This is a guest post by Karen Boyarsky.
It’s an issue that must be asked in a culture and society where technology is seemingly on the verge of supplanting the human race. Given the major technological milestones of the last decade people are wondering: What’s next? And what are the social implications? Business implications? Is this new technology being made affordable for all? And perhaps most importantly, will it ultimately help or hurt us?
Let’s start with everyone’s favorites: Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! And whatever else is garnering our time these days. Social networking allows us to stay as up-to-date as allowing us to “check in” at our current locations.
Do we really need to know you’re at the gas station? While technological advances have made staying in touch easier — which is great for, say, relatives who live on opposite ends of the country — it also presents an element of danger. Where’s the privacy? Where’s the security? Do we even have those things anymore? When it comes to sharing your life via social networking, how much is too much?
Don’t forget that once you get involved in social networking, you’re battling a different beast, and it can most definitely impact your face-to-face relationships. What many people have come to refer to as netiquette has become a hot topic. How do you handle online relationships? How do you talk to people? Who do you talk to? What’s appropriate? What’s inappropriate? You can’t simply log on and start chatting away, can you?
It’s not all bad. We have technology to thank for many things, like clicktivism. Yes, that’s really a word. It’s used to describe the act of promoting a cause online, such as with social media. Have you ever supported breast cancer awareness or AIDS online? Congratulations! You’re a clicktivist!
Then again, the quickened pace of the tech world has made available a plethora of opportunities–and the business world isn’t hating it. 2003 brought along with it a heightened prevalence of Wi-Fi in hotels and airports, two places where getting online was formerly a tad trickier. Especially since 2003, “I’m out of the office” has become an invalid excuse for not working…
…which kind of stinks…
…but then Skype made its debut that year and everyone was happy again!
The business world owes technology a lot of thanks, for that industry is responsible for invaluable inventions like podcasts, blogs, vlogs, and webinars. Businesses wouldn’t be what they are without these inventions. You wouldn’t be reading this article without these inventions. Wouldn’t THAT be awful?
Technology today has made it possible for us to accomplish things in a more efficient manner, whether it’s running a 200-person corporation or getting an online computer science degree. Nowadays, things like business ownership and e-learning are made possible without the people involved having to get up out of their chairs.
Who is the Technology Available For?
Not everyone. Keeping afloat the ocean of new technology isn’t cheap, and there ARE drawbacks to lacking the fancy schmancy iPads and iPhones and iWhatever-the-Heck-Else people are using these days.
How do you feel about job postings that require applicants have a smartphone? What if you don’t have a smartphone? My phone’s not stupid; but it’s not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed either. You won’t even look at my resume without the proper technology? Really?
4. Where is Technology Going?
This isn’t the end. Forbes predicted crazy technological advances we can expect in the next ten years. We’re talking virtual jobs in less than five years and trips to the moon in a privately owned space shuttle by 2020.
Emerging technology isn’t all about phones and iPods. It’s changing lives in more ways than that.
In the next ten years, you can expect to see bionic body parts make their mark on society. Technology is making it possible for “limbs” to be reattached and operated by brainpower —- without surgery! People with missing parts can start to look forward to having functioning limbs once again.
Robots are on our heels. Research finds robots capable of retaining memory, recognizing speech, and turning text into voice communication. Within the next decade, robots are projected to surpass human beings physically. Beyond that, scientists expect them to excel beyond us mentally and potentially even replace us at work. Uh oh!
What’s the Verdict?
Simply put, there isn’t one. Not yet. We’ve pushed the fast-forward button on the technological VCR (or is it a DVD now?) and the journey continues to prove to be a double-edged sword. The last 10 years have had their ups and down. For instance, while the introduction of YouTube in 2005 opened us up to an audiovisual world that’s quick, easy, and free, it is coupled with copyright infringement, issues of privacy, and the fact that anyone can post anything… and anyone can watch it.
Wikipedia has become a trusted source for many. On the other hand, many people oppose it due to its approval-by-consensus method, which means that the only thing Wikipedia needs to claim something is a reality is enough people who agree that it is something Stephen Colbert coined wikiality.
Why does this matter? It certainly raises the issue of the role technology plays in the diffusion of information. Technology makes the line of communication to us shorter and faster, which potentially makes it 10 times worse if we’re hit with inaccurate information. Information can be relayed in under a second. What if it’s wrong? The damage may be irreparable.
The fact that technology is a bottomless pit is good and bad. Why? The sky’s the limit. It’s also a trap. Every time you turn around, everything is already outdated. We met the iPhone in 2007; three years later came the iPad. Just a few years later, these versions are considered incredibly obsolete. There are many blessings bestowed upon us because of technology, but there will always be a catch.
Technology isn’t going to slow down, so I guess our only option is to try to keep up and pray that it doesn’t unhinge its jaws and swallow us whole.