88. "Technologies not only influence but actually determine social customs and ethics."
1. Technologies have radically changed the way we spend holidays.
2. The new ways of communication brought about by electronic technology have transformed the way we associate with each other in our daily lives.
3. However, we should not let technologies determine our ethics.
107. "Instant communication systems encourage people to form hasty opinions and give quick replies rather than take the time to develop thoughtful, well-reasoned points of view."
Instant communication systems tend to discourage thoughtful and well-reasoned points of view.
1. Instant communication systems usually require quick replies.
2. The pressure of time and space—a key feature of instant communication—forces people to form hasty opinions rather than thoughtful and well-reasoned points of view.
3. On the contrary, traditional ways of communication such as hand-written letters or face-to-face discussion are more likely to induce in-depth thinking.
114. "Humanity has made little real progress over the past century or so. Technological innovations have taken place, but the overall condition of humanity is no better. War, violence, and poverty are still with us. Technology cannot change the condition of humanity."
Although I agree that technology cannot ultimately prevent us from harming one another, the statement fails to account for the significant positive impact that the modern industrial and computer revolutions have had on the quality life—at least in the developed world.
1. I agree with the statement insofar as there is no technological solution to the enduring problems of war, poverty, and violence, for the reason that they stem from certain aspects of human nature—such as aggression and greed.
2. For every technological innovation helping to reduce human suffering is another that has served primarily to add it.
3. Notwithstanding technology’s limitations in preventing war, poverty, and violence, 20th Century technological innovation has enhanced the overall standard of living and comfort level of developed nations.
4. Of course, such progress has not come without costs.
115. "It is through the use of logic and of precise, careful measurement that we become aware of our progress. Without such tools, we have no reference points to indicate how far we have advanced or retreated."
In certain endeavors, quantitative measurements and logical analysis of data are essential for us to determine whether and to what extent we are progressing or regressing. However, in other realms, objective data provides little guidance for determining progress.
1. As for monitoring individual progress, the extent to which careful measurement and logical analysis of data are required depends on the specific endeavor. In the area of personal finance, objective measurements are critical.
2. In the area of one’s physical well-being, however, quantitative measurement might be useful yet insufficient.
3. On a societal level, as on a personal level, the extent to which careful measurement and logic are needed to determine progress also depends on the endeavor. In macroeconomics, as in personal finance, objective measurements are critical.
4. In contrast, socio-political progress is less susceptible to objective measurement.
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