Modern Technologies: Fake News and how our Perception of Reality Changing

Introduction

Modern computing devices and technologies have evolved so fast beyond our imagination and there is no part of humans’ life that is not influenced by modern computing devices and technologies. The evolution of modern computing devices and technologies at alarming rate has revolutionized the social, cultural and economic and political activities. Having the power to change society to the better, inappropriate use of computing devices and technologies can also be destructive and results in a tremendous human and material causality. There is a wide range of crimes committed with the help of computing devices and technologies. According to Juniper research, the global cost of cyber security crime will reach $2 trillion by 2019.

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According to (Dr. Gebremichael 2012), Cybercrimes are commonly considered as falling into one of two categories: new offences committed using new technologies, such as offences against computer systems and data; and old offences committed using new technology, where networked computers and other devices are used to facilitate the commission of an offence. Such cybercrimes include hacking or breaking into computer systems to steal or alter data as well as crimes such as the transfer of illegal images or fraud.

With all its negative effects currently being felt mostly by developed countries, the advancement of modern computing devices and technology is a turning point in humans’ socio-economic and political development and It has been used us an indicator to divide countries as developed and underdeveloped based countries ability to invent and utilize computing devices and technologies. For the sub-Saharan African countries where electricity is scarce and basic infrastructures are still in its infant stage, computing devices and technologies are not able to be spread as widely as they are demanded, and those underdeveloped countries are not able to keep pace with the development rate on the other side of the hemisphere. Looking into the current trend in the usage of ICT technology, with all its limitation, ICT technology has been contributing to reduce extreme poverty, spread information and improve living standard in general, whereas comparing to the developed world, both the blessing and curse of computing devices and technology in underdeveloped countries is still in its infant stage.

Lagging behind the developed world in technology can also offer an opportunity for the developing countries to take a lesson from the technologically advanced countries and improve the industry by putting the right policy in place and setting up efficient regulatory unit to make sure that the technology is used in such a way to meet the desired outcomes to the fullest extent.

Becoming a digital society requires countries to invest on capacity building and building institutions to integrate modern computing devices and technology into the daily routine to advance democracy and ensure prosperity. Technology plays an indespensible role in strengthening democracy and good governance. It provides an improved interface through which citizens can connect to peoples’ representatives. With the use of technology, governments can obtain feedbacks from citizens which can be helpful in decision making. Governments need to deal with the challenges associated with the implementation of technology and need to exploit opportunities.

Computing devices and technology in politics

Technology has a more significant impact on democracy. Earlier the news spread through newspapers and manual means. The press has a more significant effect on the decision making of citizens. Through manual means of exchanging news, the information was not shared in the meantime and for that reason, decision making of citizens poorly impacted. The increased focus on technology is helpful in providing meantime information to citizens.

(Sydnor and Psimas, 2017).

Computing devices has been a very powerful tool in the process of building a democratic system by enabling citizens to be kept informed and participate actively in government decision making process. Even in authoritarian and brutal regimes where citizens are deprived of their human and democratic rights, social medial websites have been serving us a channel to share information and create informed society. Countries like Ethiopia, where I was born and raised, democracy, freedom of speech and free press have always been perceived as a luxury to be enjoyed by the developed countries. We have never experienced a free, fair and credible election, when there is an election, usually the government claims to have won 99.6% or 100%. The current government has claimed to have won the election 100% in a country where we have more than 85 rival ethnic groups and different religions.

As computing devices has been in use all over the country over the past six years, people began sharing local and national affairs, thereby since then, there has been a strong movement for freedom and democracy which the government was not able to contain and finally resulted in the abdication of the totalitarian regime, and social media platform was the tool that has effectively been used to fulfill the mission.

Apart from social media, news channels are very impactful to keep people informed. There are news programs in which criticism on the policies of government is made. Before the advent of new technological tools, there wasn’t any interface through which the policies of governments could be criticized by citizens and their representatives. News channels organize programs in which they go into public and take their views about different actions and policies by the government. Generally, such research is done by doing unstructured interviews with citizens. The latest technology has been significantly helpful in bringing people closer to public representatives. Public representatives become very much aware as to what people are expecting from them, and people become very much aware as to what is being expected of them by their concerned governments (Brasington, 2016).

