Technology’s bad side

by Jim on 9 December 2005

RadioShack Canada bag

Yes, RadioShack is back in Canada [Edit: Actually, now it’s gone again!].  Yesterday I walked in and made a purchase, and this bag is proof.  What did I buy?  I’ll leave you to imagine.  It set me back about $6 or so.

Today I wrapped up a poll here at  It was a poll about technology.  What technology would the world be better off without?  Here are the answers, and my comments:

At almost 72.73% was TVs/VCRs/DVD players.  No surprise there, I suppose.  So why would the world be better off without these?  Arguably the most common criticism concerns the inappropriate content.  It’s been argued that the medium itself tends to lend itself to the whole sex and violence thing.  There’s also the complaint that TV is a rather non-interactive medium, causing more people to sit and absorb rather than engage and think and be active.  There’s a lot of good that’s come from TV, but the negatives put it at the top of the list.

At 18.18% was computers.  Perhaps the number would have been higher if the poll had not been conducted via computer!  So what’s up with computers?  Well, a lot could be said.  There’s the negatives of content, of course.  The addictive nature of certain things like games and the internet.  And perhaps the fact that computers again are less social that other forms of interaction.  As much as people interact via computer, that personal contact is always lacking.

Finally, at 9.09% came cars.  If you’re now staring at your screen with shock and amazement, just calm down for a moment and consider the controversy that erupted when cars first started to appear on the scene.  They completely transformed society, and it could be argued it wasn’t in a good way.  While we often think of cars as bringing people together today, in the early days the concern was that they took people away from one another.  For thousands of years, society was strongly based on community.  It was not easy to get away from your family and friends.  With cars, you could easily get away.  You could get some privacy with your boy/girl friend.  You could gain new independence.  You can see how it could be a mixed blessing.  In many cases, the only reason that cars bring us together today is because they made our society more travel-oriented and moved us apart.  Now our families are often only the people we see on TV (they’re everywhere we go), and we get advice from books and talk shows rather than our own community.

Of course, technology has its positives – this was a negative poll.  Every once in a while it’s good to consider the effect technology has had on our lives.  It’s not always neutral or good.

But on a more positive and fun note, check out our new poll and tell us what your favourite ethnic food is.  I tried to include some ethnic foods that are most popular around here, but you can always choose "other" if your favourite isn’t listed (or you can leave a comment and complain!). 😉

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

my June 18, 2006 at 12:11 am

hi! im my from philippines.
your poll is very helpful on my paper.
i have an argumentative paper that deals woth the bad side of technology.
are the statistics that you posted are accurate enough to use?
it would be very helpful for me if i will mention those statistics.
where did you based your stats?just wonderin.
anyway…thanks for the informations…

Jim June 18, 2006 at 7:30 am


The stats aren’t scientific in any way – just a little poll at my website. I’m sure you could use the stats just as an interesting story, as long as you specified it was a non-scientific poll at one website. It is interesting to see what peple think about technology, though.

All the best with your paper!

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