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Gre Issue 91

The primary goal of technological advancement should be to increase people's efficiency so that they have more leisure time.

  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.

Vehicles drives us from one place to another in a considerably short time, telephones connect people in different places without the trouble of travelling, and computers save us a lot of time to entertain ourselves when we finish our work. Living in a world of highly developed technology, we are indeed benefited a lot from hi-tech, and seem to enjoy an easier and a more efficient life than our ancestors ever had. However, even at the first look the efficiency which seems to give people more leisure time is the primary goal of technological advancement, I do not think it is the only primary goal of which we are trying to achieve.

The discussion must begin with the question that why do we need technology? The very first answer that comes to my mind is to improve our productivity, which is to increase our working efficiency, so I agree with the first half of the claim. But what do we need that efficiency for? Do we just need it because we can finish our work earlier than before and then entertain ourselves for the rest of our time? As far as I am concerned, the answer is no. It is true that almost everyone wants more leisure time, but the primary goal which invokes the advancement of technology is far more than that. For instance, when people were improving their means of medical treatment in order to try to fight against a kind of disease, I believe it is not "more leisure time" that came into their mind as a motivator, but rather "save more lives". Leisure time is good, but it is not essential, it is not like a problem which must be solved using advanced technology, so it is with a quite narrow scope one says that the primary goal is to have more leisure time. Pursuing more leisure time is only one of the many motivators that can make us eager to develop technology, and more often, I do not think it can outweigh the goal of "solve urgent problems".

Another primary goal which is also important is satisfying our own curiosities. Many researchers and inventors are not sure whether their scientific results or inventions can help people to do more things in a shorter time, or they do not even consider about efficiency, they just care about what the invention would be like when completed, for they just do it out of their own curiosities. And since these people contribute a lot to technological advancement, I think it is too absolute to rule out their intrinsic purposes, which might not even be that clear, to say that the primary goal is improving people's efficiency in order to let them have more leisure time.

In a view of a pragmatic person and a person who likes to have more leisure time, I certainly hope that the goal of technological advancement is to improve my efficiency, so I can have more time to enjoy myself. However, technology development bears more than just making us more leisure time, and so we cannot just conclude its primary goal in only one sentence like it does in the claim.

Submitted by: Juliana

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