Computing devices (media technologies) have also been serving as a tool to spread fake news during election campaigns, misinforming voters and causing violent clash and escalating civil wars where people do not have the means and skills to verify the accuracy of data and information. Despite its vital role in the paving the way for the coming a democratic system and rule of law in Ethiopia, media technologies have also caused a tremendous socio-economic and political catastrophe.

“Nowadays, UGC (User Generated Content) such as pictures and video from citizens has been very popular means of getting quick information among the public. Such information by itself has undeniable value, however, it is also true that it can easily distorted, forged or taken out of the context, especially in terms of time and location.

Getting accurate, reliable and trustworthy information has been challenged by the rising number of citizen journalists all over the city. It undermines serious media coverage and makes it more difficult for journalists to cover significant news stories. Fake news disseminated by social media, in particular, is capable of inciting conflict and eroding social cohesion as its publishers are not constrained by the limitations of establishment news organizations. The dangers it poses are increasingly unfolding across Ethiopia. Unless it’s nipped in the bud the consequences will be dire for the country.

An informed public cannot be deceived by anyone, one however hard they may try. As a result, ideas that flow freely will be judged by the public on their merits alone. A people starved of information are like a rudderless ship. And where fake news, alternative facts and post-truth are the new normal, it will be next to impossible for a country like Ethiopia to guarantee its continued existence let alone extricate itself from poverty, build democracy and assure peace and stability.

The availability of fake news on social media has also an impact on the mainstream media which was witnessed in some mainstream media stations. For these issues, different instances were raised by the attendants that how sourcing unverified information was used by some mainstream media outlets”. (Elias Worku 2017).

Computing devices and technology in economy

Digital technology is revolutionizing the entire economic activities (primary, secondary and tertiary economic activities) and rocketing the level of efficiency in production, distribution and consumption to a whole new level, however It does not mean that it is 100% safe and without threat. E-commerce has enabled us to sale and purchase services and products without having a direct physical contact with people and companies and with no limited by time and location.

According to Nicole Martins Ferreira 2018 E-commerce has the following advantage and disadvantages: –

Advantages

1. Low financial cost

One of the ecommerce benefits is that it has a lower startup cost. Physical retail stores have to pay up to thousands of dollars to rent one of their store locations. Also, they have several upfront costs such as store signs, store design, buying inventory, sales equipment, and more. Physical retail stores also have to pay staff to work and run each location. They may also need to hire security staff depending on the product value in the store.

However, ecommerce stores only pay $3192 a year on Shopify at most for virtual ‘rent’ which also includes an easy to use ecommerce platform, hosting, free Shopify themes, great apps like Oberlo, and a few other great perks. Depending on what type of ecommerce business you run, you may only need to hire employees when you grow to a certain level. If you choose to dropship, you won’t need to buy bulk inventory saving you a lot of money. Your store logo is often more affordable than a store sign. Your business expenses are generally much lower in ecommerce. This is one of the most attractive ecommerce benefits for new entrepreneurs looking to keep their cost low.

2. Potential Income

One of the advantages of ecommerce is that online stores are always open for business. With your Facebook ads, you can attract someone at 11 p.m. or 4 a.m.. Most physical location stores are open between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. By being available at all hours, you can attract people who would normally pick up a product in stores, if the store were open. You can also attract those who may have odd work schedules or who don’t have time to shop in-person. For a customer to order at night, you don’t need to have employees working the night shift to ensure all orders get processed. You’ll never need to hire a security guard.

3. Sell internationally

Next on the list of ecommerce benefits is that a new brand can sell to customers around the world easily. You have the ability to discover your audience whether they’re in the U.K., South America, or neighbouring countries. If you choose to dropship from AliExpress, many products offer affordable ePacket shipping or free shipping. This allows you to price and ship your products competitively to a worldwide audience.

4. Easy to showcase best sellers

Ecommerce benefits like being able to easily display best-sellers makes it easier to show off products to customers. While you can design a brick and mortar store to sway people to buy certain products, it’s easier for a customer to find the best-sellers in an online store. The reason why you want customers to buy your best-sellers is because they’re proven. Other customers have already bought them and are happy with their purchase. If you want to showcase new products to customers you can include them in your upsell, email marketing or retargeting ads.

