"Both the development of technological tools and the uses to which humanity has put them have created modern civilizations in which loneliness is ever increasing."
Technology, broadly defined as the use of tools, has a long history. Ever since Erg the caveman first conked an animal with a rock, people have been using technology. For thousands of years, the use of tools allowed people to move ever closer together. Because fields could be cultivated and the technology to store food existed, people would live in cities rather than in small nomadic tribes. Only very lately have Erg's descendants come to question the benefits of technology. The Industrial Revolution introduced and spread technologies that mechanized many tasks. As a result of the drive toward more efficient production and distribution (so the ever larger cities would be supported), people began to act as cogs in the technological machine. Clothing was no longer produced by groups of women sewing and gossiping together, but by down-trodden automation's operating machinery in grim factories.
The benefits of the new technology of today, computers and the internet, are particularly ambiguous. They have made work ever more efficient and knit the world together in a web of information and phone lines. Some visionaries speak of a world in which Erg need not check in to his office; he can just dial in from home. He won't need to go to a bar to pick up women because there are all those chat rooms. Hungry? Erg orders his groceries from an online delivery service. Bored? Download a new game. And yet……
Many people, myself included, are a little queasy about that vision. Erg may be doing work, but is it real work? Are his online friends real friends? Does anything count in a spiritual way if it's just digital? Since the Industrial Revolution, we have been haunted by the prospect that we are turning into our machines: efficient, productive, souless. The newest technologies, we fear, are making us flat as our screens, turning us into streams of bits of interchangable data. We may know a lot of people, but we have few real friends. We have a lot of things to do, but no reason to do them. In short, the new technology emphasizes a spiritual crisis that has been building for quite some time.
As I try to unravel which I believe about the relative merits of technology, I think it is instructive to remember technology's original result. A better plow meant easier farming, more food, longer lives, and more free time to pursue other things such as art. Our newest technology does not give us more free time; it consumes our free time. We are terminally distracted from confronting ourselves or each other. We stay safe, and lonely, in our homes and offices rather than taking the risk of meeting real people or trying new things.
While I am certainly not a Luddite, I do believe we need to look for a bit more balance between technology and life. We have to tear ourselves away from the fatal distractions and go out into the world. Technology has given us long lives and endless supplies of information. Now we need to apply that information, use the time we're not spending conking our dinner with a club, and find our reasons for living.
This outstanding response displays cogent reasoning, insightful, persuasive analysis, and superior control of language. The essay immediately identifies the complexities of the issue and then playfully explores both the benefits and the drawbacks of technological developments over the course of human history. The writer maintains that a "balance between technology and life" is necessary if humans are going to abate the loneliness that is part of modern existence.
I disagree with the argument that "Both the development of technological tools and the uses to which humanity has put them have created modern civilizations in which loneliness is ever increasing."" Arguments can be made for this thesis, but they depend largely upon what I believe to be a poor definition of "loneliness".
If one defines loneliness as the absence of as much physical, face-to-face contact with other people, then this argument is probably true. The invention of modern telecommunications devices such as telephones, fax machines, and computers has definitely cut down on the amount of physical contact with other people. This is especially true in recent times due to the extremely rapid expansion of the Internet. E-mail and tele-conferencing are direct substitutes for physical contact, especially in the business world.
However, I believe that loneliness can be better measured by intellectual contact with other individuals. Unarguably, modern technology makes this faster and easier, with better communication with a larger number of people. Some employers have argued that productivity is lessened since they have had computers linked to the Internet, as the employees spend much of their time "chatting" with friends, acquaintances, or business contacts across the country. This is probably not a good thing for the employers, but it demonstrates the increased degree of communication due to modern technology.
Of course, some technologies have increased loneliness by any standards, such as the automobile or other transportation mechanisms. These encourage substantially longer commutes between home and work. Automobiles have made possible the pattern of suburbanization that has been in place in the United States since immediately after World War Two. Time spent commuting is generally unproductive and spent alone, unless the individual in question is car-pooling or using mass transit. The contribution of the commuting culture to loneliness may actually be changing now due to new technology that is being invented and used by the general public. Popular new devices, such as the cellular phone, the laptop computer, and the combination thereof may actually convert commuting time to a period of increased communications between people, to "pass the time". This will be especially true as use of mass transit grows, which will probably happen, due to problems with gas shortages, air pollution, and the creation of further mass transit by federal and local governments.
