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How Technology Has Changed Our Lives Essay | Technology Has Changed Our Life Positively, Impact of Technology in Day To Day Life

December 3, 2021 by Prasanna

How Technology Has Changed Our Lives Essay: Technological innovations, applications, and advancements have impacted human civilization through ages that gradually transformed our lives. Technology has taken a key role for societies to thrive and evolve, while at the same time the structure and aspirations of human societies have been modified based on how they are being influenced by technology. As technological systems reflect the very essence of a population’s needs, human societies and their technology has become inseparable from one another. Our lives move around technology that results in the development of further innovations and applications to meet the needs of society.

You can also find more  Essay Writing  articles on events, persons, sports, technology and many more.

Long Essay on How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

Technology affecting the way of life

We all know that necessity is the mother of invention; so all invented technology came into place to meet the needs of people. Once developed, it changed our lives and behaviors in society, which may result in new ways of life. The people may simply use the technology to survive, or it may help the society to evolve and attain progress by creating a greater level of efficiency. At the same time, technological developments may even change the lifestyle and habits of people to the point of affecting human adaptive mechanisms and thus facilitating further technological evolution. Throughout the years, technology has kept providing us with amazing resources that can bring a vast difference in our everyday lives.

Every human society in the modern world has experienced technology as a utility and means of living more efficient lives. The infiltration of technology into our lives has been gradual and sometimes we may not even realize the extent to which technology has become part of our every waking moment. From the tiny to the enormous, every application of modern technology is opening a new world to us.

Technology is everywhere

The field of communication has seen very quick and significant changes in technology. Communication is immediate regardless of if a person is right there or across the globe. The education system has adapted new technology where students have the freedom to learn at any time and location of their choice through online facilities. The need for comfort and convenience has always been a strong motivator for the emergence of new technologies.

Access to any information is just a matter of a few clicks on the devices. The definition of entertainment has taken a new form with the latest technology. There has been a drastic change in our personal lives as we are open to numerous choices but we need to keep pace with their rapidly changing profiles. The most noticeable change in our lives has been the introduction of social media. This culture of getting involved in social networking through online mode has developed too fast. It allows a virtual entry into the lives of others in real-time whether they’re friends, followers, or celebrities.

Technology controlling us

Technology has made our lives faster and convenient by changing the way we do everything. As we move forward, technology accompanies us. We are surrounded by technology and become dependent on it. As we look around us and realize how technology has positively changed our lives, we must also remember how technology is controlling our lives by influencing our thought processes, ideas, and preferences. The big question is, whether we are using technology or being used by technology?

Too much dependence on technology has restricted the scope to flourish our creative and intellectual abilities. We are shifting to quantity from quality in terms of time, emotions, and relations. Our lives are getting trapped within technology and we feel helpless without the support. Technology is like an elevator that can take us to new heights as we desire, but we have to be ready to use the staircase as well in case it fails.

How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

Short Essay on How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

Introduction

Technology has changed our lives and has made the world smaller with faster communication, instant information access, and online interactions. Technological advancements have brought everything to our fingertips, making life more enjoyable and convenient. Today, if you want to find something out, it only requires a couple of clicks on the internet. There is literally an app for anything, which renders instant and relevant information. From learning, traveling, dining to almost anything that you can think of is accessible through app technology.

Technology and Future

Technology has revolutionized our daily lives by giving us access to amazing tools and resources. Modern technology has paved the way for multi-functional devices which are faster, more portable, high-powered, and user-friendly. All these revolutions of technology have made our lives better, easier, faster, and more fulfilling. Technology has changed how we can entertain ourselves, interact with each other, and consume all types of information. There are so many new technologies evolving day by day that it seems overwhelming to adapt and keep track of. There is no doubt that the future of technology will continue to revolutionize our lives. In the coming days, driverless cars may be the new trend and robots will replace humans in factories.

The Online World

The latest technology trend has driven our daily lives centered on online activities more than ever before. Almost every aspect of our daily routines can be catered to online today, so it seems inevitable that our time spent online will only increase. Online accessibility to anything of our choice gives us a satisfactory level of convenience. It has changed our habits and preferences as well. But it has also made us vulnerable. Every digital footprint we make online is recorded and can be used by cybercriminals in unethical ways again by using some latest technology. So we have to be careful and updated while getting adapted to new technology.

FAQ’s on How Technology Has Changed Our Lives Essay

Question 1. Which app has helped us reach out somewhere more conveniently?

