By Uriel Quilinguing
“As a consequence of the ascendancy of technology, humans have become demeaned and powerless second-class citizens in their own societies.” -Prof. Peter Crabb, Pennsylvania State University-Hazleton
WHAT I had in mind Thursday night, right after writing 30 for the Mediakonek Friday edition, was “Technology Trap” as the title, but I encoded “Technological Trap” and it was, as published. I was not referring to the book, “The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor and Power in the Age Automation” of Carl Benedikt Frey which Princeton University published since the article was the collective unconsciousness of most people, most if not all, are unmindful that in their day-to-day activities, they have been utilizing the advances of science and technology.
No doubt scientific and technological breakthroughs are beneficial.
But Professor Crabb, in an essay, warned that most people have learned to be so dependent on technologies that their sense of reality could have been altered and their personality development distorted.
“Children are put under the spell of technology shortly after birth. They are taught that sitting in front of screens for hours on end is legitimate human activity. No value is assigned to exercising the body or going outside and immersing oneself in the natural world,” he further said. “Their lives have always been to turn on a screen and slip into a trance.”
These observations are valid, not only in highly developed countries but also in the Philippines as well.
The psychology professor further wrote that “cellphones, text messaging, and iPods conspire to infantilize adults” while using them for comfort but are “no different from baby’s cherished blanket, bottle, or thumb.”
So what happens when the electricity goes out?
Being consciously aware of the consequences of being hooked to technologies is key in optimizing their usefulness. One’s ingenuity in tinkering with these cutting-edge brain aids could produce wonders.
Many agencies of government are directly involved in science and technology, at the forefront is the Department of Science and Technology whose regional office in Northern Mindanao will be holding this year’s Regional Science and Technology Week and Regional Inventors Contests and Exhibits in Valencia City, Nov. 11-13.
How the DOST-10 managed to lure some 170 inventors and exhibitors to participate in this year’s RSTW and RICE is commendable. Are they in just for the cash prizes or hopeful their discoveries could change their lives for the better?
Some of them may have learned from Jayme Navarro, an inventor from Bacolod, whose discovery of converting plastics to fuel was one of the 2008 DOST Outstanding Creative Research awardees.
Through the pyrolysis process, Navarro converted plastics to usable fuel—gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. Today, his company Poly-green Technology Resources, Inc. produces around 1,600 liters of fuel from recycling two metric tons of plastics daily.
There could be the likes of Jayme Navarro in this year’s RICE in Valencia. Who knows?
It’s a long shot for a novel invention to persuade multinational petroleum giants to change gear by utilizing plastics as fuel sources.
Any initiative, no matter how small, contributes to saving Mother Earth matters.
Meantime, the notion that technologies are infallible must be debunked. It’s not a plain and simple human error if something goes wrong while using cutting-edge machines. There must always be a reason and such comes only from humans.
(Uriel C. Quilinguing is a former president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club who, for more than three decades, had been editor in chief of Cagayan de Oro-based newspapers, including this paper. For reactions, email them to email@example.com.)