The Instigator
factandevidence1234
Con (against)
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The Contender
BeckyDawg
Pro (for)
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Is Tech Good or Bad?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2018 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 months ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 443 times Debate No: 112511
Debate Rounds (5)
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factandevidence1234

Con

You learn multiplication, long division, cube roots, ratios, and more in math, right? Grammar, spelling, and reading in language arts too, it seems. But how does that serve a purpose is tech spoils it?
Example number 1: What's the purpose of learning a new technique or strategy if you, or anyone else owns a calculator? In my opinion, calculators stop the human mind from pushing itself to the fullest. What's the point of math class, if in the future you have a calculator do it for you? That's only one example. As it seems to me, every time technology advances, the significance of logic memorized by humans is being lost. Your brain is your control center, and what's a robot without controls? A simple answer to that, a statue.
Example number 2: I am typing my argument. TYPING. The obvious problem here is that writing serves no purpose in this modern day world. We now communicate by texting or email. Now I must provide evidence for both sides so, as it seems, texting is quite significant, for it plays a crucial role as in getting urgent messages through, however, writing is not stopped by a WIFI disconnection or malfunction. It could take months till that message goes through! ( I know this from a personal experience with my impudent phone). Do you have an answer for my questions?
Example number 3: Phones. That single word. It seems every time the latest edition of the phone comes out, we become more blinded by those electrons being thrown into our faces. Another problem is, phones contain UV light, not to mention HEV (high energy visible light). And guess what? UV light is the same light that our ozone layer gets rid of, now why do you think it gets rid of it? UV light is known to result in breast cancer and sometimes when in direct contact, can make you blind. BLIND.
So what's your answer, do you have evidence to support the opposing topic?
BeckyDawg

Pro

I accept this debate and look forward to participating in it. I will address each of your statements. I will try to condense each of your examples, but I don't want to misrepresent your statements. So, please correct me if I misinterpret any of your claims.

Example 1: Calculators discourage learning.
The purpose of calculators is to increase efficiency. As long as I know how a mathematical technique works, there is no need for me to calculate mathematics by hand. For example, consider the field of statistics. The building blocks of statistics are probability and calculus. If I have a normal distribution, I can calculate the probability of some range of X happening by integrating the probability distribution function via calculus. I don't know about you, but I would rather not do that by hand. It would take me considerably longer to do it by hand than making a calculator do it for me in seconds, especially if the numbers aren't clean. While I understand the mechanics of what is going on when doing a hypothesis test, it is not as important as understanding the significance of what I'm doing. In other words, knowing what the hypothesis testing does is more valuable than knowing how to actually integrate the function.

Example 2: Writing is obsolete, due to technology.
Again, technology increases efficiency. Texting or emailing is instantaneous(-ish) sending of a message. It might be anecdotal, but I can type a message much more quickly than actually writing a message out by hand. This is because one press of a button is faster (and easier) than drawing the strokes of a letter. Typing out a message also consumes less resources (i.e. paper, and more importantly, time). Although writing is not stopped by wi-fi (but can be stopped by malfunction of the post-office), the time it actually takes for me to write the letter, mail it in, then have it be delivered and received by the recipient can be just as long (and costlier, depending on how fast I want the person to receive it) than just sending an email. Electronic messaging also allows me to send very short messages at no cost. If I write a letter, I would want to commit more content in the letter to get the most out of it, since it will cost me a stamp and an envelope to send. Also, the efficiency of modern technology makes it so that malfunctions happen rarely, if ever. While your experience with an impudent phone is anecdotal, it could easily be solved by visiting a public place with a better functioning messaging device [computer], which would still take less time than writing a letter anyways.

Example 3: Phones are unhealthy to human physiology.
There does not exist a significant association between cell phone usage and brain tumors. [1]
Radiofrequency radiation from cell phones is not powerful enough to cause cancer. There is actually some negative correlation between cell phone use and certain brain tumors. [2]
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), US Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have found that there does not exist enough evidence to suggest that cell phones cause health problems. [3] [4] [5]
There was no rise in brain cancer, despite increased usage in cell phones over the past decade. [6] [7]

While I agree that prolonged exposure to a phone could damage one's eyes, that can easily be fixed by the individual and responsible usage.

