Majority of modern world today is already in great dependence on computers. Although for some people it’s still possible to control the level of computer involvement in their live, overall we are becoming more and more dependent on various technologies either directly or indirectly. Highly active people, like businessmen, managers, architects, without even mentioning those who’s professions directly connected with every-day use of computers literally will be stuck with their lives, if god forbid their computers or hand held devices, will be dysfunctional even for an hour.
For some people it’s not that critical. The old-fashioned individuals are still very productive and happy without all those fancy digital-world devices. These people are not dependent directly on computers and hence less vulnerable to tech related disasters. However they might still be dependent obliquely. For example if the local post office computer network will crush, people will not get their mail on time. Telephone companies also depend on computers nowadays, again in case of malfunction people are not going to be able to place their calls. Local bank system crash or medical bill software error entailed by same trivial system malfunctions can lead to a financial disaster. So these days everyone directly or indirectly, at least in U.S., is dependent on computers.
Most modern cars will not start without proper on-board computer functioning and some won’t even open without electronic chip key. With advent of automobiles along with certain advantages we deprived ourselves of huge share of physical activity. Even then we still needed to go to a car whenever we needed groceries or go to work. We also needed to spend considerable time taking care of our vehicle, which also required lots of burnt calories. With networked computers though, we no longer need to leave our home. Thousands of on-line services allow us to do virtually anything from home, whether it’s earning money or spending it. We do it all without even seeing who is paying us avoiding long lines in the stores and banks. What’s sad is that we willingly put ourselves in wheelchairs, making ourselves physically disabled.
Another big concern is a lack of basic one on one communication skills in modern society. Allowing computers to penetrate in our lives more and more, we simply forget how to talk and listen to a real person. We are becoming impatient, aggressive and rude, getting used to the fact that machines immediately do anything we tell them to do. Machines don’t have their own opinions and it’s comfortable, no need to ask or persuade. Then we expect the same behavior from our fellow humans, but this trick usually won’t work with people. That’s where problems begin. I hear a lot these days something like: “Well for me it’s kind of easier to communicate with computers”, or “I don’t do well with people.”
Working from anywhere, centralized management, speed and precision are just some of the obvious benefits of computers. But at the same time just think of how much power we give to potential terrorists or cyber criminals, when more and more stuff in our houses and neighborhoods becoming computer operated. All these criminals need now is to connect to a specific network and start issuing malicious commands or simply bring down a system to threat people’s lives. Same atrocity is possible with traffic light systems, sophisticated medical equipment or even whole facilities, and artificial body organs making it vulnerable targets for cyber terrorists.
Many people believe that machines are flawless, precise and so reliable that they no longer bother to think of what these machines do or how they do it, entrusting them most important aspects of their life. The problem is that software, firmware and all kinds of other “mechanical brains” are created by humans, who make mistakes. Most of the companies and individuals use software packages from the shelf, rather then software designed for a particular case and environment, and who knows if it will fit their needs.
I completely understand that it is virtually impossible to stay competitive in today’s life without help of computers, and every year this dependency becomes more and more profound. Anyone who wants to excel, needs to be on track with current technology. In any field there is a tremendous amount of hardware and software which will readily increase your productivity. All I am saying is that we need to have some kind of a backup plan, in case of our sophisticated electronic companion’s failure. Some kind of pen and paper system to do our work for at least a short period of time. I am against of complete, blind reliance on computers. I just don’t think that it’s a smart idea to entrust ones precious life to rough mechanical hands.
New technology almost always starts out as an assistance for our everyday live and gradually becoming necessity or even addiction. The hard part is to identify the moment when an assistant is transforming to an addiction. As with any aspect of our life, everything should be in moderation. We should always stay aware for how much we allow something to govern our lives, whether it is romantic emotions, alcohol, or various computerized gadgets. Let computers help you in your everyday chores, but do not allow them to dictate your way of living.