In the title to this article the suggestion or question is whether technologie’s promise for a better world is beginning to backfire. It might rather be said that it is backfiring to a degree. That is, we are already seeing some of the negative consequences of the tech revolution.
As previously discussed in another article, first we had the industrial revolution followed by what can be referred to as the technology revolution. A little confusion can ensue from this as the industrial revolution was greatly made up of technology.
However, in the tech revolution we are referring to that aspect of technology that modernizes our tools through computer techniques. The result is the evolution of the manner in which information is produced. Computers and the application of computers to a variety of our affairs changed the dynamic of the information revolution dramatically. Information is being produced in a different fashion; through the means of computers based on electronics powered by softwre which has enhanced the creation of information along with it’s gathering and analysis.
Computers bring with them not only a different manner in the way information is produced but the kind or qualitative aspects of that information. Computers require us to provide programs to enable the information technologies but it is happening so fast that we are no longer just managing and producing information but that too of knowledge.
Exicitement led the Way
In the early days of the information revolution, as technologies were ccoming on stream freeing us from many burdens, a lot of excitment ensued around the potential of information technologies to free us from many of the drudgeries involved in living. The ability to solve problems quickly along with aids in the resolution of problems; the rapid evolution of information and that of knowledge; the potential to reduce the work week; the enhanced abilities to communicate were just some of the things seen as very exciting around the new technologies.
With the evolution of information systems the speed at which they evolved also increased. Many people feel that today it is getting away from us and the downsides of this are not understood. However, we are beginning to see the effects of the development of these technologies and although there is excitment, concern is beginning to arise.
As information technology is now a part of the very fabric of society, we are seeing aspects of the technology that is concerning. It is important not only to understand the potential of our new systems but those too of the concerns that are arising.
One very simple concern that was identified early on was addiction to the technologies. People were getting addicted to the tools designed to help. Rather than go to. bed and get a good nights rest, they would stay up for days on end either talking to other people from around the world; play games endlessly or buy these tools obsessively in search for the ultimate answer.
The Smartphone for all its liberatimg potential was one of the first places addiction to the technology was raising its ugly head. In the 2000’s the Blackberry mobile device dominated the day. People who carried the Blackberry often referred to their device as the Crackberry due to its very observable and highly addictive nature.
Today, Youtube shows dominate tech channels around mobile phones with those addicted people again in search of the ultimate device. The reviewers would feed the addictions by describing these smartphones in almost rush type forms and feed the addictions by describing the bits and bytes of a phone with graphs meaningless in many ways but to the addicted seeking the ultimte rush more than satisfying.
Humans are a social animal. We didn’t survive in the wild for the last fifty years based on our strength nor agiity. Much of this capability goes to the very nature of of socializing ability and connection to a small, protective tribe that would not only protect us but provide us with satisfying moments or that feeling that it is good to be alive. A human, kept in isolation, would easily go crazy within a short peiorid of time
How do we describe a large aspect of what has come from our technologies – that of social media. Social media is everywhere within the tech world not just bringing people together virtually via connecting programs but by belying attributes to the socialization such as like and hits. Many have suggested that too many of us exist for not real commuication or socializing but for the rush that comes from hits and likes. Ultimately, this is meaningless except in the mind of the addicted vitual media socializer.
The Benefits are there but so too Are the Concerns
We could not turn the clock back and do without tech as it has become integral to the functioning of modern society. However, this does not mean we ignore the concerns as they are very real and so too are they’re affects. At this stage we simply need to understand what is going on. We might have to ask eventually if we need tools to deal with some of the negative consequences. Simply encouraging a more balanced form oif communiction might be helpful. However, by being aware we can also assess where this might be taking us.
The benefits of the technology are definitely there. We would not use it if they weren’t. However, unbridled technologies has gotten us into sticky places in the past (Jacque Ellul’s theory of the first and Second world wars). Technology will still streamline societal operations and enhance our knowledge base possibly leading to such things as major medical breakthrughs but in this case knowledge is King. Our being aware of these concerns around technology may prevent real problems from arising. This is very hard to determine but knowledge is not information but rather the devlopment of concepts and thought possibly from the information gathered. It is one way of developing techniques that keep society in balance with human function and this is very important.