Technology: servant or master?

What comes to mind when you hear or read the word technology? Do you think of the computers, cell phones, and video games that weren't around when you were a kid? Or do you think about a certain obscure type of information that you're quite sure you'll never understand—or care to? Maybe the word conjures up some mysterious, off-putting, Big Brotherish entity that makes you feel vaguely uneasy.

For a lot of people, technology probably seems like a double-edged sword. We want innovation and greater efficiency when it comes to improving communication and travel, cooking and cleaning, manufacturing and health care. But we want to remain in control of our lives and our time, and wonder if, for example, the benefits of e-mail messages aren't outweighed by the fact that for every one message sent, we'll receive three more demanding our time to respond.

I checked my dictionary this morning because I wasn't sure exactly how to define technology. The entries were neither complex nor scary. All had to do with benefiting humankind. These I particularly liked: "applied science; a scientific method of achieving a practical purpose."

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September 8, 2003

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