Posted: November 8th, 2023
Are Human Beings Becoming Too Dependent on Computers?
With the increasing proliferation of computers into everyday life, it is time society questioned whether it should regulate its reliance on smart devices. The emergence of artificial intelligence has brewed new hope over what might occur in the next few decades. Generally, people expect AI to be increasingly used to enhance workplace efficiency. Lives and occupations will continue becoming automated. Computers and other technological innovations are not about to slow down, but that does not mean people isolate themselves from the plot. Technological advancement only mirrors humankind’s skills, ingenuity, knowledge and adaptability. Human beings are not yet too dependent on computers because they are far from replacing us. While increased automation negates the demand for human skill, technological advancement simply underscores the value and singularity of human talent.
Human beings cannot become dependent on computers until they can operate independently in real-life circumstances. Consider the much-celebrated use of artificial intelligence in Google’s self-driving car. The innovation led to the company estimating that autonomous vehicles will be on the market as soon as 2017 (Carr). People got lost in the hype of robotic cars, but the reality remains that human beings remain critical to driving operations. Even if engineers create vehicles that manage over 90% of driving situations, they cannot navigate real-world traffic, including interpreting unexpected events, such as tree-covered roads, detours and police gestures. The same reality has been true in aviation. The autopilot feature does not replace pilots during critical scenarios, such as landing. Real life situations are unique in their occurrence and often require random human judgment (Hoehe and Thibaut 94). Machine learning is incapable of such random judgment if the underlying scenario has not been programmed.
Technology continues to fall short of human capability and expectations. Advancements in artificial intelligence and information technology made people optimistic about how care quality and costs will improve. Recent studies reveal that complex systems in diagnostic equipment tend to inflate medical expenses with little measurable impact on patient outcomes (Carr). Computers can provide crucial information to nurses and clinicians, but they cannot match the professionals’ experience and knowledge regarding the intricacies of medicine or the patient’s condition. Computers have weaknesses today that are based on the limits of human knowledge (Grissinger 343). What constrains humans from becoming fully dependent on computers does not stem from their technical characteristics but the computer’s general lack of being.
Computers might become able to perform most of the things human beings do, but it is flawed to think they can replace human function. Mankind leverages computers and technology to improve the quality of life, but it is an insufficient substitute for our being and intelligence. Dependency lies in using computers to transfer and automate work. Certainly, computers require respect and recognition as they become more self-fulfilling, but we should respect our distinctiveness first and even more. Artificial intelligence will improve living conditions over the next few decades. However, it is human beings who will determine its development instead of the technology determining what it is to be human.
Carr, Nicholas. Are We Becoming Too Reliant On Computers? The Guardian. 17 January 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/17/nicholas-carr-are-we-becoming-too-reliant-on-computers, Accessed 5 May 2022.
Grissinger, Matthew. “Understanding Human Over-Reliance On Technology.” P & T: A Peer-Reviewed Journal for Formulary Management, vol. 44, no. 6, 2019, pp. 320-375.
Hoehe, Margret R, and Florence Thibaut. “Going Digital: How Technology Use May Influence Human Brains and Behavior .” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, vol. 22, no. 2, 2020, pp. 93-97. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.2/mhoehe
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