareness of the situation.

Suzuki then explains that assessments tend to be limited, and conditions are always varying. Evaluations can hardly be kept constant. Suzuki brings forth the idea of how assessing the environmental effects of drilling for oil in the Arctic is usually done in a limited time and in an area that is under restriction. He adds that assessment is being carried out, there is a possibility that the industry will conduct itself in the best way possible, hence, the results will be a bit biased (Suzuki 15). Moreover, if the assessment is carried out over ten years, one cannot expect all variation of conditions in this area. The writer notes of cases where studies have been carried out on animal and plant populations over decades and the results have been predictable, but in most cases, fluctuations that were not expected usually occur. He explains how the fact that our assessments are always limited and that, like everything else, conditions change. It’s impossible to keep the estimates constant. He calls the idea of drilling. The studies on drilling are carried out for a limited time within a restricted area. Therefore, the results are limited. Suzuki also mentions the studies were done on animals, and how their reviews and predictions are only valid until a sudden fluctuation occurs. We know much less than we like to admit.

Besides, Suzuki also calls into the text the result of pretesting. After years of positive results with women taking an oral contraceptive pill, it was unforeseen that a sudden rising of adverse effects would start to show. Though pretesting seems efficient, it can’t even begin to anticipate what is to come (Suzuki 12).

Conclusion

After a series of counter-arguments, Suzuki states that undeniably, technology has a number of benefits. He suggests that pretesting of new technology is defective because only a limited assessment of its effects is obtained. The tests have limitations in size, range and time and usually depend on the priority that people decide could be a likely effect. He is, however, quick to note that it is difficult to test for something that there is no surety of its occurrence. The writer argues that if all technology comes with a cost, then the seriousness of the cost will depend on how powerful the technology is. People have begun to rely so much on technology, and it is, therefore, difficult to advance without it. In his recommendation, he states that people’s judgments should be built on careful consideration and caution.

This paper critically analyzed “It Always Cost” by Suzuki in order to show the costs that are brought about by technological advances and how to reduce such costs. Suzuki states that even though technology has enormous benefits, it’s hard to let go of technology. Once we have it, we will never know a priori. We’ve become hooked on technology, and it has become impossible to move forward without it. We need to air on the side of caution and not do things “just because we can.”

Works Cited

Suzuki, D. (2006). It Always Costs. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.

Suzuki, D. The David Suzuki Reader: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker. Greystone Books, 2014.

 

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