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As People Rely More And More On Technology To Solve Problems, The Ability Of Humans To Think For Themselves Will Surely Deteriorate - With A Free Essay Review

Instructions: "Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position."

It's true that people grow dependent on technology. However, the claim has a misleading assumption. Technology cannot solve problems themselves, but only execute what it's designed for. We, human beings, are the ones who solve problems using technology as a means. Our increasing reliance on technology is therefore not related with the decay of the ability to think for ourselves.

Obviously, once without high-tech stuff at our disposal, like sudden breakdown or no electricity supply, things are messed up and hard to move on. For instance, with no calculator at hand, most people are hardly able to do the right counting right away; teachers regularly relying on powerpoint to deliver their class have trouble carrying on if the computer crashes. How to explain? Some people will conclude it is technology that deprives us of our problem-solving ability. So if technology is not available, we fail to achieve anything.

That's not true. When we lose access to technology, what we are lacking is not the ability of thinking, but rather the skill that is needed to process things. In order to clarify this point, we need to first make a very important distinction between skill and ability. While skill is all about how well you can do, ability is about how well you know how to do. Take the example mentioned before. Calculators just reduce the times that we practice counting, which causes us to fail to have the outcome immediately, but we still know how to calculate. The same as the teacher example: teachers do get stuck when the computer crashes. But teachers still have the ability needed to organize the class. The reason why they fail to carry on is the material they plan to display is not accessible, as well as the lack of practice using other non-technology way to deliver their class. Therefore, the claim that uses the reason that no available technology will lead to chaos makes no sense at all.

And what I want to emphasize most is technology is merely a means to solve problem. It is human itself that generates various mathematical models to solve numerous practical problems. It is also human itself that designs different softwares to meet hundreds of needs. It is still human itself that unlocks impossibility to creat incredible ways to change the world. Actually, I think that technology: 1) enables us to save more energy and time to do something else that technology can't do; 2) it also helps us to live a more effective way of life; 3) it introduces us to several ways to see the world that we have never seen before. Like e-rater invented by ETS gives a score instead of a human rater; skype saves two or more person's time and transportation fee to get things negotiated; telescope shows us a strange new world in nanoscale, and so on. But above all, what technology can do is all empowered by human being. Technology itself is the best evidence to prove human's ability of thinking how to solve problems.

As more and more innovations are coming out, human ability of thinking is certainly not decreasing but the opposite. Even if technology as a means clears out many problems about which we were worried before, it too brings with it a lot of new problems that we have never met. The newly arising problems brought by technology in return test our ability of problem-solving. Like alternative biofuels is supposed to replace the limited fossil fuels as renewable energy. Unfortunately biofuels turn out to produce more carbon dioxide which makes global warming worse. Then scientist around the world work hard to transform CO2 into a solid-state and bury it underground. Human came through the test and will continue to move forward with technology at hand.



Perhaps it is possible to argue that, from a certain perspective, it is ultimately humans not technology that solves problems, but that is really a way of skirting the issue. There is also a clearly reasonable claim to be made that we do rely on technology to solve problems and, frankly, even if you didn't believe that, I would recommend that you pretend to believe it for the sake of argument. In other words, imagine that it is true (it is true!) that as technology continues to develop, we will increasingly rely on it to solve problems (which of course doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t find other problems to solve). What, then, would be the consequences for our ability to think? The distinction between "technology solves problems" and "technology executes what it's designed for" is not really a meaningful distinction here; technology is often designed to solve problems. You can claim that the real problem solvers are the humans who designed the technology in the first place, of course, but that doesn't prevent technology from effectively solving innumerable problems for innumerable people every single day. The claim that technology itself is the best evidence to prove the continuing ability of humans to solve problems, then, seems a bit disingenuous to me. A very small percentage of people perform the kind of problem solving involved in the development of technology. The existence of technology doubtless shows that some people are still thinking for themselves, but it says nothing of people in general, which is what the prompt seems to be concerned with.

The same problem affects your final paragraph. You look at the specific case of scientists who have to address global warming. It's fine to do that, but you need to acknowledge that your argument is relevant only to a small group of people. And then you need to say what you think about the 98% of people who are not brilliant overachievers. What about mom using a GPS navigation system to find her way around the very town she grew up in? What about the the Friday night philanderer who uses his smart phone to tell him how to talk to his date? What about the average, everyday Joe whose idea of solving a problem is cutting his son's birthday cake into 13 equal pieces -- What happens to Joe's brain when there's an app for that?

Your essay, however, does imply an interesting distinction between losing the ability to solve problems and losing, let's say, the habit of solving problems; it would be interesting to see such a distinction made into the explicit focus of a fully developed argument.

Best, EJ
Submitted by: astalayista


Thank you, EJ. Your suggestion is very useful for me. I do agree with you that my weakness is lack of discussion of the opposite side. So, in order to truly enhance my critical thinking, I make a decision that rewrite this topic once again after the former one is clearly out of my memory. Only then, can I make real progress.

Thank you again! Best regards!
June,29 2012


I have to admit that every time I read those essays that I written the other day; I couldn’t help surprising by my pass improvement.

Even so, E.J. still could find out my problems that my eschewing about discussing the major point that the topic was concerned, that my disingenuous statement about what I think about what the technology can do, and that my deliberate ignorance of discussing the thinking ability of the ordinary people that dealing little with the tech development. I have to say I was stunning by the commend E.J. made, which was quite insightful and pointed out a reasonable and cohesive direction for me to improve.

Thank you, E.J. What I promised you was I would rewrite those topics again. Hopefully, not let you down this time. Always appreciating what you have been doing all this time along.
October,04 2012

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