Sources:
1. Patrizia Frei, Aslak H. Poulsen, Christoffer Johansen, Jørgen H. Olsen, Marianne Steding-Jessen, and Joachim Schüz, "Use of Mobile Phones and Risk of Brain Tumors: Update of a Danish Cohort Study" British Medical Journal, Oct. 20, 2011
2. Stefan Lönn, et al., "Long-Term Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumor Risk," American Journal of Epidemiology," 2005
3. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), "Radio Frequency Safety," www.fcc.gov
4. Government Accountability Office (GAO), "Research and Regulatory Efforts on Mobile Phone Health Issues", www.gao.gov, May 2001
5. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "No Evidence Linking Cell Phone Use to Risk of Brain Tumors," fda.gov, May 17, 2010
6. National Cancer Institute, "Cellular Telephone Use and Cancer Risk," www.cancer.gov
7. National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS), "NBTS Funds Groundbreaking Study on Prevalence of Brain Tumors," braintumor.org
Debate Round No. 1
factandevidence1234

Con

So I see that calculators improve efficiency, but as well as they do, math isn't something that you learn and it's just stuck in there, the same cause for reading. When eventually you use a calculator too much and forget a few things, it can create a huge problem. As for people who can't afford technology anymore, how would you know what the cost of your food is? Is it even the right cost, or was there a mistake? Writing can be crucial to society as well, living in an area like the country, internet connection could be weak, so how to send an urgent message? As for UV light and HEV rays, UV light can cause breast cancer and possibly brain cancer. When a person increases the brightness on their phone, they're eyes must adjust to an abnormal amount of brightness, and can create a problem with resizing it back to normal. This is why your head hurts after using a phone too much. It turns on the addiction part of your brain, causing you to just want to stare at that phone. And for UV lights creating breast cancer, I was referring to when women put their phones into their bras, and the UV rays seep into the body.
BeckyDawg

Pro

math isn't something that you learn and it's just stuck in there
I think when it comes down to the four basic operations, at the very least, it does. I can understand that if someone hasn't been in a trigonometry class for a few years, they won't remember what certain laws of triangles are (not that a calculator would help them anyhow). But if one didn't understand what subtraction was, then technology wouldn't be relevant anyways since the person wouldn't know what to enter into the calculator, let alone on paper. The existence of a calculator doesn't teach you these skills. I was implicitly making the argument in the first round, but I'll be more explicit. Calculators supplement the knowledge behind the calculations. If I exclusively use a calculator, I won't "forget a few things" because I still have to know what exactly I want the calculator to do in order to input the commands. Calculators are also less likely to make an error than me if there is a lot of calculations to do, or if the calculations are hard.

as for people who can't afford technology anymore, how would you know what the cost of your food is?
I'm not sure anyone could know what the exact market price of any product is without the use of technology. But at the same time, if a person purchases something that wasn't sold at market price, that's the fault of the consumer. If I see a cabbage head that costs $50, I don't have to buy it, because I as a consumer 1) know that the price is bogus because of past experiences of purchasing cabbage, 2) know that there is a competitive market for cabbage so I can definitely find a cheaper head of cabbage, or 3) if the cost is too much for me (even if it was $1), then my marginal demand isn't great enough to buy it. In any case, my choice to purchase the cabbage isn't dependent on technology, it's dependent on my compitence as a consumer. That's the beauty of a free market.

Writing can be crucial to society as well, living in an area like the country...
I would like to note that I'm not disagreeing with the notion that writing is valuable. I take issue with what you're saying about the means of writing. There are two problems with the claim.
1) This argument doesn't say anything about the inferiority of technology. These people don't effectively have access to technology, so they have to write letters, not by choice. That isn't to say that given these people had the choice, technology wouldn't be superior, preferences aside.
2) It seems like you're making the claim that since there exists people who don't use technology (again, not necessarily by choice), everyone should be subject to that standard of living. Simply because not everyone has access to technology does not make it inferior.

UV light
I noticed that I didn't actually address this in the first round, I apologize. So I'll address it here:
Cell phones do not emit UV light, discrediting any claims you make about the harms of UV light from phones. [1] [2]
Also, modern cell-phones come with a blue light [aka HEV] filter. [3] [4]
If the user elects not to use it, then that's not the fault of technology.

Sources:
1. https://plumgoodness.com...
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
3. https://support.apple.com...
4. https://www.androidpit.com...
Debate Round No. 2
factandevidence1234

