Life without computers is unimaginable for today’s society. The questionable outcomes of recent advancements in information technology are very controversial when it comes to social and ethical implications. The way in which humans have evolved and involved themselves with technology over the past centuries is to a great extent. As human beings, being dependent variables in the cycle of life is only natural when we are depending on natural resources such as food and water, but is it okay to become dependent on independent variables that are created by humans to better serve humanity?
Social and ethical implications are indeed caused by human dependency on information technology. With relation to human dependency on information technology, the social implications of insecurities, childhood internet addiction, and the ethical implications of replacing human labor with machines, along with the use of ubiquitous technology will be discussed in this essay. One must ponder, is human reliance on technology that variable in life which halted the evolution of human beings? Throughout life, the social development in ones character is an ongoing process.
There is never an end to the amount of social experience one can take in, across millions of cultures and backgrounds. In many instances information technology is thought to have increased the social aspect of our lives since we have developed networking programs which are designed for the purpose of finding friends and getting to know people across the globe. Although this is true, the face to face social aspect should also be considered, one in which two or more persons experience direct responses without a node in-between.
Social networking websites such as Facebook or Twitter can be seen as a gateway for people with insecurities who don’t possess the self esteem or confidence to have intimate relationships with people face to face. “Young people with low self-esteem and those who lack a good relationship with their parents seem to turn more often to the internet for intimate communication”(Centre for Media Culture and Communication Technology, 2012). When such cases are presented, it is hard to say that the social networking site has a positive influence on the ersons social skills. In fact knowing that there will always be an alternative method for communicating inner feelings, the individual will instinctively never want to try doing it face to face. childhood internet addiction is another social implication of human dependency on information technology. With the influence and availability given to children by their elders, children are inheriting the dependency on IT at an earlier age. It is apparent that internet addiction promotes behavioral symptoms associated with other sources of addiction.
Compulsive internet use seems to produce the same type of tolerance and withdrawal as other addictions” (Dr. Dave N. Greenfield, 2000). Now imagine a middle school student smoking a joint or snorting a line of cocaine. Clearly childhood internet addiction is not an issue to be taken lightly. Giving into a child’s demands for gadgets in place of toys will only hurt them in the future, let alone lead to the deterioration of their life at home in respect to actually spending time with their family members.
Over the years, the human labor force is slowly becoming obsolete as small tasks which were previously done by people are now being assigned to automated machine. Where did automation really start though? “Automation actually started with Nikola Tesla, who coined the word “tele-automaton,” or remotely controlled automatic figure or object. In 1893, he demonstrated that he could transmit electrical energy without wires by remotely controlling a model boat’s passage in a shallow water tank in Saint Louis”(Malone, 2008). This idea of remotely controlling a machine through electrical signals and wires started the concept of automation.
Although such idea’s are brilliant, the ethical implications need to be considered when replacing the jobs of people with automated robots. Some examples of this are around us today, the ATM machine replacing bank tellers or car wash machines replacing car washers. It is unfair and ethically wrong to force citizens out of their jobs and into low paying jobs from which they cannot provide for their families. “As multinational corporations replace humans with machines, the labor costs will continue to go down and their excessive profits will continue to go up.
Hundreds of thousands of human beings will become unemployed and forced into low-income service jobs” (Machines running society: Salt Lake Telegram, 2007). This telegram displays the intent of corporations for why they are replacing humans with machines, in order to cut costs and increase their own profits. Ethically this can be viewed as taking an employee’s salary by firing them and replacing them with machines, in order to obtain a higher income for self. Something clearly is not right about that and should be understood as a negative ethical implication of human dependency on information technology.
The term Ubiquitous means “existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time: constantly encountered: widespread” (Britannica, 2012). When pairing this term with technology it means to have some form of information technology around us at all times, therefore, making Bluetooth or Wi-Fi a form of ubiquitous technology. The idea of ubiquitous technology is to connect all possible electrical technologies to an invisible field of data packets which acts as a node for sending and receiving signals, essentially, this is a ubiquitous cloud.
The electrical gadgets that are connected to this cloud are coined as smart-objects. In order to understand the ethical implications of such technology, consider a scenario. Let’s say a personal instant message is sent through a smart device, the message is broken up into smaller data packets which include a type of address and destination. The ethical issue is that most people don’t know that their messages are entering into a large cloud of electronic information.
Now with the application of smart devices which are designed to collect information, think and carry out tasks on their own. the controversial issue is the fact that these devices will know details about ones surroundings so is it right or wrong to allow it to send and receive information at its own free will. It is not a matter of the device knowingly breaching ones privacy, but the fact that it is placed and programmed by scientists to perform the task that needs to be carried out no matter what the scenario. “Everything will be connected to everything else,” but “no one has any idea what all those connections will mean” (Lucky 1999, p. 19). This criticism can be taken as a perceived lack of focus when it comes to pervasive-computing applications, but also as a deficiency in terms of understanding the consequences of deploying pervasive-computing systems in the real world” (Bohn et al, 2004). Although ubiquitous technology can be ethically wrong when compromising ones privacy, there are many positive implications for humanity with such technology is controlled.
Some of these implications include developmental and economic growth from the installment smart devices, extremely high efficiency and budget control systems which halt the expenditure of corporations, thus reducing the creation of debt, and also shifting the power of political power to economic power, i. e. technology being used as a common ground for everyone. At the same time there is also a social implication of such technology. If everybody gets used to this man serving technology, people might lose their confidence in the new found ubiquitous technological environment. A great deal of uncertainty and alienation may be created. a few of the possible implications of wide-scale use of ubiquitous-computing technology: … personal borders could be violated by new surveillance and search technology; and, not least, there is the danger that we will lose confidence in our environment, thus fundamentally and unfavorably changing our attitude toward the world that surrounds us”(Bohn et al, 2004). of all the emerging technologies, smart devices in relation with ubiquitous technology is easily one of the most uncertain topics in regards to ethics. With regards to social implications. society can be shook in devastating ways.
In an ever growing world of information technology and human reliance therein, has social and ethical implications that are extremely vast. In this essay the social implications of insecurities and childhood internet addiction were analyzed, along with the ethical implications of replacing human labor with machines and the use of ubiquitous technology In order to prioritize the rights and wrongs, one must be understanding and educated about the technology at hand. To say a technology is unethical or contributing to social devolution would only cause separation amongst individuals based on their specific views or set of beliefs.
Sure, allot of the major views are universally known, but is it ethically right to say one view is more correct than the other simply because that view is held by the majority of persons? historically this is known to cause social disturbance among two or more people. Although societies have benefitted greatly because of information technology, there are many who have perished at it’s worth.
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