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I am not a patient person. As I was waiting for the elevator the other day, I must have looked at my watch 25 times in one minute. Living a world of fast-moving technology, I am used to instant reactions. I push a button, the elevator should open, right? Ah, this is what technology has done to me.

So, why do we use technological devices so much? It saves time and is convenient. Think about it for a moment. With the Internet, I can receive and send information, communicate with friends and buy miscellaneous items all instantly by the click of a mouse. In fact, I have become so impatient that with my fast Ethernet, I will no longer download anything that takes more than three minutes. With my dial-up connection last year, I waited up to an hour. My patience level has changed drastically all because of faster connections.

While this technology does make it more convenient to receive information, sometimes I wonder if all this is too convenient. We take advantage of the speed so much that if the Internet is not working or the fax machine is not sending properly, our world seems to shut down temporarily. We simply find it difficult to function without access to our e-mail or updated news. In fact, technology can often make us lazy. I cannot possibly spend the time to mail a letter in the acclaimed snail mail. "Fax it. E-mail it," the world cries. For example, most jobs and universities now have online applications that make the process faster. Society seems to revolve around time as it never did before.

The popularization of cellular phones increases our impatience. If you need to talk to someone, just call his or her cellular phone. You can reach the person when it is convenient for you, get your information across efficiently and you do not need to worry about the hassle of leaving messages. Also, these devices have new features, such as voice activated calling and even Internet access. This opportunity to receive such immediate information has caused us to be more impatient; we cannot even wait to check our e-mail or sports scores in front of a computer anymore. What if you are like me and have not purchased this technological communication device? Somehow those answering machine messages seem a little irritated that I am not immediately available.

This speed of communication has caused us be so impatient that we have grown apart from each other. Our society can practically thrive without physical contact. Businesses take advantage of these networks, such as in video conferences; why not the rest of us? Many people have all the required devices already in their homes: a computer, Internet access, a phone and a fax machine. Does anyone else think it is scary that a person does not need to even leave his or her bedroom to have full contact with anyone in the world? In that way, I guess technology benefits those who cannot leave their household for one reason or another. However, I think that it decreases our value of face-to-face human contact as a whole Why visit someone who lives 40 minutes away when you can e-mail them or chat online? It saves time and is relatively reliable, yet nothing can replace having face-to-face conversation with someone.

What about those who have limited access to the Internet or other technology? They seem to get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes, when I am too busy to check my e-mail or have no access, I miss out on important information and events that have already taken place without my knowledge. The common thought seems to be that if you have an e-mail address, you must check it every hour, right? Sadly, this idea is becoming truth. The world has become even more impatient than I have.

While technology is an essential part of our thriving society, it should be less emphasized as the only way in which to communicate efficiently. Instead, accuracy should be the priority. While the Internet and fax machines are faster, efficiency can have its drawbacks. They do not always promise accurate information in sending. For example, these devices might not be the best way to submit important documents, such as college applications. Also, with the Internet, valuable information, such as credit card information, can fall into the wrong hands without being detected.

While completely abandoning these communication devices is not feasible, society needs to be more patient with the inefficiencies of human-made inventions and of course with human connections.

There is actually a book out by Edward Tenner called Why Things Bite Back, which identifies the situation described above as revenge effects. These effects are those that occur even when technology is used to better the world. In essence, this theory states that every technological advance fosters paradoxical, often unpleasant consequences. As we complicate the systems which govern our lives, revenge effects multiply.

For example, air-conditioned subways raise platform temperatures by as much as 10 degrees F; some computer users get painful, wrist-numbing carpal tunnel syndrome; flood control systems encourage settlement of flood-prone areas, inviting disaster; 6% of all hospital patients become infected with microbes they encounter during their stay.

Tenner's argument maintains that, with society's growing dependence on the advances we make, people lose the ability to perform tasks which they might once have been able to perform without technology. In order to counteract these revenge effects, it is our responsibility to promote more, not less, human work and vigilance in the face of advancement so that survival remains possible if we were to lose the advantages we have today.

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