5. Personalised online experience

Website personalization, one of the online business advantages, can enhance the online shopping experience. Or segment email lists based on purchases made, location or even how much money a customer spent. You can also retarget a customer who visited your store showing them an ad for a product they added to their cart and forgot about. If your online business has a login feature, you can have a welcome message appear such as ‘Welcome back (name).’ Product bundles can help the customer buy more for a better price increasing average order value. You can also personalize upsells based on what the customer has looked at or what you think they might like based on their purchase behaviour.

6. Affordable employees

One of the benefits of ecommerce is that hiring employees is affordable. You can choose to outsource work to virtual assistants in countries where the cost of living is much lower. You’ll need fewer employees in an ecommerce business than a retail location. A huge advantage of ecommerce is you don’t need to hire employees at launch. You can start and run an ecommerce business all by yourself.

7. Easier to encourage impulse buy

Another one of the ecommerce benefits is that getting your customers to become impulse buyers is possible. If you have an attractive product photography, one with vibrant colour or human emotion, you can create ads that drive impulse buys. You can also execute a range of scarcity tactics such as countdown timers or showcasing limited quantities.

8. Easier to retarget or remarket to customer.

It’s easy to create retargeting ads to retarget customers in your area when running an online business making it one of the most profitable ecommerce benefits. You can create a Facebook pixel. You can use the Shoelace Shopify app to retarget your browsers who visit your store but don’t buy. In ecommerce, you can retarget people who add to cart but don’t abandon and don’t buy or who visit a blog post and never buy. You can collect email addresses easily with an effective pop-up or lead magnet and continue marketing to your customers after you’ve made the sale.

9. Gain access to customer data easily.

One of the best ecommerce advantages is that you can easily gain access to data analysis about your customer. Most people feel uncomfortable giving away email addresses or postal codes to physical retailers. In ecommerce, you can get your customer’s name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. That means you have at least three different ways to communicate and build a relationship with them. You can even have them fill out marketing surveys, share their birth date with you, and more. If you ask them to create an account, you can obtain even more information from them to better serve them.

Disadvantage of e-commerce

No one can buy during site crash

The worst of the ecommerce disadvantages is that no one can buy from your store if your site crashes. That’s why it’s important to ensure your website is hosted on the right platform. For example, if you’re paying the minimum hosting fee and get a surge in traffic from a high converting ad or a television shout-out like Shark Tank, your site will likely crash. Fortunately, Shopify offers free hosting in their monthly fee allowing you to have one of the best servers on the market. In recent memory, there was only one time where sites were down. However, ecommerce stores weren’t the only affected. Twitter, Spotify, Soundcloud, and more were affected by the crash. The issue was resolved the same day. Yet, site crashes on Shopify are so rare that it’s likely not to cause problems in your business.

Cybercrime

As the internet has provided the opportunity for economic growth, development and wide up the political horizon for more ideas and ideologies to be heard and applied, It has also given an opportunity for cybercriminals to launch offences on individuals and institutions. Controlling cybercrime is tougher than the conventional crime control strategy as the criminals can be located where the law enforcement has no control over and also one cybercriminal can attack as much people as he/she want just by sending out spam e-mail with malicious software. In my country Ethiopia, Cybercrime is not even noticeable or detectable as there is a skill and knowledge gap with the law enforcement and users, whereas the effect is being felt and cybercriminals are taking advantage of the existing knowledge and skill gap to flourish.

Cybercrime takes technical expertise and penetration requires an organised preparation, hence investigations are very complex to find out the criminals and bring them to justice. The society has already experienced the blessing of computing devices and technology; however, cybercrime poses a huge threat on the privacy and general virtual security of individuals and institutions.

Conclusion

Computing devices and technology will continue to evolve with increase in sophistication and impacting lives more than ever before, and simultaneously copping with the challenges resulting from the wide use of the technology across the globe will remain an enormous problem unless a new scientific solution is developed to address the existing challenges. As most of the malicious cyberattacks target consumers, small business and grassroot political activities which are limited by knowledge and skills to defend themselves, revitalising economic activities and politics in the developing countries will be more challenging unless all the necessary interventions are rolled out inline with the rising use and evolution of computing devices and technologies.

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Modern Technologies: Fake News and How Our Perception of Reality Changing. (2022, Sep 10). Retrieved October 4, 2022 , from
https://studydriver.com/modern-technologies-fake-news-and-how-our-perception-of-reality-changing/

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