Con

Let me address the situation with UV light first. I realize that I referred to phones directly, but I actually meant tech in general. In the California Proposition 65, it states some of the chemicals in tech can cause brain cancer, and birth defects. Here is the list of chemicals below:
A-alpha-C
Abiraterone acetate
Acetaldehyde Cancer
Acetamide cancer
Acetazolamide
Acetochlor Cancer
Acetohydroxamic acid
2-Acetylaminofluorene Cancer
Acifluorfen sodium
Acrylamide Cancer
Acrylamide
Acrylonitrile Cancer
Actinomycin D Cancer
AF-2
acrylamide
Aflatoxins Cancer
Alachlor Cancer
Acoholic beverages, when Cancer was
associated with alcohol abuse
Aldrin cancer
All-trans retinoic
As you can see this is quite a lot, and most of them cause cancer. (And as you might not believe, there was six more pages of chemicals to go, but I didn't want to make the report too long.)
Secondly, I will address your misunderstanding with me and my grudge against calculators. Calculators, for one do not improve efficiency, as they directly give you the answers, which does not improve math whatsoever, (In my opinion it actually makes your skills worse.)
Lastly, the things that you did not refer to, my statement about how phones turn on the addiction part of your brain, and the adjustment of your eyes to a phone. As I've forgotten to mention, cars are tech. Fossil fuels are destroying our ozone layer, which does let actual UV rays through.
BeckyDawg

Pro

I realize that I referred to phones directly, but I actually meant tech in general
Clearly, there exist chemicals in technology that can be harmful - I'm not denying that. However, these chemicals are not exclusive in technology. Some of those chemicals are actually found and produced by nature. As a counter example, consider apples. It turns out that when you chew apple seeds, the chemicals inside the seeds turn into cyanide, a poisonous chemical [1]. By your line of logic, apples are also bad since they contain a chemical that can cause a fate even worse than cancer, death. However, the effects of ingesting the seeds are so minimal that it amounts to virtually nothing unless you eat a lot of them. Note that the apple is just one example out of many other examples, such as apricots [2]. The analogy I am trying to make here with technology is the same. Eating an abundance of apple seeds [prolonged exposure to technology] is irresponsible action on the user, not the apple [technology]. If the user elects not to take the preventative measure of responsible use, there is no one else to blame. I also realize that we are debating about whether technology, specifically, is bad and not apples. But, as I stated before, the argument becomes trivial since by the reasoning that if something contains harmful substances, then it is bad, virtually makes everything bad.

Calculators, for one do not improve efficiency...
They do...

...,as they directly give you the answers
...for this reason.

which does not improve math whatsoever
As I claimed before, calculators are not meant to improve mathematical ability - they supplement it. Again, I would not want to evaluate the cumulative distribution function for the t-probability distribution function, or solve partial differential equations by hand and I would pray for anyone that would want to. As an exercise, try computing cotan(3pi/11) without a calculator. Then, time yourself against a calculator. I don't know about you, but I know who I would bet on.

In my opinion it actually makes your skills worse
It does not - see my previous post. Mathematics is about reasoning, not calculations. Calculations are just a byproduct of the reasoning. I cannot effectively use a calculator unless I know exactly what output I'm looking for. At that point, I must know what my inputs are. If I don't know any of these pieces of information, that's a fault of my own lack of knowledge of the mathematical concept, not the usage of the calculator. Doing work on a calculator actually decreases the chance of making errors, since the computer won't make arithmetic errors like a person would. Consider 100x100 system of (non)linear-equations represented by a matrix. Solving that requires simple algebra, but the chances of making a mistake in the solution would be higher than just making a computer solve it for me. There are actually some mathematical problems (PDEs, I'm looking at you) that cannot be solved by hand and require scientific computing methods, like the Newton-Rhapson method and Finite Element method.

phones turn on the addiction part of your brain
I agree that phones can be addicting. But really, anything can be an addiction so I extend my argument about triviality here. Again, the issue can be solved by responsible usage.

the adjustment of your eyes to a phone
See my sources on HEV in my Round 2 post.

...cars are tech.
The chair, table, pulley, gondola, and trebuchet are also technology, according to Merriam-Webster's definition [3]. The reason I bring this up is because I think we need to backtrack a bit here - are you arguing that all of technology is bad? Or just a particular subset?

Fossil fuels...
Farts destroy ozone as well [4][5][6]. So, by the line of logic, anything that farts is also bad, thus coming back to my argument of triviality. This source [7] seems to imply that cows are pretty competitive, if not more, than cars are at destroying the ozone.

Sources:
1. https://articles.mercola.com...
2. https://www.theverge.com...
3. https://www.merriam-webster.com...
4. http://www.planetpatrol.info...
5. https://www.forbes.com...
6. https://cbmjournal.springeropen.com...
7. https://www.globalcitizen.org...
Debate Round No. 3
factandevidence1234

Con

I see you point with the apples, however, the California Proposition 65 was based off chemicals that are released by technology. As I forgot to mention, addiction to tech can lead to:
Isolation. ...
Lack of Social Skills. ...
Obesity. ...
Depression. ...
Poor Sleep Habits. ...
Pollution. ...
Increased Bullying. ...
Lack of Privacy.
Example 1, Isolation: Children usually feel the need to trap themselves in their room, closed from the outside world. This proves part 2, lack of social skills, and part 1, Isolation. Although I understand that these issues can be controlled, who's there to help them control it? Keeping a child away from his/her addictions can lead to greater restraint and irresponsibility. Yet another con of tech.
So, just to clarify, there is a difference between "help" and "Give answers". As I see you have misunderstood, a calculator gives you answers. There is no timer to increase speed, and nobody would ever take the time to memorize the facts knowing that they can simply come back to the calculator and ask it again. That is far from what I call "Improvement".

