[Campus commentary]Efficiency’s hidden cost

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[Campus commentary]Efficiency’s hidden cost

By now, just about everyone on the Korean Peninsula has heard about mad cow disease. But many people do not realize that we are paying the price for our past selfish actions. We have focused solely on improving efficiency rather than thinking of alternatives that would be less harmful to the environment. It is time for us to think and act to prevent further disasters and mend today’s problems.

I cannot deny that modern advances have improved efficiency in our lives. However, focusing only on productivity has brought about devastating results.

Cows, for instance, are supposed to graze in a meadow. However, in order for them to grow faster and provide more milk, we have confined them to barns, barely giving them space to move around. On top of that, we’ve been giving them food other than their natural diet ? fresh green grass. Consequently, the cows have become ill. A nearsighted decision has caused suffering.

Cars have also brought new diseases to this world. Cars are marvelous inventions, but they have so many bad side effects, air pollution and acid rain being the most representative examples. Cars produce so much pollution that many children suffer from asthma.

Also, volatile organic compounds from cars not only cause acid rain, but also harm buildings and cause plants to deteriorate. All of these result from the increasing use of cars.

Emerging new diseases aren’t the only problem. As a side-effect of modern advances, our quality of life is being threatened. We live in a century where high-speed Internet is everything. We do so much online. We listen to lectures, submit papers and chat with friends. People from the past may envy our high-technology lifestyles, but it isn’t all good.

There was a tragic incident that alerted everyone to the dark side of modern technology. A man died while playing Internet games. He didn’t eat or sleep at all for three whole days. He just sat in front of the computer doing nothing but playing games.

As the incident shows, the Internet lures us online rather than actually meeting friends and enjoying life outside of our tiny room. It is a new type of addiction: “cyberholism.”

Another example is Black Berries. Working with them may seem convenient because they allow us to multi-task whenever and wherever we want. However, because of Black Berries, many people are spending less quality time with their families.

I came across a documentary program that featured two people who had Black Berries. The devices made it possible for them to take care of business anywhere they liked, even at home.

Gradually, they developed “ringxiety,” and spent more time taking care of business rather than spending time with their spouses or children. Black Berries definitely improved the efficiency of work, but in return, quality time with families decreased.

In conclusion, advances in technology have brought about as much bad as good. It is time for us to rethink where we want the path of science to take us.

*The writer is a senior at the School of Law at Yonsei University.

by Cho Min-kyong

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