Answer: If we want to know how to reach somewhere, an app like Google Maps helps us get thereby giving the best route complete with directions, as well as satellite imaging.

Question 2. What is the impact of technology in the communication arena?

Answer: There are various online social networking sites that give us a chance to meet the rest of the world and make communication direct on this platform. It not only has changed the process of communication but also the way to build relationships.

Question 3 . How does the online mode of learning and education help us?

Answer: Education has now migrated from the classroom to the online platform and become accessible from any part of the world.

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Home — Essay Samples — Information Science and Technology — Impact of Technology — How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

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How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

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Words: 1130 |

Updated: 9 November, 2023

Words: 1130 | Pages: 2 | 6 min read

Table of contents

Hook examples for technology essay, technology essay example.

  • A Digital Revolution: Enter the era of smartphones, AI, and the Internet of Things, where technology is the driving force. Join me as we explore how technology has transformed our lives and the profound impact it has on society.
  • An Intriguing Quote: Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Let's delve into the magical world of modern technology and how it shapes our daily existence.
  • The Paradox of Connectivity: Technology promises to connect us, yet it can also lead to isolation. Explore with me the paradox of our hyperconnected world and how it affects our relationships, both online and offline.
  • The Impact on Work and Leisure: Discover how technology has revolutionized our work environments, blurring the lines between office and home. Together, we'll examine the changing landscape of leisure and entertainment in the digital age.
  • Looking Ahead: As technology continues to advance, what lies on the horizon? Join me in discussing the future implications of emerging technologies and how they will further reshape our world in the years to come.

The Dark Side of Technological Advancement

  • Increased Bullying
  • Lack of Privacy
  • Constant Distraction

Balancing Technology in Our Lives

Works cited.

  • Anderson, M. (2018). The Effects of Technology on Teenagers. Verywell Family.
  • Brown, B. W., & Bobkowski, P. S. (2011). Older and newer media: Patterns of use and effects on adolescents’ health and well-being. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 95-113.
  • Calvillo, D. P., & Downey, R. G. (2010). Mobile phones and interruption in college classrooms: Instructors’ attitudes, beliefs, and practices. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(2), 223-231.
  • Clarke-Pearson, K., & O'Keeffe, G. (2011). The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families. Pediatrics, 127(4), 800-804.
  • Livingstone, S., & Smith, P. K. (2014). Annual research review: Harms experienced by child users of online and mobile technologies: The nature, prevalence and management of sexual and aggressive risks in the digital age. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(6), 635-654.
  • Oulasvirta, A., Rattenbury, T., Ma, L., & Raita, E. (2012). Habits make smartphone use more pervasive. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 16(1), 105-114.
  • Przybylski, A. K., & Weinstein, N. (2017). A large-scale test of the goldilocks hypothesis: Quantifying the relations between digital-screen use and the mental well-being of adolescents. Psychological Science, 28(2), 204-215.
  • Rosen, L. D., Lim, A. F., Carrier, L. M., & Cheever, N. A. (2011). An empirical examination of the educational impact of text message-induced task switching in the classroom: Educational implications and strategies to enhance learning. Psicologia Educativa, 17(2), 163-177.
  • Schulte, B. (2018). The human costs of bringing smartphones to every student. The Atlantic.
  • Twenge, J. M., Joiner, T. E., Rogers, M. L., & Martin, G. N. (2018). Increases in depressive symptoms, suicide-related outcomes, and suicide rates among US adolescents after 2010 and links to increased new media screen time. Clinical Psychological Science, 6(1), 3-17.

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how has technology affected our lives essay

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Essay on How Technology Changed Our Lives

Students are often asked to write an essay on How Technology Changed Our Lives in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on How Technology Changed Our Lives

The advent of technology.

Technology has revolutionized our lives in many ways. It has made tasks easier, faster, and more efficient. We use technology in our daily activities, from cooking to communicating.

Communication and Technology

Technology has drastically changed the way we communicate. With the advent of smartphones and the internet, we can now connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Education and Technology

Technology has also transformed education. It has made learning more interactive and accessible. With online classes, students can learn from home.

Healthcare and Technology

In healthcare, technology has improved diagnosis and treatment. It has made healthcare more effective and convenient.

In conclusion, technology has greatly changed our lives. It has made our lives easier, faster, and more efficient.

250 Words Essay on How Technology Changed Our Lives

Technology has revolutionized our world, transforming every aspect of our lives. It has brought about a digital revolution, making tasks easier, faster, and more efficient. From communication to transportation, health to education, technology has permeated every sphere of human life.

