Does the perpetual seeking of convenience-based technologies ultimately benefit society? Yes, it does; its benefits can be seen in all aspects of our life. Imagine a world with no remote controls to change the channel, no cell phones to catch up with friends, no computers to do your home work on, and no liquid-tab Advil to ease your hangovers. We as consumers drive industries to produce more and more convenient technologies so we can waste less time using old-fashioned physical and mental effort.
Of course there is a cost for all this convenience. At my old job I sometime worked with people very closely on projects but never actually met them in person or even talked to them on the phone, which is kind of sad and isolating. And I don’t walk or take the bus anywhere anymore. I take my vehicle. The planet absorbs this act and pays the price for my need for convenience. (I also guiltily admit a weakness for the “mini-sublime”, and drive an SUV because I find it cool; my eco-Karma is definitely showing a debt on my side.) Driving is just easier and more pleasant, as it doesn’t involve uncomfortable interactions with the more talkative members of the bus-riding community. The has led to a dramatically more sedentary lifestyle. There are times when I can feel the calories not burning; they are kicking of their shoes, settling in and making themselves at home.
I guess my point is that technologies can make life easier, but it’s up to us as consumers of technology to find a balance between the positive and negative effects our use of technology has on the world and ourselves. It’s all about moderation. But I can’t help but wonder as I sit here on my couch typing this with my stomach growling if my fridge will one day have the capacity to make me a ham and Swiss on rye when promted by my voice command from the TV room. A girl can dream.