Role of Modern Technology in Alone Together Novel
The use of technology is increasing day by day, we all depend on technology and we use various technologies to accomplish specific tasks in our lives. From an individual to big organizations, everyone uses technology. Today, we have various emerging technologies which impact our lives in different ways. Technology is being implemented in almost every section of our lives like business, communication education, and more importantly health. Sherry Turkle in her essay, “Alone Together” discusses how technology can be used by anyone to ease their life and how robots can take place instead of a person. Mariam, presented as a woman who is alone, forgotten by her family depends on a robot that serves as a friend for her. However, robots cannot be replaceable for humans because they do not have emotions or any kind of sense towards us. Lisa Belkin on the other side, in “The Made-to-Order Savior” talks about how using medical technology to help a woman produce a baby for the sole purpose of saving another one. The parents of two cancer patients have been trying to save their children for a long time. They face criticism while treating their children for using such a controversial method. But not taking any conflicts into consideration, they try to come of as many solutions they can to save their children. We live in a society where there are critics everywhere and are very judgemental. Sometimes, there are failures in bioethical implications of biological and medical procedures, technologies, and treatments. Regardless of these moral or bioethical complications, ‘lay’ people can be their own “experts” because any person has the right to use the technology whenever they want and utilize it in a right manner if they have enough knowledge.
Complication arises while using technology on who is using it and how it is being used but everyone has an equal right on it. Technology has given us opportunities to fix most of our life problems. In “The Made-to-Order Savior” there are few technologies introduced to cure a Fanconi child by a bone-marrow transplant from a matched sibling donor. These health technological development gave the parents of Molly and Henry to take a step forward to save their children. They went on with the treatment but instead they faced failures where researches/doctors gave up too. For instance, Dr. Wagner tried to help the parents but didn’t succeed, “You have to stop,…There is a point where I have to say: ‘It’s over. You’ve done it. You’ve done the best you could’” (Belkin 13). Dr. Wagner is a scientific director of clinical research in the Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota, he tried his best but couldn’t help Molly. Molly’s mother Lisa reacted as “I couldn’t hear the word no, No’ meant Molly could die” (Belkin 13). Lisa, Molly’s mother does not believe him and still try to go ahead with any health technological treatment possible, believing there is hope to save the sick child. People put their deepest trust in technology. Similarly, In Trukle’s essay Alone Together, Mariam an old woman has a robot named Paro as a mate because her son has broken all relationships with her. Turkle says “Encouraged, Mariam shows yet more affection for the little robot. In attempting to provide the comfort she believes it needs, she comforts herself” (Turkle 270). This quote means that Mariam is now relying on a robot who has no feelings yet she is using him by replacing his son to a robot because comforts and give her happiness. She basically used technology when she was facing moral complications. She did not fully understand that in the moment of apparent connection; robot did not comprehend anything, but it was still her decision and right to use it.
Even though technology is sometimes not affordable; it now has more great new software, features and apps that are being introduced all the time. The right to use still does not change on whoever or however they want to use it. Mark Hughes in “The Made-to-Order Savior”, known as a great researcher also undergoes hurdles while using technology for his research because “Congress banned all federal financing of embryo research, and Hughes was forced to continue his research with private funds only” (Belkin 6) . Hughes still continues his research “Hughes had certainly thought of the possibility of using PGD (pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) to determine HLA type” (Belkin 6), in spite all these complications, he has the right to use the technology however he wants it because he has enough knowledge. Sherry Turkle on the other side presents a case how nowadays people prefer technology over an actual human being. Anne a graduate student, in “Alone Together” whom the writer spoke to is in her mid-twenties and says ‘She would trade in her boyfriend ‘for a sophisticated Japanese robot” if the robot would produce what she called ‘caring behavior’…She said, ‘If the robot could provide the environment, I would be happy to help produce the illusion that there is somebody really with me.’ She was looking for a ‘no-risk relationship’ that would stave off loneliness” (Turkle 270-271). By depicting this, Turkle shows how she is making her own choices on how she wants to make the use of technology. She says she would prefer robot instead of another person that would not make feel lonely and instead it would be caring than an actual person who had feelings. From an expert to any ordinary person; has the right to use the technology where everyone put their trust into it whether it will work for them or not.
Consumer trusts technology with anything; when it comes to a ‘lay person’ who is in crisis, do not think about the outcome but go on with it to solve it. Consumers put their hope and believe technology is the solution to anything but at first may be they should take a look at what technology they have surrounded with is capable of and secure to solve their problems. In “The Made-to-Order-Savior” another patient Henry, who also is a cancer patient and needs a transplant. His parents tries their best to save him but their attempts always failed. Henry’s mom Laurie believes that science will fix everything and says “We worked with the world’s best doctors. We hoped. We believed. We were brave. We preserved. And despite all that didn’t work. I am left with my belief system intact. I believe in love and science. Nothing more, nothing less” (Belkin 16). By this quote, Laurie meant that even though she tried everything that was in her hands to save her child. She still does not lose hope and depends on technology to save her child. The man purpose of Belkin putting this quote by Laurie is to show how Laurie has the right to use technology even if she had incur failures throughout. Parents can make their own choices on a behalf of their sick child and make the use of technology as needed if they are guided properly. Likewise, Turkle also mentions how people have the same belief about robots/technology. Turkle says, “Putting hope in robots expresses as enduring technological optimism, a belief that as other things go wrong, science will go right. In a complicated world, robots seem a simple salvation” (Turkle 272). She means that as a right to use technology, people put their hope in technology which will always be right. If the problem is that technology is harming in any way, technology will yet be the solution to what’s causing the harm. There is no such thing as technology being used too much because everyday the world has something new to offer to better people’s lives.
People invest so much hope and trust while using technology. People rely on technology for everything: to chat, to pay bills, to save a sick child, or get rid of loneliness. Technology comforts people; robots are there when people feel lonely. It’s ludicrous how technology has improved equipments in health surgeries too. Now people are benefitted by implants and transplants to get better. Now, new discoveries in science and technology can help a sick child to improve his/her health conditions. People become dependent on robots and other types of technology to better themselves. Technology really ties us up that tight that we get addicted to it. The right to use technology is universal; no one should be banned to use it. When people are in crisis they depend on technology to get the solutions to their problems and no has the right to steak that right if it is being used in a right manner where none is harmed. ‘Lay’ people who are patents, parent of patents or consumers of any technology have the same right to use technology as of a doctor’s rights, the difference is just that doctor or researchers have more knowledge on how to use it. ‘Lay’ people can consume knowledge from the experts and make the use of technology. Mariam, who was using a robot to get rid of her loneliness, made her own decision to use it because her family had left her. She was happy and satisfied with it; so no one can question her about how she is using the robot.
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