Impact on Communication

The advent of smartphones and the internet has revolutionized communication. We can now connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime, breaking geographical boundaries. Social media platforms, video conferencing, and instant messaging apps have not only made communication instantaneous but also fostered global connections and collaborations.

Transformation in Transportation

Technology has also drastically changed transportation. With GPS technology, navigation has become easier and more precise. Electric cars and autonomous vehicles are on the rise, promising a future of sustainable and self-driving transportation.

Healthcare Advancements

In healthcare, technology has brought about advancements like telemedicine, wearable devices, and AI-driven diagnostics. These innovations have improved patient care, made health monitoring easier, and increased the accuracy of diagnoses.

Educational Innovations

The education sector has also seen significant changes with e-learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and digital resources. This has made education more accessible, interactive, and personalized.

500 Words Essay on How Technology Changed Our Lives

The advent of technology has revolutionized human life, transforming the world into a global village. It has impacted every facet of our existence, from communication to transportation, health to education, and entertainment to business.

Revolutionizing Communication

One of the most profound changes brought about by technology is in the field of communication. The invention of the internet and smartphones has made it possible to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Social media platforms, emails, and video calls have removed geographical barriers, fostering global collaboration and understanding.

Transforming Transportation

Advancements in health and medicine.

In the field of health and medicine, technology has been a game-changer. Advanced diagnostic tools, telemedicine, robotic surgeries, and personalized medicine have improved patient care and outcomes. Additionally, wearable technology and health apps have empowered individuals to take charge of their health.

Revamping Education

Education is another sector where technology has left an indelible mark. Online learning platforms, digital classrooms, and educational apps have democratized education, making it accessible to all. The recent pandemic has underscored the importance of technology in education, with schools and universities worldwide transitioning to remote learning.

Entertainment and Leisure

Impacting business and economy.

Lastly, technology has significantly influenced business operations and the global economy. E-commerce, digital marketing, and remote work have redefined traditional business models, promoting efficiency and inclusivity.

In conclusion, technology has dramatically altered our lives, reshaping the way we communicate, travel, learn, stay healthy, entertain ourselves, and conduct business. While it presents challenges, such as privacy concerns and digital divide, the benefits it offers are immense. As we move forward, it is essential to harness technology responsibly and ethically, ensuring it serves as a tool for progress and inclusivity.

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  • The Internet and the Pandemic
  • 1. How the internet and technology shaped Americans’ personal experiences amid COVID-19

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  • 2. Parents, their children and school during the pandemic
  • 3. Navigating technological challenges
  • 4. The role of technology in COVID-19 vaccine registration
  • Acknowledgments
  • Methodology

As the pandemic unfolded in spring 2020, many Americans saw their lives swiftly reshaped by  stay-at-home orders , school closures  and the onset of  remote work . From video calls with  isolating or sick family members  to  holiday celebrations by video call  amid  canceled travel plans , social distancing recommendations altered major life events and elements of daily life alike. 

Technology bridged physical distance as restrictions continued.  Religious services ,  doctor appointments  and  essential errands  moved online. At the same time, organizations implementing remote work and Americans spending more time online worried about “ Zoom fatigue ” and tech burnout.

Relationships also evolved during this uprooting of typical routines. Pandemic “pods” helped some Americans  maintain connection , but they  complicated relationships  and family dynamics at the same time. In some cases, friendships  relied on technology  to stay afloat. And others needed to find new ways to connect amid  growing isolation . 

With this broader societal context in mind, this chapter explores the ways in which Americans’ lives changed in the pandemic – and the ways that technology was a part of several transitions. Results from the April 2021 Pew Research Center survey show that even as a majority of Americans considered the internet essential to them personally during the pandemic and four-in-ten used tech in new ways, some feel worn out or fatigued from video calls and a quarter feel less close to close family members than before the coronavirus outbreak. The following sections explore these findings. 

58% of adults say the internet has been essential during the pandemic, and for some groups, its importance grew over the past year

The share of Americans who describe the internet as essential for them during the pandemic has risen slightly over the past year. As of April 2021, 58% of U.S. adults say this,  compared with 53%  in an April 2020 Center survey. 

As of April 2021, nine-in-ten Americans say the internet has been essential or important to them personally during the coronavirus outbreak

Americans varied in their reliance on the internet and some of the key differences relate to age, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, income and community type. For example, roughly seven-in-ten adults ages 18 to 49 (69%) say the internet has been essential to them personally, compared with half of those ages 50 to 64 and about four-in-ten Americans 65 and older. 

