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TECHNOLOGY - FRIEND OR FOE?

Thursday 18th February 2016
Tags: Technology
Technology is adapting and developing rapidly. Things that were in comprehendible twenty years ago are now considered the norm and a part of our everyday life. 

As our exposure to digital enhancements increases there is growing scepticism in society about how much of a good thing all this new technology is, and suggestions that this ‘friend’ in technology we’ve welcomed into our lives is actually our foe.

We know about the benefits of technology. We know we’re better connected, we know healthcare has improved, and we can see that the world feels like a ‘smaller’ place because of advances in transport tech, among so many other things.

So what’s the cause for concern?

We’ve wrote blogs in the past about suggestions that technology is actually ‘dumbing us down’, and that we are more reliant on technology to do things for us rather than taking the time to find the answer ourselves (which we would have done years before). In other words it’s making us lazy.

There’s fears about the negative effect this ‘over exposure to technology’ is having on our children. In a recent blog we discussed how many Silicon Valley parents are now opting to send their children to schools where there is little or no technology with reports that children who attend schools with a heavy influence of technology do not perform as well as those children who are exposed to a more traditional (tech-free) style of learning.

There’s the issue of automation. How advances in technology has the potential cause an increase in unemployment in the future as technology is developed to carry out the tasks a human worker would. (Read more here.)

Not to mention the concerns that as our global population continues to rise, technology advancements will put considerable pressure on our resources and economy, which could cause a domino effect of issues.

Which leads us to ask…

Can technology really deliver a sustainable future for planet earth?

We recently attended the Sheffield festival of 10 billion, held at The University of Sheffield (15th – 18th February 2016).

How will we live in a world of 10 billion? The festival is built around this question.



We went along to a technology debate (Technology - friend or foe?) The debate looked to understand how we have developed seemingly ever more complex relationships with materials and technology. The debate also looked to explore the issues that flow from our technological relations and how we can manage them in alternate ways in a world of 10bn.

“Our demand for energy - and the life enhancing technologies it powers - has led to the plundering of the earth's hydrocarbons oil, gas and coal, ultimately leading to potentially catastrophic climate change.”

The key question leading the debate was ‘if technology got us into this mess can we trust it to get us out?’ …

It was really interesting to hear the various views surrounding these topics. The prime take away for us was that yes technology will be an important element in sustaining our planet as our population grows to 10 billion however, investment into development of green technology will be key as climate change continues to be a pressing issue.

Companies are still reluctant to see the value of turning green. A major survey of 1,000 global chief executives by United Nations Global Compact and Accenture found that nearly two-fifths of bosses thought that the failure to link sustainability with business value was hampering progress. 

Advancements in technology to minimise carbon emissions caused through transport will also be a major focus point if technology is to help us for a sustainable future. At the moment approximately 15% of CO2 emissions come from cars alone.

Many attendees asked can we trust the technologists to help us in this quest for sustainability in what seems to be such a profit hungry market?

We’d love to get your views on this as well. Leave a comment below or tweet us @AmsourceTech.
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