Month: April 2015

Our Future with Communication Technology

Standard post by on April 1, 2015
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addiction to communication technologyCommunications technology is not an inherently bad thing. Like all things that humans want to overuse, it is only bad when we cannot exercise a suitable level of restraint over it. Communications technology has the potential to infiltrate society on a much deeper level than it already has, which would mean destructive consequences. It is very important that awareness be brought to the matter of limiting our interaction with our communication technology so that it does not collectively damage us.

  • If communications technology continues to grow rampantly and replace in person human interaction, we face the possibility of a fragmented society, fraught with broken relationships. We evolved as a species to thrive on personal interactions with other people. Our dependence on phones and computers has contributed to the de-evolution of our social abilities. Instead of interacting with one another in person, we interact with keyboards and screens, and we are becoming disconnected from one another.
  • There is the potential (albeit somewhat science fiction) hazard of artificial intelligence conflicts and ethics in our future, which would drastically alter our relationship with communications technology. This possibility is on the distant horizon, but it would entail the event when we create technology that is so intelligent that it develops a consciousness. Knowing how to handle this type of technology will either influence us to be more dependent on our communications devices, or it may force us to discard them if the AI is hostile.
  • Increased interaction with communications technology certainly has the potential to effect our physical health. Our advancements in this area are relatively very new. We have no idea what the long term effects of being exposed to this many wireless signals and radio waves does to our physical bodies. It could be cancer causing, or increase the likelihood of a number of other diseases.
  • A lesser quality of life in general is also a very real possibility if we do not learn to limit our use of communications technology. Our interactions with the natural world are a very important component of who we are as individuals and as a global society. If this element is replaced by our interactions with communications technology, a part of us will be lost.

Living with Communication Technology

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prevalent communication technologyOur present reality is one filled with a great deal of communication technology. Everywhere we turn, we see people on cell phones, personal computers and a range of other media and communication devices. People start and end their days on these devices, referring to them through out the day for information, communication and entertainment. Our labor force, economy, scientific studies and national security measures are all tied to communications devices now, and we would be rendered helpless if we were unable to access them. This seems like a philosophically unsound existence, but it is indeed the state of things.

Communication technology has become invasive. This is a widespread complaint about phones, computers and other communications devices. It is overly present at every occasion. Whether it is the workplace, movie theater, dinner table or birthday party, communications devices are present, much to the demise of good social skills. This recent phenomenon is met with a great deal of resentment, both from generations that are unaccustomed to it and younger generations who were raised to limit their use of communications devices. There are certainly occasions that call for leaving phones and tablets at home, or at least out of sight.

Communications technology has also been found to have addictive properties, which is never good for anyone’s mental or physical health. Addiction is defined as anything that a person focuses on to the extent of losing control of the rest of their life. Having an addiction to something means that you will neglect everything else in order to focus on the addiction. This epitomizes what is happening with cell phones and computers. People would rather be on their phones than drive safely, watch where they are walking or socialize with the person right in front of them. They would rather be on computers than work, leave the house or exercise. We have a very serious problem of addiction to communications devices in our culture.

The question is, are communications devices a necessary evil? Are we better off with them or without them? They have certainly done a lot to connect us to friends and relatives who are far away. But have they separated us from and made us take for granted the people directly in front of us?

Life Before Communication Technology

Standard post by on April 1, 2015
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communication technology dependenceMany of us can still remember what life was like prior to the communication technology influx of the 1990’s. Land line telephones were the only communication technology that people personally possessed. All other communication was done in person or through the postal service. Technology on the whole was, of course, much more minimal several decades ago. There are mixed feelings about what it has done to us as a global society to leave behind these more simple times. It is the opinion of many people that the abundant presence of communication technology in our present time has made us more anxious, disconnected and unhealthy.

Before communication technology went digital and pagers, cell phones and personal computers emerged, there were different ways of approaching life. Presently, one of our most universal excuses for always having our cell phones on us is for the event of emergencies. This necessity did not apply several decades ago. In the past, people lived with the understanding that if they stayed close to home, they would remain in closer touch with their friends and family. If they moved away, their contact would be limited. This was simply part of the human condition and people did not fret over it.

Many would also argue that, in this time, people were more connected to the world rather than media representations of it. Presently, our communications and media devices inform a great deal of our realities. In fact, so much of our reality is derived from the media that we are no longer basing our personal realities on personal experiences as much as we are basing them on what the media exposes us to. This is dangerous for our psyches. We are best suited to our environment when we interact with it and learn from it directly rather than through a secondhand account.

In a nutshell, many people believe that it was simpler and healthier to live with less communication technology than we have today. They feel that it creates a sense of dependence that we did not used to have, not only in the form of separation anxiety from the people in our lives, but also from the separation anxiety we have developed for information and technology itself.

How Communication Technology Became an Addiction

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communication technology addictionWe are no longer capable of picturing our lives without phones and computers. Yet so many of us can remember a time when we happily got by without them. The digital age that began at the turn of the millennium brought with it incredible change to our lives and the way we interact with the world around us. Some changes have been for the better, like the ability to keep in better touch with people who are a long ways away, but some changes have had a negative impact, arguably none more so than the pervasiveness of communication technologies.

Digital and satellite communications were created with the intention of making communication and information more readily available. Social media sites and social phone applications are written to connect people. However, disconnect has been observed more strongly in people since the immersion of the digital age. People are known to spend more time on Facebook than they do actually socializing in person. Car accidents are caused by people looking at their cell phones instead of paying attention to other members of society who are driving. It can be argued that communication technology is actually driving us further apart than it is bringing us together.

Some communication technology intrusions are becoming very personal. When someone has their face in a phone while someone else is trying to have a serious conversation with them, or while people are dining out together, it can come off as very rude and disrespectful. A large number of people have developed this problem, which is identified as a bad habit in some situations and an addiction in others. Phones and computers have done a lot to benefit the world, but they are misused as well and humanity is paying the price. It is very important that we come together to eradicate this problem.

People are more than capable of breaking bad habits, and communication technology addiction is worthy of addiction rehabilitation, treatment, counseling or whatever effort it takes to end this destructive behavior. Addiction to communication technology damages relationships, reduces quality of life and can even jeopardize people’s safety.