Necessity is an odd concept to ponder, because one has to separate those things that are truly crucial to survival and those items that have become so ingrained into societal routine that they take the form of necessity. Computers have certainly changed the way that people do business and live their lives, but critics will always point to yesteryear and remind technological addicts that somehow people survived without them for quite a long time. Granted, that doesn’t mean that people should stick with inferior technology just because it has worked in the past. However, it is worth pondering in terms of how addicted society has become to today’s computers and other technology.
When evaluating the necessity of computers, one has to look at the flow and function of many businesses and organizations. Society has reached a point where computers run many phases or institutional logistics, and organizations are allocating more to circuit boards than they are to people. Therefore, in order to do business in certain fields, one needs to use the computer, whether they like it or not. If the only interface with a company is through a website or email, then the individual has to choose between using technology and doing business with someone else. Given the expansion of computers, those businesses that function without technology are continuing to shrink.
Despite the widespread use of computers, people and organizations still have to evaluate, with some objectivity, the efficiency that they actually create. Sometimes, it is actually more complicated to make use of a computer due to hardware, software, training, and translation issues. There are times that paper and pencils, notepads, and basic face-to-face dialogue are actually better uses of people’s time and resources. Therefore, people have to keep in mind that forcing technology into a given situation may signal more of an addiction to computers than a sense of their best use.
Finally, the issue of computers comes down to lifestyle choices that people make every day. Business can be conducted without computers, and there are times when people need to step away from the computer or cell phone and just breath. Prior phases of history forecasted the future to be a time of relative leisure with the advancement of technology. The reality is that people have decided to stay tethered to their computers by taking them wherever they go. Therefore, the question is not always about the need for computers. The question becomes, can society ever let them go, even if they are not being functional at the moment?