Wednesday, January 6, 2016
I was working on a project with a friend to share the benefits technology bring to society, and I was trying to list out the benefits as well as the challenges.
What would life be like when we do not have information on our fingertips, when we do not have the Internet, search engines, when air travel was not so accessible... And that describes the world where I grew up in.
Blackouts occur from time to time, the TV had 4 channels, we had to search the encyclopedia for information we need. There were no text messages, emails to answer, kids do not have "ADD" and you never hear about "Gluten Free" or "Vegan" diets.
I used to be a techie, building my own computer, writing programs to help me search the internet for information, and building my own amplifiers and remote control cars. I could learn all the latest software and computer languages and it is so hard to keep up with even the latest wearable gadget today.
I am also writing a book on social impact, and the shifting of values and beliefs over the years is simply astonishing. In this digital age, people get influenced with what they read about or see online.
My generation used to get their information from the newspapers and when we hear other information which we have not read about, we have to think critically about the extent of the credibility. Yet today, when the Paris bombing happened, the rapid spread of misinformation on social media is creating a lot of conflict between people online.
What's worse is, today, on social media, you may have many friends that think alike, and a piece of misinformation that may concern you may get repeated so much that you believe that it is true.
Even in the Boston Marathon bombing, many people were speculating about who these bombers were, and there is rapid spread of misinformation and it seems that people further away from Boston gets more outraged by some of this information than the locals in Boston who experience the truth.
Today, a lot of knowledge is stored online. People use search engines to find answers, and many of the answers that are presented are not even good. However, with this convenience of technology, there is a danger to treat what you read and what you find online as your beliefs, and when many of your friends have the similar beliefs and share their views online, it reinforces your belief. What's worse is, today can filter away people you don't agree with.
The danger comes from the people who outsource their thinking. When people use technology filter sounds they disagree with, they allow technology to make their choices or to further divide them. This can lead to ideological intolerance, and people today get easily offended by too many things.
Today we are faced with a bombardment of misleading or inaccurate information. We must develop the skills and ability to distinguish the credibility of this information, and we should be more tolerant and receptive to the views of others.
There is a lot of challenges today brought on by technology, and problems cause by technology today. I hope in time, society and culture can catch up and address the ever changing technology, and people can be more tolerant and use technology to find out what they don't know and not reinforce their ideas.