Technology is supposed to solve problems, but its definition needs to be instigator of problems. The self-checkout line in the grocery store saves time, but not when the barcode fails to scan. Computers can write papers and send emails, but only before a virus attacks. Cell phones are the standard form of telephone communication, but do they need to be more indispensable?

Technology -- the gadgets and gizmos that turn both Molly and Matt into babbling babies reaching for sparkly toys -- is but the newest form of addiction. Technology has morphed from a powerful word uttered in hushed tones regarded as the tool to save the future into little more than a visual status symbol. Feeling high on power and confident with good looks, we can't stop blowing money on the "latest thing." Yes, people have used technology to do everything from sending Lance to the moon to saving cute little preemies and wiping out thousands to destroying the planet.

But what does technology mean to your typical Penn student? It means a cell phone, computer, television with OnDemand, digital camera and iPod at the very least. It means too many numbers, usernames and passwords to ever remember and the inevitable loss or destruction of valuable property. And what does your average Penn student need? (No, not need as in I need that latest outfit/boy/drink; need as in I will choose between a bottle of narcotics or a hairdryer in the tub if I don't have it.) Considering cell phones are used to call people who they would see if they wanted and could avoid if they didn't; computers do little more than check email, write papers and devour hours of time spent perusing facebook; digital cameras indelibly preserve drunk moments best left forgotten; little technology of the past decade is much more than consumer fluff.


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