The motivation for the declaration that loneliness is increasing may be due to the fact that many people, especially blue-collar workers, are unable to afford or use these new devices. However, since the advent of the personal computer, the price per computing power has continually lowered rapidly, and this trend shows no sign of changing. Several companies, such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle have announced that they are attempting to develop terminals with little computing power, but a full capability to access the Internet. These devices will be in approximately the $500 price range, which is much more reasonable than the price of the current top of the line PC. In addition, to cater to a larger mass of the public, software companies have been carefully making their products easier to use by non-"computer nerds". This trend is not likely to cease.
In conclusion, although early development of modern transportation may have increased loneliness, I believe that more recent technologies are actually doing the opposite, stimulating interpersonal contact and encouraging intellectual expansion. The perception that the opposite is true derives from what I believe is poor definition of loneliness and the difficulty that the working class has in acquiring and using modern telecommunications devices.
This strong response analyzes the complexities of the issue. In disagreeing with the prompt, the writer makes a distinction between two types of loneliness —— loneliness caused by "the absence of??? physical contact" and loneliness brought about by a lack of "intellectual contact" with others. The essay reasons that while "the automobile and other transportation mechanisms" originally kept passengers physically and intellectually isolated from one another, modern technology, such as the cellular telephone and laptop computer, has made intellectual contact "faster and easier" and has benefited users by allowing them to communicate with "a larger number of people."
The response provides clear and relevant examples of the ways in which technological developments facilitate and encourage intellectual communication. The writer examines the impact of user-friendly Internet access on the individual's ability to interact with others even when physical distance separates the communicating parties.
The organization is clear, yet transitions between paragraphs are not always smooth. The body of the essay lacks the focus that would help move it to a score of 6. It is not always clear how the information given relates to the essay's initial position (e.g., the discussion of current prices for personal computers in paragraph five). The conclusion, while clearly relevant, attempts to impose order on the somewhat loosely connected paragraphs, yet fails to add substance to the analysis.
On the whole, the essay displays clarity and control, but the language is sometimes imprecise and less tightly controlled than it would be in a 6 essay. The following sentence is one such example: "The motivation for the declaration that loneliness is increasing may be due to the fact that many people, especially blue-collar workers, are unable to afford or use these new devices."
Looking at the above statement, I see a lot of truth to the statement. There are many ways that society has used the advanced technology in order to isolate themselves. It may or may not be a consious move, but the results are all the same. The isolation occurs in a variety of ways and in all different areas. By computerizing factories, there are more and more people working long hours by themselves, with there only companion as a computer monitor. Although the company may be getting better production, the question that needs to be ask is at what cost to their employees.
It is not only the management of big factories that are responsible for this isolation. This lonliness can be seen in many other settings. With the growing popularity of the television, the nation is seeing a decline in families talking and an increase in watching the television. Not only can this result in a generation of "coach potatoes", it is also causes less communication and a feeling of isolation from everyone that a person cares about.
So far technology has entered the work place and the home, it has also entered the social relm. When you go to order food in the drive-thru, who is or better yet what is it that you talk to? It is a machine, although there is a person on the other end, you are still reciting your order to a machine. If it is ten o'clock at night and you need money, there are ATM's. All of these gadgets may be very nice and convient, but they result in lack of human contact.
Although it might be easy to blame technolgy for our feelings of loneliness, it is just a cop out. By looking at all the ways technology causes isolation, it is still people who choose to use these convenient methods. If a person wants to have human contact, all they have to do is go inside to the bank or go inside the resturaunt to order. What it basically boils down to, is that it is our choice whether or not we use technology. It is a scary thought to think maybe one day we might live in a society where you will never have to leave your house. That by using FAX machines, computers, modems, and the telephone a person would never have to have human contact to get their job done. The thing is that if that is not what we as a society wants, we are the ones to speak out and change the outcome.
This response presents a competent discussion of the issue. The position presented in the first paragraph —— that "there are many ways that society has used the advanced technology in order to isolate themselves" —— is adequately sustained, but the examples given are not always clearly relevant (e.g., in the case of paragraph one's "computerizing" of factories, the decision to use the technology is not made by the individual worker.) Also, the reasoning is not developed as fully as it would be in a response at the score level of 6 or 5.
