Technology has advanced insanely over the past 200 years since the Industrial Revolution. (Lattier, 2017.) We are now in the generation that is living in the future that past generations wondered and speculated about. Smart phones, video games, television, and everything else in between have been introduced and advanced.
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Technology has become an essential part of our lives. Not only that, technology has changed our lives drastically through the way we pass information, the way we talk to one other, our access to knowledge, and through new ways to enjoy ourselves. (Kumar,2017) For better or for worst technology changes us and will have transformed us in the future. This essay will highlight the transformative powers of the technology we use on the world.
First of all, technology is changing the way we communicate drastically. Almost all of us do it; share their experiences through some kind of social media platform. Instead of living the moment we rather “share” it. No longer is it only our friends and family that experience an event together, it is also the contacts on your social networks. Because there is so much shared information, we can learn almost in real time what’s going on the other side of the world. (Garia-Guaita, 2017). The predominant way of getting information use to be radio, television, newspaper, and the cinema, now we can see the main authorities for information has become the internet and social media. (Kessler, 2013.) Edward Kessler author of “Social Media and the Movement if Ideas” comments on how technology has changed in relation to religion. He comments that the internet and social media have become more of an authority than priests; priests rarely are approached. Younger priests, (you could say the future of religion) have a more positively view social media, they see it as a tool for initiating, building and maintaining a positive dialogue. Kessler states, “Unfortunately, democratization of information and the increase in user-generated content also make it easier for misinformation and negative content to proliferate online.” Since everyone has access to the internet, we find ourselves coming into contact with a lot of conflicting opinions. Although social media has just as much potential to foster and spread individual freedom, it has just as much potential to enforce pack identities and mob rule. Psychologists use the term, “Individuation” to describe when identities are concealed, and social norms are withdrawn. Individuation or pack identity is like when a sports fans shout abuse or hatred to the oppose team. And due to the anonymity of the internet we see more individuals acting differently than they would in the real world. This leads people to post harsh criticism, anger, and hatred sometimes, even threats without taking responsibility for their words and no consequences because of the anonymity. (Kessler, 2013.)
Social Media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so we will continue to see the ordinary norms of behavior, non-existent in the world of the internet. According to statistics over 6 billion text messages are send per day in the United States and the number of texts send per month has risen 7,700 percent in the last decade. (Morreale, 2017.) The birth of electronic communication has aided to remove the time and obstacles to communication. Writing a letter use to be the most traditional form of communication before text messages and e-mails. (Fenell, 2017.) They are not much different from letters in the sense that the sender writes a message intended for a receiver; the only difference is how the message is sent. When a letter needs to be sent, one would have to go to take it to the mailbox or postal office for the letter to be send. Then, the letter is drove or flown by car or plane, which will take days for it to arrive to the receiver. When a text message is sent with a simple tap of the finger, in 1 to 3 seconds, the signal is sent to the nearby phone tower and then the SMS center. Then it’s sent to the nearest tower to the cell phone, and finally sent to its location. (Whatley, 2016.) Huge amounts of people have utilized text messages and e-mail. As the use of digital communion increases in popularity, the use of more traditional ways of communication are slowly dissipating. According to the U.S. postal service statics, the number of letters mailed have deceased from 212 billion in 2007 to 158 billion in 2013. It is now undetermined if the art of letter writing will go extinct due to the rise of technology and social media. Some say losing a more intimate, personal and creative way of commutating would be a shame.
