[Wish List| Serendipity 2] Hoàng Quang Đạt

"The power of modern devices lies in their ability to allow us to connect, but at the same time, disconnect with each other. We now have more relationships online, but at the same time, less relationships offline." The advancements of technology have expanded incessantly over the years, resulting in numerous social changes and consequences, be it positive or negative, on the general lifestyles of humankind. This evolution, in turn, poses a vexed question of whether technology is uniting us or tearing us apart. From my stance, it is paradoxically doing both; but strictly speaking, I am convinced that technology divides humans to a greater extent than it connects us. One valid argument in favor of technology would be its promise of connectivity -- it is a powerful tool to bring us closer together in today's fast -paced world. Technology aids have become so entrenched in societies that they allow us to access the same information, expanding our networks and connecting people across the globe. It facilitates our ways of communication, especially for those geographically far away from each other, as messages can now be passed around with a click of a button thanks to platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, or Facebook. Yet the chief potential of digital technology, above all, is to stimulate citizen engagement with social issues and shape a stronger civil society. A real-world example would be FixMyStreet, a national platform for UK citizens to file reports to local authorities about problems in their neighborhood. To provide a common platform on which everyone can put forward their proposals, such organizations have succeeded in building connected communities. Nevertheless, it could be contended that technology is moving us further apart in possibly different manners. The first legitimately worrying concern would be interpersonal relationships. Most conversations nowadays take place via social media as more people have become overly reliant on their digital devices. The immediately concomitant result is that communication skills and abilities to establish real-life contact are in marked decline. In essence, this is because those who primarily use technology for communication might have issues striking up a casual conversation with their friends due to a lack of face-to-face interaction. By the same token, technology drives people to distract from real life regularly; for example, some people are so engrossed in their gadgets that they become incognizant of the ones surrounding them. Without realization, these thumb-talkers have neglected their responsibilities and relationships with friends and families. The longer-term implications of this include chances of communication breakdown, broken relationships, and senses of isolation, hence creating wider gaps between people within societies. To conclude, technology overall gravitates towards driving us further away. But whether technology is our greatest ally or the bane of our existence is still dependent upon one decisive factor: you must recognize the inevitability of technological progress and its seismic impacts, but at the same time decide how to utilize it for your own benefit. (448 words)
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