You are here
Appily ever after
But does all this mean we’re happier than ever before?
Some wish for a return to the “good old days” when communication wasn’t instant, no one could hide behind an online avatar and letter writing was an art. These critics bemoan the loss of community in society, the need to be constantly contactable and they see the younger generation as technology addicts. But although there are certainly downsides to some technologies, this critique misses the overpoweringly positive impact mobile technology and social media has had on our overall happiness and wellbeing.
69% percent of internet users say that email, texting and social networking has strengthened their relationships with family and friends. It has helped to enable a more globalised society, and broken down societal barriers. Social media has aided social activism, with countless examples of people rallying together online behind a cause. Social media is even helping to fight crime. Hitachi’s predictive crime software, for example, uses artificial intelligence to quickly sift through huge amounts of data, including social media feeds, to predict where a crime is likely to occur next.
Even the most mundane of tasks, such as shopping for groceries, have been improved with technology. Retail companies are using data to improve the customer experience, aiming to create happier customers by reducing hassle. And if you really don’t like shopping, it can be done from the comfort of your sofa and delivered to the door.
When applied to healthcare, technology has had a dramatic impact on life expectancy. In 2011, life expectancy at birth is almost double what it was in 1841. Today, we don’t even have to rely on our doctors; our mobile phones contain a range of apps empowering people to take more control over their own healthcare, from monitoring their physical health to a plethora of mental health apps that help reduce stress, tackle anxieties and build resilience.
Technology has the potential to greatly improve our lives. It connects, entertains and heals – why not embrace it?