Technology and Happiness Essay

1134 Words Sep 19th, 2011 5 Pages
Technology and Happiness
James Surowiecki
In the 20th century, Americans, Europeans, and East Asians enjoyed material and technological advances that were unimaginable in previous eras. In the United States, for example, gross domestic product per capita tripled from 1950 to 2000. Life expectancy soared. The boom in productivity after World War II made goods better and cheaper at the same time. Things that were once luxuries, such as jet travel and long-distance phone calls, became necessities. And even though Americans seemed to work extraordinarily hard, their pursuit of entertainment turned media and leisure into multibillion-dollar industries.
By most standards, then, you would have to say that Americans are better off now than they
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In fact, one of happiness scholars’ most important insights is that people adapt very quickly to good news. Take lottery winners for example. One famous study showed that although winners were very, very happy when they won, their extreme excitement quickly evaporated, and after a while their moods and sense of well-being were indistinguishable from what they had been before the victory.
So, too, with technology: no matter how dramatic a new innovation is, no matter how much easier it makes our lives, it is very easy to take it for granted. You can see this principle at work in the world of technology every day, as things that once seemed so miraculous soon became common and, worse, frustrating when they don’t work perfectly. It’s hard, it turns our, to keep in mind what things were like before the new technology came long.
Does our fast assimilation of technological progress mean, then, that technology makes no difference? No. It just makes the question of technology’s impact, for good or ill, more complicated. Let’s start with the downside. There are certain ways in which technology makes life obviously worse. Telemarketing, traffic jams, and identify theft all come to mind. These are all phenomena that make people consciously unhappy.
Does our fast assimilation(消化)of technological progress mean, then, that technology makes no difference? No. It just makes the question of technology’s impact, for good or ill, more complicated. Let’s start with the downside.

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