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What technologies can, can’t and could do

What can, can't and could technologies do for us and the planet? Read this article to learn more.

Thank you for taking part in that discussion, we hope it was useful to begin to think about how we are living with technologies and for you to share your perspectives with other learners. In this video, our course contributors share their opinions on technologies.

As our contributors define, it’s difficult at times to pinpoint the myriad ways technologies impact our lives. It’s clear that they have become completely inseparable from society, however, depending on your geographical location, social interests, employment and economic status they can have a multitude of different effects on you, the people around you and your environment.

Technologies have opened up barriers to communication across land, air and sea in ways that were once deemed science fiction and the consequences of this have both positive and negative outcomes. Isolated LGBTQ+ youth are now able to connect to like-minded individuals through social networks, but they are equally more vulnerable to online abuse because of their hyper-visibility (1).

Investment in technologies has brought on many advancements in healthcare, wearable tech allows people suffering from cardiovascular problems to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure (2), but such technologies are only accessible to those with the means to acquire them.

We have developed a culture where technologies such as phones, laptops and televisions, once deemed an investment purchase, are now available through credit systems, upgradable year after year. Being produced in factories using exploitative labour with the old ones being poorly recycled, if it all, leading to building piles of electronic waste (3).

In many cases technologies are the root of their own problems, they give us as much as they take away. They can connect us but they can’t replicate physical contact. They can allow us to understand the effects of climate change but they can’t solve the problem alone, that’s down to us. During this course, however, we want to begin to ask what technologies could do? Could they help us to build toward more sustainable futures for each other and the environment? Could they even heal us?

Discussion Prompt

What are your thoughts on the points raised here? Do you have any thoughts to share about what technologies could do? Perhaps you’ve been involved in some conversations about the potential ways technologies could be used to help the environment? Share your thoughts with other learners below.


  1. Luke Hubbard, 2020. Online hate crime report, Galop.
  2. Global Data Healthcare, 2021. Wearable technology offerings for cardiology expand with RhythMedix’s new RhythmStar cardiac monitor.
  3. DW, 2019. Smart devices score poor marks on recycling.
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Building a Sustainable Future with Technology

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