Sunday, July 10, 2005

SOCDIM - Social Impact of the Computer

At yesterday's class, we were asked to group ourselves into five and then each group would present a drawing of how technology has affected us. The other groups then would have to interpret the artworks. We drew a scale that looked like this. My partner Rhea and I had only one thought in mind when we drew the scale: There are positive and negative effects that we try to balance out. Since it is a scale, it means that sometimes the positive would outweigh the negative and vice versa, although we both would like to look at it the way optimists would.

The group whose work we interpreted had an artwork that we summarized in one phrase: Nearly all the conveniences of the outside world within your fingertips. Everything is just a click away. Your business, your entertainment...all but your food, which was why the dude in the pic looked emaciated. He's been so addicted to his technological gadgets that he has done away with the outdated, manual way of doing things. That was how we interpreted it. But thinking about it now, I just realized that you can order food via the internet. There's this yummy diabetic chocolates (the kind that diabetics could eat) that you could get off the net.

The advancement of computers has made our life easier. We've managed to eliminate time and space barriers, and virtually anyone could do what one department in the early 1900s used to do. We've expanded industries, revitalized old business, and changed the Atomic Age into the Information Age.

Of course, we can't deny that we've become too dependent on computers that we've become lazy thinkers. (I've seen people use Windows Accessory Calculator to solve a math equation that was as simple as 4x4.) Of course, there's the thing about information overload and digital divide, which I've felt strongly when I was training the senior managers of my previous company.

As for communication processes? I don't believe this is the absolute advantage that technology has over the archaic ways of doing things. We may be able to convey messages faster, but with the informal and rather unemotional ways of communicating, I have experienced a lot of misunderstandings. I noticed that most of the arguments I had with other people were actually miscommunications that happened over chat/forum and SMS. In my personal life alone, I have noticed that many of my breakups were over my geekiness. I mean, truly, how could a man hope to compete with the attention I give my PC and my console games? I have been "married" to my gadgets for more than half my life, being attached to them for most of my childhood. I mean, it's easier. See, if your PC is acting up, you could easily replace its components or just trade it off for something better and you'd never be called heartless for it.

Hm. In retrospect, I guess this is also applicable to real life. There are new computer programs that have already replaced people. I feel that we must always keep up with technology, not the other way around. It's a vicious cycle that makes me feel older than I really am. I mean, I'm only twenty-something but I sometimes feel like I'm becoming obsolete.



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