(Please correct me if I have mistakes. This is my first debate).
BeckyDawg

Pro

I see you point with the apples, however, the California Proposition 65 was based off chemicals that are released by technology.
Right, and I used the apples analogy to explain why the argument was trivial. We would have to consider mostly everything to be bad, eliminating a significant discrepancy between "good" and "bad", within the context.


...addiction to tech...
At that point, it's not the fault of technology. Again, we must speak to the triviality of the argument, since we would have to classify anything that is addicting or accommodates addiction to be bad.

...these issues can be controlled, who's there to help them control it...
Ultimately, it's up to the individual. It's not my responsibility or my obligation to help anyone control their addiction, unless it's my own. While I may want to help that person overcome their addiction, I cannot help them unless they want to help themselves. The phone isn't coercing the individual to continually use it in an addictive manner. It comes down to the good or bad choices that are made by the individual.


...there is a difference between "help" and "Give answers"
As I said before, it supplements mathematical knowledge. There's no incentive for me to memorize the (uncountable infinite) variations of the trigonometric functions for every conceivable angle/radian because it's not worth my time. And even if I did memorize all of it (which would be impossible, because there are uncountable infinite angles between 0 and 2 pi), it speaks nothing of my mathematical ability. All it says is that I'm really good at memorizing. Whether I know how to apply the knowledge is remained to be seen.

...There is no timer to increase speed
I'll have to break my argument into two cases here because I'm unsure if you're referring to mathematics as a whole or just computational mathematics.
1) The ability to compute mathematics quickly doesn't speak to one's mathematical ability. Higher division mathematics (i.e. Algebra, Analysis, and Geometry) require fine-tuned proofs. Whether I prove something faster than someone else is unrecognized because mathematicians only care if I prove something correctly. Granted, a calculator is seldom used at higher levels, so I included this case of higher level mathematics to demonstrate that good mathematics is based off of quality of logic, and not speed.

2) In lower division mathematics, the calculator is used quite a bit, and for good reason. Consider the scientific computing problem I posed in my previous post [Round 3], the one that involved the system of equations. Consider a system of non-linear equations that you want to solve using the Newton-Rhapson method. For the sake of the argument, suppose that there are equations that involve transcendental numbers. Solving this system by hand accurately is impossible because you'd have to solve equations accurate to how ever many decimal places to your desire. Luckily, software such as Matlab or R hold around 16-20 decimal places for you, which is accurate enough for most mathematicians. So, in your own words, calculators help you by providing you with a solution quickly and accurately. Again, I would like to emphasize that solving the system by hand speaks nothing to one's mathematical ability, so long that they know what they are doing. If the person does not know what they are doing (or in other words, lacks mathematical knowledge), the calculator would be unable to assist them anyways.

nobody would ever take the time to memorize the facts knowing that they can simply come back to the calculator and ask it again...
It is not in my best interest to memorize all the facts. If it was, then my undergraduate mathematics degree would have taken me far longer than four years to complete. If you gave me a test that required me to cough up every theorem I have ever read, I would definitely fail. But again, mathematics is not about memorizing.
And as I have emphasized each post thus far, calculators supplement knowledge. The calculator is no benefit to me unless I know what I want out of the calculator.
Debate Round No. 4
factandevidence1234

Con

Just to clarify, you did not oppose any of the following topics:
1. During social gatherings, everyone resorts to staring at their phone. Social engagement and talking to one another is minimal compared to how often people check Instagram and Snapchat on their phones.
2. People are glued to their phones and can"t leave the house without it. Leaving their phone at home even causes anxiety for some.
3. Texting while driving" enough said.
4. Sleep patterns are disrupted by constant exposure to the bright screens on IPhones, laptops, TVs, and tablets.
Obesity
Isolation
Addiction and it's effects on the brain.
As I have said before, calculators were made to calculate, ( aka. give answers). Writing out the equation is not a mathematical skill, and therefore can be applied easily, so, calculators cannot really help you learn, but what they do accomplish, is give answers.
Secondly, it is tech's fault causing addiction on the brain. Tech turns on the addiction part, which is why people make the choice to not help themselves.

