In recent years technology has permeated to all areas of our life. Most people pick up their mobiles the first thing in the morning to check emails, messages or to respond to texts. Even during the whole day, we are constantly moving around, working on our desktops, laptops, mobile devices, etc.
We need these gadgets and a myriad of other technologies to manage our personal and professional lives comfortably. We now live in a digital world and technology helps us to complete tasks faster and in a more efficient way.
Even though we have the latest technologies to connect to anyone instantly in any corner of the globe; somehow at times there is a sense of disconnection. The personal touch and emotions seem to be missing in the process.
In this article, we will try to look at the short term and long term effects of technology on personal interactions and how it impacts our daily lives. It does have some positive impact on individuals and society but at the same time, it has some negative impact too. Like every coin has two sides; every good thing or person can have some positives and some negatives too; since nothing is perfect.
Some Positive Effects of Technology
The greatest challenge human beings faced a few decades ago was communication. People were limited to a close set of people with whom they could communicate. The introduction of the internet and the creation of email systems led to the revolution in the field of communication technology.
Further rapid growth in technology over the years accelerated the development of new hardware and software tools that were developed with the goal of making the entire communication process easier and efficient.
The launching of multiple communication apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Telegram, Skype, Instagram, Viber, Line, Twitter, etc has enabled people to connect in seconds on their smartphones.
This has led to people finding friends across the borders and in distant places. There are some people who have become great friends in spite of never meeting each other in the real world. They have started, and continue their relationship in the digital world.
Modern Technology Saves Time
Information Technology in today’s era has connected the world in more ways than we know including information sharing, centralized data management, e-commerce, etc. People can now fly around the world on a jet and explore any corner of the globe. They can exchange information like messages, videos or photos almost instantly.
Emails have literally made the postal service system almost obsolete. We can share our lives with family and friends by sending photos and videos of events or even telecast them live. We can also create chat groups irrespective of the location to share messages to a large group of family and friends.
People are able to meet online and become friends, start businesses, fall in love or even get married. New relationships are formed every day across the globe. It is possible to contact almost anyone in the world since most people have an online presence. News, media and other online businesses use it to promote their business and also attract customers.
Media and Internet Technology
The general awareness levels of the people have increased due to the information explosion happening due to the availability of any information almost instantly. Hence people are much aware of their surroundings and any small incident can gain national attention quite fast.
Thanks to 24/7 media channels and thousands of television channels. People can choose any platform to get relevant news. This rapid change began just a few decades ago.
The Power of Google
Google search has provided people with the power to know anything at their fingertips. It also plays a major role in the decision-making process of people these days. Gone are the days when people needed to hunt for information and move around in circles. People use Google to find anything multiple times a day.
People are learning new stuff every day and also increasing their knowledge by watching youtube, news, listening to the radio, reading newspapers and magazines; both online and offline. The world is more transparent now and any message can be transmitted across the globe quite rapidly. Modern televisions are becoming slimmer and smarter too.
Hence people can form opinions or change perspectives based on what they hear or see, instantly. It shapes the thinking of individuals and the media plays a vital role in the whole process. This does have a major impact on the minds of people and influences relationships between the people in a society, district, state or in a country.
The automobile industry is witnessing a revolution with rapidly changing technologies. The shift towards electric vehicles has created a huge demand for tech feature rich smart cars and SUVs. The latest technologies have enabled users to communicate with their vehicles using Apps and voice commands.
Self Driving Cars
Cars like Tesla have an autopilot option for people to just sit back and relax while the vehicle drives itself. This enables people to communicate freely with each other while the technology does the rest of the work. It can strengthen relationships and free people from mundane tasks.
Technology At Home
The modern kitchens come with a ton of gizmos and unique gadgets that enable the families to get things done in a jiffy. A coffee, tea or even a smoothie using a blender, etc is just a tap away.
This helps the members to find time to talk to each other or pursue their interests and hobbies. This can help to build family bonding and reduce the work pressure on the individuals and allow them to spend quality time.
Advanced Medical Technology
Advancement in science and technology has enabled people to live better and longer lives. The average life expectancy has increased all over the world. Thanks to technological innovation in the field of medical science. Good health is very important to have a happy and successful life.
