Technophilia

Introduction

Something as emotive and personal as technophobia is bound to have an opposite; in this case, technophilia. This is a very difficult word to define, not being found in any of the major (online) dictionaries. However, a broader search turned up the word "technophile". According to NetLingo, a technophile is "An ardent supporter of technology" [3]. The few other definitions of a technophile ran along the same lines – just someone who supports and enjoys working with technology. However, just as technophobia has many subtle definitions and sub-headings, so, I believe, does technophilia.

Personal description

Like its opposing counterpart, the word technophilia often has negative connotations. However, I have always thought of it as a neutral word just meaning an interest in science in general and technology in particular. Since my earliest memories, I been fascinated by the world around me. Understanding how it works is my ultimate agenda, science and technology are the tools that are used to do this – if this is technophilia, then so be it.

Overuse of technology

An informal description of a technophile is someone who `overuses' technology, perhaps trying to use it in a situation where a more traditional means of communication might be more appropriate. For example, the PDA is possibly one of the most overused items of technology that I have ever seen. Often, it is little more than an over-specified, battery-hungry address book used where a pocket diary would be a better choice.

Another use of technology which I believe to fit the bill of `overuse' is mobile phones. The mobile phone industry has boomed recently and recent surveys have indicated that over two thirds of adults in the UK own mobiles. This figure is backed up by figures from the IT Education Unit of the University of Glasgow which asks first year students to fill in a questionnaire before starting on one of its courses. Figures from this reveal that about 80% of students at the University of Glasgow own mobile phones.

Although I would not argue that mobile phones are not very useful under certain circumstances, this does not reflect the craze for mobile phones that is currently sweeping the nation's youth. Although I am a firm believer in the use of technology, I believe that it should be used where it is appropriate. It may be appropriate for children to have mobile phones to ease the fears of their parents but these days you can't walk past a group of children these days without seeing them poking away on their mobiles. There are stories of children just metres apart sending each other text messages rather than talking. Is this a sign of the failing social skills of our youth or is it just a craze that will pass in time? I sincerely hope that it is the latter, because (in my opinion) this is not just an overuse of technology, but a misuse of it.

Conclusion

However, I would like to end on a more positive note. I am a firm proponent of technology and its role in society. I believe that we must strike a careful balance between the use of technology and its misuse and overuse. The twentieth century has been one when the rate of technological advance has been faster than ever before and this was something that many people just couldn't cope with. However, as we now enter the twenty-first century, there is a generation for whom technological advancement is natural. Over the coming years and decades, I sincerely hope to see a fall in the level of technophobia and an increased interest in science and technology as the population becomes more and more educated and sophisticated.

back to top Top of page