Consider your relationship with a common piece of technology such as an Apple iPad Air 2. Write an essay explaining some positive claims and some normative claims that could be made about how...

Consider your relationship with a common piece of technology such as an Apple iPad Air 2. Write an essay explaining some positive claims and some normative claims that could be made about how people use this technology.

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This assignment appears to involve the drafting of an argumentative essay that includes two different types of claims, positive and normative. The topic of the essay should be the role of technology in people's lives, with the student expected to select one particular example of modern technology, such as the Apple iPad Air 2. The iPad, of any generation or model, would be fine, but a better example given its absolute ubiquity is the cell phone. Cell phones have revolutionized the day-to-day lives of the hundreds of millions of people who own them, for both better and worse.

An argumentative essay involving cell phones, such as the Apple iPhone series, could easily include both the positive and negative aspects of the proliferation of this category of technology, and both certainly exist. Normative claims, those that assert that something ought to occur or exist in a certain defined state, can incorporate the negative aspects of the introduction into our daily lives of cell phones. 

Research into the role and ramifications of cell phone proliferation is relatively simple. There are innumerable essays and articles available online that directly address this topic, and, when discussing the negative aspects of cell phones, credible statistics are similarly available, such as at one of the websites linked below. 

Today's college and high school students can probably not imagine life without today's information technologies. The introduction of personal desktop computers during the early 1980s and their evolution into today's laptops, notebooks, and tablets have revolutionized the way we live. The thought of walking around with not just a telephone in your pocket but a mini computer that accesses the Internet and on which one can stream videos was unheard of a mere thirty years ago. The advent of cell phones could not have not changed the way people live. Unlike in the previous century, it is now virtually impossible to be physically separated from electronic communications and monitoring. Not only cell phones but satellite phones have made such instantaneous communications commonplace.

In preparing, then, positive claims related to people's relationship to cell phones, one would logically emphasize the way in which this particular technology has changed lives for the better. A statement such as "cell phones have improved lives" can be quantified by listing the ways they have in fact improved our day-to-day existence, for example, by noting that access to emergency services like police, ambulance, and fire has never been easier, or by noting the ease with which we can remain in instantaneous contact with friends and family by phone, text, or email. Documents an be scanned and transmitted in matters of seconds, when, for centuries, they had to be carried by foot, horseback, car, plane, or fax. All of this has represented a vast improvement in our lives.

A normative claim, as suggested, could emphasize the negative aspects of cell phones. A statement like "cell phones ought to be banned or their use restricted because of the health risks they pose" can similarly be quantified through research. Two of the links below deal with connection between cell phone usage, including texting, while operating a motor vehicle. Government and insurance industry statistics indicate that using a cell phone, including for talking and texting, while driving results in over a million accidents a year, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and thousands of deaths. Americans had a hard enough time driving safely before the advent of cell phones; the situation now is indisputably worse.

Another element of the normative claim involves the risk of overexposure to radiation associated with cell phones. As everyone knows, absent wiring or cables connecting one source to another, the signal must travel through the air. Cell phones are classic examples of this. Concerns about exposure to radio frequency radiation and links to cancer have been around since the introduction of cell phones, although the debate regarding the seriousness of the risk continues and is, today, a little inconclusive. Nevertheless, a normative claim involving cell phones could, and should, include mention of this issue. 

An essay explaining positive and normative claims regarding cell phones, or tablets, should list and explain both the good and the bad that accompanied the introduction of these technologies into our lives. The above should provide some guidance, and the links listed below should help buttress arguments.