Technology Dependence

606 words | 3 page(s)

The general purpose of this piece is to shed light on the use of technology in the United States. More specifically, the focus is on how the United States has become dependent on technology for many daily functioning activities. The use of electronic medical records, ride-sharing services, and the surge of smartphones suggests that our society is highly dependent on technology in health, transportation, and personal connectedness, among other areas. A call for action to prevent possible catastrophic consequences that could result if disruption to technology occurs is discussed.

Those living in the United States are dependent on the transmission of data through an electronic healthcare record system, and thus are dependent on technology for healthcare. According to the Centers for Disease Control (2015), two years ago, it was reported that nearly 90% of office-based physicians used an electronic health record. Researchers have suggested that when these electronic systems malfunction or have periods of outages, some clinicians cannot perform their work, chaos can ensue in hospital organizations (Campbell et al., 2007). Finally, when picking up medications from pharmacies, information is also stored in an electronic medical system; thus, if the system crashes, dispensing of medications would also be impeded. Overall, within the United States, there is a major dependence on technology for multiple aspects of healthcare.

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The transportation systems within the United States are dependent on technology from air travel to the basics of car mechanics, to the most recent developments with ride-sharing services like Uber. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2017) millions of people travel by plane each year, with the Atlanta airport alone having already had over 45 million passengers enplaned this year. The automotive industry is also highly dependent on technology cross a wide number of domains. In particular, the production of vehicles today is highly automated and the mechanics of the cars have changed drastically over the years to the point that computers are used to detect and diagnose mechanical problems. Finally, an increase in ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft have drastically changed the economy (Hahn & Metcalfe, 2017), and the use of driverless cars suggests that soon human operation of vehicles may be a thing of the past.

The use of smartphones has increased over the recent years, and many in the United States are highly dependent on this form of technology for both business and social affairs. According to the Pew Research Center (Smith, 2015), two-thirds of individuals in the United States own a smartphone. Furthermore, approximately 7% of those in the United States use their smartphones as their primary means of connecting to the internet (Smith, 2015). Finally, according to Nielsen (2016) millennials are the most likely to use smartphones, suggesting that future generations may be more dependent on this technology.

In conclusion, the United States is highly dependent on technology in the domains of healthcare, transportation, and social connectedness. If technology crashed in any one of these domains, there would be major disruptions in the daily lives of many, and important parts of life such as travel and healthcare could be temporarily disrupted, with possible catastrophic consequences in the case of medical care. Due to the reliance on technology within our society, more needs to be done to ensure proper backups should these systems fail. A first place to start would be to create an emergency backup system of electronic medical records and to prepare hospitals for what they could do if electronic records were down. Overall, society seems to be moving in a direction of increasingly complex reliance on technology, but unfortunately, the number of safeguards are not adequate at the moment, and these must be created in anticipation of a possible systemic failure.

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