I read the essay “Disruptive Technology: A Blessing and a Curse”, by David Sweanor. This essay is about three pieces of disruptive technologies that changed the world to be as we know it today. Those three technologies are the automatic cigarette rolling machine and the refrigerator, and following in the same vein as the former, e-cigarettes. The essay highlights that the rise of the automatic cigarette rolling machine killed many people via the rise of lung cancer while the refrigerator saved many people via the significant drop in stomach cancer, and that the author thinks that the e-cigarette might save people much in the same way refrigeration and the automatic cigarette rolling machine did, by disrupting the face of technology as we know it.
This essay successfully uses ethos, an appeal to credibility, by using a lot of facts and numbers and statistics, such as in this sentence: “Combusting (i.e. burning) of tobacco is the culprit in the vast majority of tobacco deaths, with inhaled toxic smoke and carbon monoxide projected to kill 5.8 million US children alive today and 480,000 adults annually.”. This essay successfully uses pathos, an appeal to emotions, with this: “While it might be hard to envision a nicotine market that is not dominated by cigarettes, it is really no different than, pre-Bonsack, envisioning a market that is. Or, indeed, a world where phones are not attached to wires, books don’t necessarily involve paper, messages are sent without the need for postage stamps, taking pictures does not require film and automobiles can run without burning petroleum.” Since we now live in a world where all these technologies are possible and commonplace, the author tries to appeal to our sense that soon it will be silly to not think of e-cigarettes in the same way; an appeal to our humor.
Since I am a person who was born after the 1990s, cigarette smoking has never been a cultural part of my life, and I don’t remember a time when everybody was smoking cigarettes. Anybody still talking about cigarettes seems very old to me; all my friends who smoke use e-cigarettes, so this essay’s speculations already seem like a foregone conclusion to me.