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The impacts of digital technology on our society

  • No paramount advancement in modern human history is as important as the progression of technology. Technology has changed the course of history like never done before, drastically helping with the rapid increase of innovation. Technology has effectively changed the way we access information, communicate, travel, take care of our health, and even think. It has changed the way we interact on a daily basis.

    Education: 

    More than ever before, we have seen the flaws in our educational system all thanks to COVID-19. With the existence of climate change and pandemics in today's world, we can never truly know what to expect, but we can prepare for things that might come. The pandemic has affected over 91% of the worldwide student population with over 1.6 billion students being affected. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that the education system has faults. With teachers and students alike having lectures from the comfort of their own homes and a multitude of educational recourses online, questions start to arise as to the use of even having a classroom. There was a decline in the performance of students during the pandemic but it was more evident in less privileged homes. Parental guidance also played a major role. If a student was being guided by their teacher as well as parents, there was little to no change in their performance when compared to the time they attended school. 

    Technology provides students with easily accessible information. It provides 24/7 access to educational resources from anywhere in the world. Tech allows students to learn at their own pace thanks to digital tools that collect user-generated data through their various activities, showing their strengths and weakness so as to be able to accurately assess a student's abilities and develop lessons that can guide that student. This can be further improved with the help of teachers because they can communicate with students in the best way possible according to the data the tools have generated. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been also helping in the educational sector. AI can reduce time and ensure higher productivity because it can automate many tasks. AI also provides quick responses to questions meaning that students don't have to wait for 24hours for a teacher to answer their questions. Instead, it could be answered in a matter of seconds. 

    Communication: 

    The truth is, humans have always been looking for a way to communicate more effectively in order to solve the distance issue. From smoke signals, drums, whistles, and messenger pigeons to now telephones, emails, and video calls, technology has effectively transformed the way we stay in touch as well as how businesses communicate with their clients and other businesses. With our traditional way of communicating becoming less used and more modern ways of communicating becoming the societal norm, we can all see that technology has made a big impact, especially in this field. 

    The change in communication all began way back in 1849 when the first telephone was invented and it did not take many years for it to become a necessity in every home. A century later mobile phones were invented, though at first they were quite massive in size and defeated the purpose of being “mobile". But they soon became smaller and had more and more features. Today, wearable devices like smartwatches, glasses, and others have been developed to further integrate technology into our daily uses. People realized that communication is not only verbal but is also made up of non-verbal signs and gestures too. Technologies that help to compensate for this weakness are being developed and thanks to that we now have Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality allows people to be in the same space as one another regardless of time and location. Even though VR is fairly recent and it has many challenges, it is slowly becoming more and more realistic as it is being developed. 

    The internet is another pretty big part of communication today. It allows the use of instant messaging, voice calls, video conferences, discussion forums, and social networks. All these things make communication faster and easier. The internet allows us to stay up to date on the various things going on worldwide. Thanks to social networks, we can stay connected with friends and family that use the same social network. We have access to the activities the post and we are free to comment and share our thoughts on a post. The internet allows us to make video conferences with one another almost as if we were face to face with one another. Discussion forums allow us to ask and answer questions on topics we are interested in with other amateurs and professionals interested in the same topic. This gives us instantaneous access to the information that we seek. 

    Information and communication technologies also known as ICT is a field that has risen all in order to study the role technology plays in modern communication. This field of study involves all aspects of communication technologies from cell phones, video conferencing, software, and computers to social networks and many other media services. 

    Medicine: 

    Technology has also made an impact in the medical effectively changing the way we keep track of our health. Thanks to the digitization of medical records, the medical history of a patient can be kept constantly up to date with constant updates. All this leads to a much more transparent health care system which leads to more trust between patients and doctors. When medical data can be accessed so easily, it can lead to rapid advancement in medicine. Devices such as pacemakers for patients with heart disorders are now common and can enable remote monitoring of a patient's health without the unnecessary visit to the hospital constantly. Artificial intelligence has also been playing a major role in the industry. AI can construct a treatment plan based on the medical records of a patient. Drug development is too long and expensive a process and AI has been making the process much faster and cost-effective than even medical professionals. 

    According to the World Health Organization, 60% to 85% of the population does not engage in enough activity. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is another major health risk that can lead to higher blood pressure, diabetes, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, and obesity among many other diseases. Heartbeat monitoring, sleep tracking, step counting, stress level tracking, and blood oxygen level tracking are some of the things that wearable technology allows us to track anytime we want. Wearable technology like smartwatches and Fitbits give around-the-clock access to their wearers' health data. This allows us to take an active role in improving our health. 

    3-D printing, nanotechnology, and robotics are other ways that technology is advancing medicine. 3D printing things like prosthetics, pills, medical models, and medical and surgical equipment are essential if the medical field is to advance because it can all these processes faster, easier, and much more cost-efficient. Nanotechnology has changed the way we perform surgery and how a drug is delivered into a body system because it makes surgery so much simpler and at a lower risk to the patient. Many medical professionals are now using Robotics in many procedures to help aid them. But Robotics still has quite a long way to go and given enough time, robots will be the ones performing highly complicated procedures with little to no risk. 

    Side Effects of Technology: 

    Research has shown that our attention span has become shorter from 12 minutes to now 5 minutes and it is all thanks to technology. Our decision-making process has also been affected. We are not as instinctual as before. Our ability to retain facts has also reduced but we now tend to remember how to locate information more. Addiction to technology is also another big problem with research showing that an average millennial picks up their smartphones 150 times a day. This can also disrupt sleep cycles which in turn leads to health risks. 

    Conclusion: 

    All these side effects that we experience because of technology is quite evident but there is more to gain from technology than there is to lose. All setbacks can be tracked to not having control and managing the way technology is being used meaning that with the right process anyone can improve on these issues. It is also very easy to see all the side effects that come from using technology, but if it is looked at properly it will be seen that almost no digital technology will have little no side effects If it is use moderately and efficiently in the way it was intended to be used to be used. If we as human beings were to consider that we are the ones at fault and not the tech, surely we will make efforts be make changes.

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