Additionally, about six-in-ten of those living in urban or suburban areas (61% each) say the internet has been essential to them, compared with a smaller share of those living in rural locales (48%) who say the same. While at least half of adults across major racial and ethnic groups say this connectivity has been essential, Hispanic adults (65%) are more likely to say so than White adults (54%). Some 58% of Black Americans say the internet has been essential in this way.

Several of the groups that are less likely to say the internet has been essential also have lower rates of home broadband adoption and smartphone access, according to  other Center research . For example,  digital divides have persisted  in recent years even as Americans with lower incomes have made gains in tech adoption. And as of 2021, a quarter of U.S. adults 65 and older  say they do not use the internet .

Uptick in shares of adults ages 18 to 29, 65 and older who say the internet has been essential amid COVID-19

For some groups, the importance of the internet has grown over the past year – especially when it comes to age and educational attainment. The share of adults ages 18 to 29 who say it has been essential during the pandemic rose 10 percentage points between April 2020 and April 2021. Similarly, roughly four-in-ten adults 65 and older (38%) now say the internet has been essential to them, compared with about three-in-ten who said so in April 2020. 

Americans with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely today than a year ago to say the internet has been essential to them during the pandemic. For example, 71% of those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree say this, up from 65% in 2020. This uptick also appears for those with some college experience, while sentiments among those with a high school education or less have remained stable.

Looking at older Americans specifically, adults ages 65 and older with a bachelor’s degree or more education are more likely now to say the internet has been essential to them personally (50% say so) compared with a year ago (39%) – an 11 percentage point increase. By contrast, among those 65 and older who have less education, the shares saying it has been essential are similar between the two time points (27% in 2020 and 32% in 2021). 

Adults ages 50 to 64 with a bachelor’s or advanced degree are also more likely now to say the internet has been personally essential (a 7-point increase since 2020), while there has been no change for those in that age group with less formal education.

81% of Americans have used video calling and conferencing during the pandemic

As Americans increasingly lived their lives from home, video calling and conferencing platforms became a venue for everything from  celebrating holidays with family and friends  to conducting remote meetings or  visiting doctors . 

Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (81%) say they have talked with others via video calls since the beginning of the pandemic. One-in-five have done so about once a day or more often, including 12% who say they are on video calls several times a day. Another three-in-ten have done this about once a week (12%) or a few times a week (18%), and a similar share use video calls every few weeks (16%) or less often (15%).

81% of Americans have ever talked with others via video calls during the pandemic

While there are  many ways  people can spend their time on video calls, the survey finds that working from home is particularly associated with this type of screen time. 

In this survey, 17% of Americans say they were employed full or part time and working from home all or most of the time as of April. 7 Among them, 46% say they have used video calling about daily or several times a day during the pandemic. Another 12% of the full adult population was employed full or part time and working from home some of the time or rarely at the time of the survey. Among that group, 28% say they have used video calling about daily or more. And among the 28% of U.S. adults who were working but never from home, 13% say they are on daily or more frequent video calls. 

Aside from work-from-home status, how often people use video calls varies by several other demographics. Black and Hispanic adults are more likely to have used video calling than White adults. Hispanic adults are more likely than White Americans to have done so several times a day or about daily. Meanwhile, while about two-thirds of adults 65 and older have made video calls in the pandemic,  daily  use is more common among younger adults. About a quarter of those 18 to 29 (28%) and 30 to 49 (26%) say they have done this about daily or more often, compared with 16% of those 50 to 64 and 7% of adults 65 and older. 

Frequency of video calling varies by education as well. About a third of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree say they have done this at least once a day, compared with smaller shares of those with less formal education.

In their own words, Americans describe how they have used technology or the internet in new or different ways during the pandemic 

As the severity of the pandemic grew, some Americans were faced with performing everything from their social interactions to their work or schooling online. Four-in-ten Americans say they used digital technology or the internet in new or different ways compared with before the outbreak began. Still, an even larger share – 59% – say their tech use has not changed in this way.

When asked to describe in their own words how they’ve used technology in new or different ways, about four-in-ten mention video calls

As is the case with  digital divides in internet use  and  tech adoption  in general, those with more formal education and higher incomes are more likely to have had new or different experiences with tech in the pandemic. For example, 56% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree say they have used technology in ways new or different to them, compared with 37% of those with some college experience and 29% of those with a high school diploma or less. Similarly, 46% of those with higher household incomes say so, compared with a smaller share of those with lower (38%) or middle incomes (40%).