It enhances the quality of life and strengthens the relationship between people as they grow old. Couples in old age help each other and support each other to fulfil their daily tasks. The love grows among people and family bonds remain strong.
Some Negative Effects of Technology
Technology Does Not Deliver the Personal Touch and Feeling
Human beings love to feel appreciated and connected with a hug, handshake or a pat on the back. But what we get is the “emojis” and “stickers” on the social media platforms.
It’s nice to see a thumbs-up sign or a smiley but that does not convey a personal touch or feeling effectively. Humans are basically social animals that crave for personal attention and appreciation.
Can Technology Effectively Communicate Feelings and Emotions?
We can never use technology to communicate with our pets effectively, so how can it fully communicate a person’s true feelings and emotions. It also reduces the level of intimacy and trust between people since there is no face to face interaction.
It moves people away from the physical world and takes them to the unreal fantasy world. Strangely many are happy to rather be in the fantasy world; than to face the realities of life.
Even driving a fully automatic car can diminish the joy of the actual driving experience and can impact the relationship people had with their vehicles. The personal touch, feel and response would be missing when compared to actual normal driving.
The talent and skills of a driver would not be tested or developed in such a case. The human to machine relationship will increase but the human to human relationships will take a back seat.
Traditional methods of cooking had some benefits and also the food was healthier and tasted different. The talent and culinary skills of the cook were paramount. But with technology being introduced the work gets easier and quicker, but the moments spent together by family helping each other in the kitchen would slowly lose its importance.
Impact on Children and Young People
All display devices emit blue light and that is not good for the eyes. Kids growing up with too many such gadgets may face cognitive and social challenges as they grow up.
They tend to spend too much time with these gadgets and may not have the time or interest to meet their friends in the physical world. People are slowly getting isolated and kids are also learning to live in a more isolated world.
Youngsters are Getting Addicted to Smart Gadgets
Young kids and adults are expecting to be pampered by all the gadgets and technologies and they are forgetting the value of people and beginning to value the materialistic stuff.
This affects human behaviour and the respect people had for each other. This may eventually lead to challenging relationship issues and situations in the present times and also in future.
Fake News and Propaganda
Negative information and bad news spread faster than good news. Some people indulge in spreading fake information and this affects society to a great extent. One-third of the total internet and mobile users in South Africa are aged between 25-35, consuming fake news at this age may lead to them forming a wrong opinion about sensitive issues and ultimately result in social downfall,
All the negative news and social conditioning affect the psyche of people, which in turn has an impact on how people behave and interact with each other.
This is a great challenge facing humanity and can even lead to serious consequences between people, societies, states and even countries. People have become violent and sometimes that has led to the loss of life and property.
It Diminishes the Credibility
Fake news diminishes the credibility of the media and people are resorting to other avenues to get the actual truth. It has altered the collective thinking of people worldwide and is one major reason that creates enmity between people. All this impacts the different levels of relationships people maintain with each other and has adverse consequences.
The new-age communication technologies have the power to distract people from the real issues and instead focus on silly issues that drain the energy. People are easily distracted with a post, tweet or any message. Some relationships are affected due to people spending too much time with gadgets and ignoring the other important people in their life.
Can be Risky to life
Many people have lost their lives due to talking on a mobile while driving etc. This can be dangerous and also lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Technology can sometimes even make virtual reality look real, so it can influence relationships and may also lead to high expectations and other problems. People lose focus and may get confused with the multiple messages and information floating around.
The latest technologies are shaping the way we communicate with each other and also the way people behave, grow, evolve and develop as individuals and also in connected societies.
It is important to stay focused on the true purpose of life and avoid distractions and distortions caused by multiple technologies that are evolving at a rapid pace.
This has also altered the way humans interact and connect with each other. There are many positive outcomes of using all these technologies, but the negative part also does exist. Too much communication and too little communication can lead to problems in human relationships.
Virtual distances between people are growing rapidly and some prefer to live in the digital world, rather than facing the real world. Some people are having shallow and meaningless relationships due to the influence of technology.
Let’s hope that things will change for the better and challenges will turn to opportunities for new growth and development to usher in an era of global peace and prosperity.
Technology is a powerful tool and it has to be used in the right way to support, build and enrich society and relationships. We need to be mindful of our surroundings and focus on holistic development to create a better future for humanity.