In addition to the new ways of communication, there is a new way of entertainment and playing games. In 1972, Atari introduced the first successful commercial video game, Pong. (Tyson, 2000.) Video games have come a long way since Pong’s overly simple graphics and gameplay. There is a popular opinion among mostly parents, that video games are bad for their kids and teens. Many popular video games have themes of killing and violence, drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behavior, disrespect for authority and the law, racial, sexual, and gender stereotypes, foul language, and sexual exploitation and abuse towards women. The American Academy of Child and Adolescents .org states spending excessive time playing video games can cause a number of negative repercussions. For example, lower grades, less exercise and becoming overweight, aggressive thoughts and behaviors, decreased sleep and poor-quality of sleep, less reading, less time socializing with friends and family, and taking time away from families, school work, and other hobbies. (AACAP, 2015.) It is more popularity thought that video games, when not in moderation, is bad for children’s and teenager’s over all well being and future. Jane McGonigal believes strongly that videos game will be an essential part of the success of the gaming generation. McGonigal states, “Gamers are super-empowered, hopeful individuals. These are people who believe that they are individually capable of changing the world.” Unfortunately, McGonigal says, that the problem is that gamers have a resilient drive to complete problems and challenges only when it comes to gaming. The gaming world helps them become the best version of themselves, they are more likely to stick with problems and try again after failing.
But it’s a different story when it comes to the real world, most often when we face obstacles or failure, we don’t feel that way. We feel anxious, maybe depressed, frustrated, overcome, overwhelmed, or cynical. Jane McGonigal has devoted years of her life at the Institute for the Future, trying to relate games to the future, and empower people to make the best-case scenario outcome a reality. They want to imagine “epic wins”, as she coins, just like in video games and give people the resources to achieves “epic wins”. McGonigal made a game called “World Without Oil”, where in the game you try and survive an oil shortage. They give enough online content for the player to believe it’s real and challenge the player through oil costs, what’s not available, transportation, food supply, and other problems. The players were asked to document they’re experience by blogging about it, making videos, and taking videos. 1,700 players piloted this game in 2007 and were tracked for three years since. McGonigal describes it as a,” Transformative experience.” The players changed the way they lived for an epic adventure. They kept up their habits they learned from the game, years after. McGonigal and her team made a second game to test the problem-solving of video game players, called Super strut at the Institute for the Future. In the game you make up one of five people being the dream team. Your job is to help save the world, it’s your job to invent the future of energy, future of the social safety net, the future of security, the future of health, and the future of food. They had 8,000 people play the game come up with solutions together. McGonigal says they came up with over 500 insanely creative ways of solving the problems. The last game, that was launched 2010, called the World Bank Institute teaches social innovation skills. Young people everywhere might benefit from this video game, by developing skills like local insight, knowledge networking, sustainability, vision, and resourcefulness. Jane McGonigal has high hopes for the future that involves video games, that involves and grows productivity, optimism, and the want for epic meaning.
In conclusion, technology has impacted the future of humanity insanely. As people change and advance technology, we will change in turn with it. In a world where technology is used by young and old alike, everywhere in the world, it is bound to transform and change, for better or for worse. There are many ways technology improves the world we live in. We can now pass information in the snap of a finger and send text messages just as fast. The ability to contact anyone whether it be through phone call, video chat, e-mail, or text message proves to save the users huge amounts of time. Time they would’ve been spending traveling, sending, and writing. There are thousands of ways technology has saved people’s time and even lifes. Over 240 million 911 calls are made per day in the United States, According to the National Emergency Number Association. (NENA, 2019.) Now imagine trying to get help without a phone nearby or a smart phone in your pocket. Floods, hurricanes, fires, storms, earthquakes, any disaster, lots of people would be hopeless or in the dark if it wasn’t for modern ways of commutation. In that way commutation has affected and impacted people in a good way. In different ways commutation has negatively affected the people who use it through technology. We commutate more through social media and the internet nowadays, which means less time spent having face to face conversations, which is less healthily. (Kumar, 2017.) The invention of e-mail and text message has pushed the once main form of commutation, writing letters, to the side. Although, text and e-mail are more efficient, the personality and intimacy of the letter can be lost. On social media due the anonymity people can act unnaturally and rude to other, everyone’s a critic.
There is still time to see how this mob mentality will affect the world we live and the youth. To follow the thought of the youth many, have opinions of how video games will affect the youths playing the games. Some have reason to believe too much game time is unbeneficial to kids, promoting violence and abuse. Some like Jane McGonigal believe the future is bright with the help of video games. Whatever the future holds it depends on us and how we use technology, there is no doubt technology has changed the world forever.
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