While organization is adequate, the response lacks the organized coherence of ideas that exemplify a 5 essay. Transitions, within and between paragraphs, are not always smooth or logical. The last paragraph could be much more clearly focused, i.e., several sentences repeat the same idea —— that "it is our choice whether or not we use technology" —— and the purpose or meaning of others (e.g., the last) is not immediately clear.
In general, ideas are presented clearly, although awkward phrasing sometimes contributes to vagueness (e.g., "By looking at all the ways technology causes isolation, it is still people who choose to use these convenient methods"). Lack of sentence structure variety seems to inhibit the communication of ideas (e.g., many short sentences are often used where one or two compound ones could make the points more effectively). Overall, this is an adequate response to the topic.
The technological tools we as a society have developed are not in themselves positive or negative, they are just that, tools. The uses, however, are definitely a different story. Computers, I believe at one time, were developed to save us time. Do our work more quickly for us so that we could have more leisure time to spend doing those things we enjoy. We have found now, especially those of us that are parents, that all of the leisure time we have gained is either spent watching our children learn things on the computer or creating our own unique something on the family computer. For one thing, it has become a very fun item, the computers have become more than just work related technological tools. The amount of human interaction is limited, because people in general are spending much of their leisure time doing solo on the computer. In the past, it was common for the new young exectutive to get a membership to the exercise club as a perk, where he could socialize with the upper crust. Now the new young exec. gets a car phone or a portable fax, so that he can work from whereever he is, usually doing that solo trip to somewhere. Given these as examples, I would tend to agree with the statement that lonliness has increased as a direct result.
This response is limited in both its analysis of the issue and its control of language.
The writer clearly expresses the idea that "the technological tools we as a society have developed are not in themselves positive or negative." However, the essay provides only limited support for the position; the two examples are loosely connected and undeveloped.
At times the organization of the essay makes for confusing reading. For example, the relevance of the "young executive" example is not clear because there is no transition from the preceding example of the computer. The conclusion, one sentence long, simply restates the claim made in the topic.
The awkward sentences are evidence of a limited fluency. Greater use of compound sentences could help eliminate structural problems and facilitate the communication of ideas (e.g., sentences 3 and 4 could be combined).
For all of these reasons, the essay received a score of 3.
2、Computers of all shapes and sizes, p.c.'s, laptops, faxes, phones, the list never ends. All considered by our society as great technological advances. Not many would argue that the development of these tools has not advanced our world in some ways. However they certainly seem to be making our world one in which contact with our fellow man is less and less necessary. Though some may be more comfortable not having to engage in direct contact, it is questionable whether this is beneficial to society as a whole. The very least result could in fact be a very lonely world, but it may result in more significant problems.
This response is seriously flawed. The analysis of the issue is extremely limited, and there are serious problems in sentence structure. The writer's position, never clearly stated, seems to be that as a result of technological developments, "contact with our fellow man is less and less necessary." However, the implications of this statement (and others) are never explored or developed. Furthermore, the list of technological advancements does not support or clarify the writer's already tenuously held position. Each new sentence could serve as a springboard to a thoughtful analysis but instead takes the response further from the apparent premise.
While the essay exhibits a lack of sentence variety and contains some grammatical errors, the language is for the most part controlled. This response did not receive a score of 2 because of a language problem, but because reasoning, analysis, and development are extremely thin and insubstantial.
1、 This statement is stating. The more advance in tecnology that society becomes, the more we depend on technology to live our everyday lives. Society as a whole will out do daily tasks and depend more on machines and computers to accomplish those tasks for them. For example; I was told that the younger generations use caclators in classes on a everday level. We counld'nt do that. We had to resolve a problem on our own. Because caculators are being used, math problems are being adjusted around the caculators. If I didnt know how to use a caculator today then I most likely woulnd't know how to attempt to tackle the math of today. Computers of today are another example. Writing a essay took a lot of thought and hard work in past. Today, I can type some words in the computer and that computer will spell, make grammer correction, and dictate a right form to use in my essay. In the past we had to all these things on our own. I'm not putting down modern technology totally. I just want to state that if we take away people's ability to think then we will slowly loose our ability to function with out modern technology.
This response is fundamentally deficient because it does not discuss the issue. Instead, it briefly discusses the drawbacks of specific types of technology (e.g., calculators and computers) in terms of the effect they have on an individual's ability to function without them.
Furthermore, the essay lacks control of the basic elements of academic writing. Awkward and imprecise phrasing often interferes with meaning (e.g., "Society as a whole will out do daily tasks???").