Modern technology pushes, pulls us

During these last few years, when we’ve been forced to isolate, technology helped pull us back together


Christopher Spencer '23

In August 2020, Zooming from home, Bella Spencer ’25 browses the Hub to find material for her next lesson.

In the 1970s, cell phones, iPads, hypersonic missiles, laser technology, and genetic editing were considered the distant future. Sci-fi authors and inventive scientists theorized that such technology could be achieved in a few centuries. But it only took fifty years.

At Harvard-Westlake (HW), it’s evident that the rapidly evolving pace of technology has been felt. On a surface level, it may seem as though technology has pushed us further and further apart. But during these last few years, when we’ve been forced to isolate, technology also helped pull us back together.

“Life has become easier in so many ways, you know, at the tip of your fingers you can find anything you want,” science teacher Elliot Parivar said.

 Life certainly has become easier. In the past 40 years, the internet has replaced many older and more tedious ways of searching for knowledge, such as sifting through the library. Entertainment can be accessed from a couch at home, instead of a long drive to a movie theater.

One example of our rapid pace of development is seen in the school’s printers. Dot matrix printers were printers that burned small dots into the page to form letters. These early electronic printers were slow and contained low resolution. Compared to a modern printer, which can dish out a page with HD resolution under two seconds, these dot matrix printers seem woefully primitive. Yet these printers were present on campus as recently as the 1990s.

Another rapid development was the ubiquity of phones on campus.

However, there are some disadvantages that come with such a rapid pace of development. 

“[Life] has become less personalized in so many ways,” Parivar said. “The personal connection has disappeared so much.” 

However, students seem to differ. 

“I think it’s improved my relationship with friends because I can text and chat with them whenever,” Nathan Wang ’25 said. 

Other responses seem to agree. 

“Modern technology has changed my life by letting me socialize even when I’m away from people,” Waller Morton ’27 said. 

In a world where modernization is leading us rapidly into the future, we must embrace this change or risk falling behind. However, it’s up to us to choose how we accept it, and whether we can use new technology to improve or worsen our lives.