Albert Einstein is quoted to have said that: "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." Whether this quote is genuinely his or not is debatable. What is not debatable, however, is the truth in those very words. Technology has undoubtedly revolutionized human interaction and its impact on human life cannot be downplayed. From the creation of mobile phones to spaceships, the advantages of technology are certainly many and are often discussed more than often. However, the most important aspect of human life seems to never attract much attention. This side is the social life of human beings. Social life in this context means all the social activities that define us humans from communication, relationships, entertainment and so forth. Research shows that constant use of the internet has an impact on the way its users think. For instance, it has been shown that exposure to the internet and constant usage of computers leads to a constant distraction which may alter the physical structure of the brain (Greenblatt 2010). The same research notes that Internet addiction is a serious problem among the youth in some countries like China and South Korea. This report looks at the impact technology has on the social life of human beings and attempts to find a way to restore the traditional social life of humans alongside a world of technology. The report will look at different research papers that have looked at the role of technology in different aspects of human life.
Combining technology with traditional aspects of human life to improve the social skills of the digital era society.
The underlying problem that this research attempts to solve is restoring the traditional aspects of social life by convincing the audience the need for incorporating the pre-digital era social skills in modern day social life. The research appreciates the role technology has played and therefore does not suggest the complete eradication of technology but rather focuses on reconciling both sides.
Technology and Relationships
Since computer use became mainstream in the early 1990s, a lot has changed as far as relationships are concerned. Much of this is concerned in the way people communicate with others. The popularity of computer usage for communicating is very high especially teenagers. In a research conducted by Erica Shifflet to determine the impact of technology on communication among adolescents, it was found that there is a universal use of technological tools in communications among adolescents (Shifflet 2014). Many of the participants in the research reported being aware of the risk they were exposing themselves to when using technology. Many of the youths also reported to spending more time online than they did spend in holding actual conversations with real people (Shifflet 2014). Similar sentiments are echoed in another research titled outcomes of the research are a global trend across the world where youths “The Impact of Technology on Relationships in Educational Settings”. The research notes that youths find it more fun using computers to learn and interacting with others than they do in face to face interactions (Costabile & Spears 2012). Although these two research papers show the role technology has played in growing relationships bonding among the participants, they fail to explain why the participants feel more motivated meeting the individual people when they can comfortably talk on digital platforms. With such popularity of digital communication platforms, traditional aspects of communications such as handshaking, body gestures and body postures are constantly fading. Consequently, humans may lose their sense of understanding each other's moods which are equally an important part of communication. This can, however, be improved by restricting computer usage to some places. For instance, a law can be made to discourage computer use for interaction.
Technology has played a great part in ensuring that every person has an equal opportunity towards access to opportunity and resources. A report by the National Council on Disability indicated provided digital ways in which digital technology can be used to provide equality for disabled people (National Council on Disability 2011). However, the report also shows the need for traditional aspects of handling disability like giving them more privileges. Merely providing a computer to a disabled person may be enough to give them the necessary resources to expose them to a world of bigger opportunity. However, traditional aspects such as considering them special, recognizing the fact that they need special care are vital in ensuring there is equality.
Modern leadership is characterized by massive freedom and democracy. Modern governments have provided their citizenship with platforms to air their opinion, even those that are against the governments’ wills. One of the platforms that have played an enormous role in shaping current leadership and politics is technology. For instance, research notes that the use of a technology driven platform such as Facebook and Twitter has provided voters with rich information leading to them making saner decisions on the ballot when choosing leaders. (Tsuma & Tsuma 2012). However, it also notes that the same platform is the course of stimulating conflicts and spreading propaganda. Such uncontrolled actions may be the basis for detrimental conflict that may sometimes lead to unnecessary war. Traditional aspects of leadership such as placing necessary controls and moderators on such tools may be seen as authoritarian but may be necessary to maintain a sane society.
It is evident technology is one of the greatest inventions by mankind. However, the life and prosperity of the human life depend on mankind's social skills. These social skills define how mankind governs, entertains as well as grows itself. Many of the social skills that are important to making such as the ability to understand each other emotions and govern itself have taken years to develop and are crucial to its survival. These very same social skills are being threatened by technology. Since technology itself is vitally important, the best solution will be to find a way to coexist the two. More research should be done to find ways in which computers can be used in the society without threatening its survival.
Costabile, A & Spears, B 2012, The Impact of Technology on Relationships in Educational Settings, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, Florence.
Greenblatt, A 2010, 'Impact of the Internet on Thinking', CQ Press, Washington, DC, vol 20, no. 33, pp. 773-796.
National Council on Disability 2011, The Power of Digital Inclusion: Technology's Impact on Employment and Opportunities for People with Disabilities, United States National Council on Disability.
Shifflet, E 2014, 'Information technology and the Net Generation: The impact of technology on adolescent communication and interaction.', Dissertation Abstracts International, A: The Humanities and Social Sciences, vol 74, no. 09.
Tsuma & Tsuma, 2012, 'Information communication technology and politics: A synthesized analysis of the impacts of information technology on voter participation in Kenya', Dissertations & Theses, Sociology, Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, ProQuest.