An Alternative Perspective: The Drawbacks of Technological Advancements

Posted by admin on Sep 6, 2009 in Module 1: Development of Interactive Technologies |

Currently, there are few scientists in the whole world who discover inventions to make the life of the rest easier. The ongoing improvements have led the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants in such comforts that no one could tolerate living without any of those means of technology. Innovations aim to increase the default standard of living and open new doors for people. Yet, I would strongly agree that there are several drawbacks attached to the wonderful side of technology, namely: 1) computers have altered the labor market; 2) computer-mediated communications have remarkable negative effects on communications; 3) uncertainty in development of computers may lead to an ambiguous future. 

Computers have altered the labor market

A computer Took My Job!!

A Computer Took My Job!!

On one hand, Vannevar Bush in his article, “As we may think”, published on Atlantic Monthly, (July, 1945) introduced idea of a Memex, a device that stores books, records, and communications. His great ideas led to the existence of modern computers and eventually led to the existence of World Wide Web. On the other hand, computers are the main reason of altering the labor market. For instance, many people, nowadays, blame the computers of reducing job opportunities and making any job or profession really hard to get. In fact, computers are “a prime suspect for a widespread recent technological change that could lead to major changes in the demand for skill within industries and firms. Computer technology has influenced work-place equipments and practices in several ways” (Computing Inequality: Have Computers changed the labor market, March 1997, p.15).

 Computer-mediated communications conflicts 

The computer is down again!!

Moreover, Licklidder, J.C.R, in his article “Computer as a communication device“, published on Science and Technology (April 1968) claimed that humans will be communicating more efficiently through a computer than the traditional way of meeting: “face to face”. Licklidder also mentioned that group decision-making will be the most effective aspect of computer communication. However, communications which are conducted through computer networks had remarkable negative effects on the communications, for example time factor and technical difficulties. Certain studies have shown that “computer-mediated communications” had some conflicts. Those studies have revealed that ”computer-mediated communications had marked effects on communications efficiency, participation, interpersonal behavior, and decision making” (Computer-Supported Cooperative work: A Book of Readings, 1988, p.668).

Uncertainty in development of computers

Furthermore, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group researchers working with him, On December 9, 1968, introduced the demonstration of on-line system which was introducing what you call it, nowadays, the mouse. He also introduced the word processing and windows ideology. On the other side of the coin, Engelbart was never certain of the future of his work; the current computer that we all know in these days is totally different of what was Engelbart introducing. In fact, ”Engelbart’s dilemma is that his philosophy produced some of the best computer technologies of our age (e.g. mouse, windows, word processing, etc.), but the full realization of his vision is completely counter to way interaction designers think of computers systems today. In fact, Engelbart’s belief in efficiency over ease-of-use places him in the fringe of computer interaction design today. That’s sad considering he’s done more for interaction design than any else I can think of” (Engelbart’s Usability Dilemma: Efficiency vs Ease-of-Use, April 2008). This will lead me to an interesting point: what is the future of our world? Especially with the ongoing development of computers everyday, the future of computer is really ambiguous.

 Conclusion

To sum up, I have mentioned three major points on the drawbacks of technological advancements: beginning with the fact that computers are changing the labor market, mentioning that communication through computer networks might be incredibly ineffective, and ending with the notion that the future of technology is really unpredictable and may involve of unknown dangers. To conclude, I leave you with this video; hopefully, you will enjoy it.

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