(Please correct me if I have mistakes. This is my first debate).
BeckyDawg

Pro

During social gatherings, everyone resorts to staring at their phone
Honestly, if the social gathering is not interesting enough to maintain my attention, then it is not in my best interest to attend to it. And I do not have any obligation to do so. While it may be considered rude to constantly be on my phone, rudeness is not what we are debating here. In fact, you strengthen my point because I would be quite bored at the social event without my phone. Thus, my phone is beneficial to me, in that instance.

People are glued to their phones and can"t leave the house without it. Leaving their phone at home even causes anxiety for some.
If I left my home without my tool that has all my events, plans, and communication device, then I would be anxious, too. You might counter by saying that I should just write everything in a planner, but the same issue arises. Then, I can't leave home without my planner, lest I embrace anxiety. The only difference is that my phone is more efficient than my planner by size and functionality.

Texting while driving
Irresponsible people drive irresponsibly. The sword is not evil, the swordsman is.

Sleep patterns
There also exists technology that assists sleep patterns [1]. It is up to the good choice of the user to not use irresponsibly.

Isolation
As it turns out, technology seems to increases social networking [2].

calculators cannot really help you learn, but what they do accomplish, is give answers.
Precisely, that's what I have been saying this whole time. Calculators do not have the purpose of teaching you material. They help you by giving you answers. Getting the correct solution at the end of the problem, whether with the use or without the use of a calculator, is the same. The only difference is that one method took more time than the other. You continue to argue that giving a solution is unhelpful. Suppose I want to compute f(x)=e^x at x=1000. I could do it by hand or by entering it in my calculator. Doing it by hand is inefficient and inaccurate. Doing it by calculator certainly does not imply I do not know how to multiply e repeatedly 1000 times. I do it by calculator because it is really not worth my time doing it by hand (key word: supplementary).
To this, you might argue that the calculator should be like a tutor, making sure I know how to multiply e several hundred times. Absolutely not. That's what a tutor is for.

tech's fault causing addiction on the brain
Breaking addictions are difficult, but ultimately comes down to the individual. I don't want to use the phrase "pull themselves up by the bootstrap", but it feels the most applicable here.

Tech turns on the addiction part, which is why people make the choice to not help themselves.
If people make the choice to not get help...I'll stop you there because you said the key word. Choice. That's right, people do, indeed, make the choice. I would like to restate that there is no coercion involved in the relationship between the person and the device.

Conclusion
My opponent asserts that a device that accurately and speedily provides answers to trivial, yet lengthy calculations, is bad, suggesting that there is confusion about the concept of "efficiency". While I did not say it during the debate because we were directly addressing calculators, there are many online resources to learn mathematics from (including every other subject that exists) provided by, you guessed it, technology. This was the only consistent argument through all rounds, whereas new arguments were forced to arise in each subsequent round when I refuted each of his arguments.
I thank my opponent for this great debate.

Sources:
1. https://sleepjunkies.com...
2. http://www.pewinternet.org...
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Nd2400 3 months ago
Nd2400
Actually i think pro doing a good job proving why tech is good. Like his reasons on the calculations. If he continued todo good. I see no point on having a debate with you.
Posted by factandevidence1234 3 months ago
factandevidence1234
Clearly you didn't see that i provided evidence for both sides and am not against tech altogether, what do you think I'm typing on, Paper? What do you think I do when we have no pencils whatsoever? Write a letter? If I were completely against tech, then I would be living like a pioneer. And credit cards aren't actually tech, you have to code them to make them work. Not to be disrespectful, but you might want to provide stronger and more evidence. Should I start a new debate with you?
Posted by factandevidence1234 3 months ago
factandevidence1234
Clearly you didn't see that i provided evidence for both sides and am not against tech altogether, what do you think I'm typing on, Paper? What do you think I do when we have no pencils whatsoever? Write a letter? If I were completely against tech, then I would be living like a pioneer. And credit cards aren't actually tech, you have to code them to make them work. Not to be disrespectful, but you might want to provide stronger and more evidence. Should I start a new debate with you?
Posted by Nd2400 3 months ago
Nd2400
If you against tech. Then you not in favor of the internet, computers, iphones, google galaxys phones, smart cars, or any thing new on a new car. You also would be against wifi, anything new in modern medicine, and anything new to help a patient. Like X-rays, any other modern technology we used in the medical field. You would against debt cards, credit cards and anything from the banking system. Sound like you want to live in the forrest in the Amazon. Or live in the 1600. Or be like cavemen.... Calculations are use to go further in physics, sciences, math, engineers, and yes even in medications.
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