To go forth: onwards to new lands, climbing the corporate ladder. These messages that evoke a sense of “development or growth” (Heritage Dictionary 1401) Progressing seems to be an everyday occurrence for most of us. We are always setting goals for ourselves and others weather its dreaming of pushing new technology to the furthest reach of the unknown or discovering a cure for the worlds worst diseases; to something simpler like finding the perfect weight loss program and sticking to it or planning the perfect vacation with loved ones; indeed most people without a doubt would say progress is good. Can there be a line drawn, though; when does continual progress become a deterrent rather than an improvement, and who exactly draws that line?
There are many fields in today’s society that are constantly improving almost evolving each year. Still time and time again computers set the bar, and the booming field of Information Technology is a perfect example of progress a work. Just last year the new FiOS was released out on the market. FiOS- or fiber optic service-use fiber optic strands made of pure glass or plastic thin as human hair. These lines can transmit data at the speed of light, “because light travels so quickly, this technology can bring an enormous amount of data to your home at super fast speeds.” (Alan Evans, et al 124) Such technology might as well make traditional broadband networks and the already vintage dial-up connections beyond obsolete, but rather down right archaic. However the majority of Americans are unable afford such upgrades to their home network, not to mention possibility of interference and other connectivity problems associated with newly untested technology. Only large enterprises and bureaucratic agencies would seem like plausible buyers of FiOS and those who have tested its capabilities only in California. It may be some time still before high speed Internet on steroids reaches our doorstep.
How about appliances that run themselves while you’re away? That’s right; the artificially intelligent home of the future is no longer a science-fiction story. Software developers are creating quite a spectacular program for the average household fridge, one that can record the amount of certain products you constantly buy at the store. If you happen to be running low on soda and milk, no worries surviving your next grocery run. The fridge will order them online and a pre-set quantity. You’ll have your food delivered to you instead in a timely matter and a your convenience. Why not stop there the same developers are looking to automate an entire grocery store imagine walking into Albertsons with a shopping cart that record every item you place in the cart. A machine will total your cost when you want it to and you can swipe your card or feed money into the machine right on the cart. No lines, no waiting just pay and go. Of course the human element must be ever present along with a trusted security system to catch potential thieves trying to sneak a few freebies back to their car. Shoplifting problem solved, right? Sure, drive through grocery stores coupled with smart homes seem like a nice fit in our ever rampant digital, but is there serious danger in relying so much on machines?
Accounting, perhaps the most pain staking meticulous financial occupation on the planet has gotten a little easier in the past decade thanks to the emergence of computers. Programs like peach tree can help small retail owners become their own part-time accountants or better yet can keep in touch with a real accountant to help them through fiscal year. Peach tree monitors their finances by “…automatically collecting sales information from its point-of-sales scanning devices. It also keeps track of inventory levels and automatically generates purchase orders for popular items…” (John Wiley & Sons 301).
So who is to say what type of progress goes over the line? There are and will likely be no definitive answers. Depending on an individual’s ethics and rationale, someone can be for or against certain types of progress; an airplane engineer with a traditionalist mindset might favor advancements into environmentally friendly engines but protest against government funded abortion clinics. No more confusing then a pro-choice supporter wildly opposing gay rights activism. Tshe difference in opinions are staggering.
Evan Alan, Kendall Martin, Mary Anne Poatsy. Technology in Action. Pearson Learning Center. Boston, MA. Print
Houghton Miffin Company. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston, MA. Houghton Miffin Co. 2000. Print
John Wiley and Sons Incorporated. Accounting Principles, ninth edition. New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons inc. 2010. Print
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