Women are also more likely than men to say they have used digital technology or the internet in new and different ways (43% vs. 36%), as are adults under 50 (46%) compared with those who are 50 and older (33%). 

When asked to describe what these new and different ways are, 43% mention encountering at least one form of video calls or conferences new to them in the pandemic. From weddings to funerals, church meetings to calls with family, some of these adults report their lives moved largely onto video platforms:

“We now hold bi-weekly family meetings on Zoom to make sure we are all doing okay. Before we just had individual phone calls with family members. We used Vimeo for my mother’s funeral so people could watch her funeral mass. She died of COVID-19. I used Zoom for work meetings.” – Woman, 57

“[I have had] Zoom meetings [and] Microsoft Teams meetings. [I’ve had] increased FaceTime family meetings. [I had] job interviews via the internet.” – Man, 46

“[I have been] teaching writing classes over Zoom [and I] dated someone over FaceTime for 3 months. [I] attended various online events.” – Woman, 24

While about a quarter of Americans who have used tech in new ways mention video calls generally, roughly one-in-ten (8%) referenced the remote work aspect of video conferencing specifically:

“Most of my work-related meetings are no longer in-person, but on Zoom or Teams. Instead of attending professional conferences in person, all of them are now virtual meetings. It took a bit to get comfortable with such drastic change.” – Man, 63

A similar share (8%) talk about using video calling to connect with family and friends, or attend social events or “video holidays”:

“It has opened me up to using video chat to connect with physically distanced friends. I have people that I used to only see on Facebook or in person two times a year but now we do a group video chat once a month and I am closer to them than ever.” – Woman, 39

Smaller shares discuss the move to online learning and the use of video platforms (5%) or using video calls for telehealth (4%):

“[I] had to learn how to use Google Classroom to help my son with his hybrid learning. I also did my first tele-visit with my GP doctor and I am disabled so it turns out I’ll be able to continue to use that technology once the pandemic is over to make it easier! … Not to mention, I’ve attended various social gatherings that, due to my disability, I wouldn’t have been able to attend under normal circumstances!” – Man, 28

Aside from video calls, 16% of Americans said they have used technology or the internet to obtain groceries, food or other essentials, or to perform services like banking or document signing:

“Shopping (especially groceries and home supplies) online through various different places, permanently eliminating the need to physically go to the grocery store for most shopping activities.” – Man, 42

“Ordering groceries, ordering tags for my car, doctor’s appointments, paying insurance premiums, paying bills and keeping in touch with family and friends.” – Woman, 78

In addition to those who mention remote work and online learning in the context of video calls, another 13% mention using technology in new ways for remote work and another 7% for online learning:

“Before the outbreak, I was the typical pen and paper type of middle school math teacher. After the outbreak, I have become a much more proficient virtual math teacher who has embraced many new platforms [that] have made my job easier. I have recently become fully vaccinated and returned to the brick and mortar school environment, but will maintain many of the new skills which I learned virtually.” – Man, 62

“We needed to get the internet for our granddaughter to be able to get her education while she’s home during the pandemic.” – Woman, 53

Others specifically note how they are now relying on the strength or quality of their connection in a new way:

“I upgraded my internet (was just using a hotspot previously) and for my work, I am connected all day through the workday. If the internet goes down, my ability to work at home decreases significantly. Before the work from home started, if I lost the ability to connect to the internet, it only affected me in terms of annoyance at not being able to surf the net.” – Woman, 50

Finally, other Americans have used social media and other technology for entertainment (7%), to keep up social interaction, especially on social media (5%), to find and search for information (4%), or attend online religious services or activities (3%). And their use of these digital technologies has sometimes changed over the course of the pandemic.

“I never really used Twitter before. Now I follow some important public health figures and medical doctors who are working for the CDC, etc., so I can be informed on what is going on with COVID-19 and treatment options.” – Woman, 53

“Pre-COVID-19 and even well into the pandemic, I was using the internet/my smartphone to spend countless hours on social media. Somewhere in there I deleted most of the social media apps from my phone and have been using it to read e-books and plan creative projects, mostly home improvements.” – Woman, 34

“I now attend church services online rather than in person, which I had not done before the outbreak.” – Man, 36

68% of Americans say digital interactions have been useful – but not a replacement for in-person connection

In late March 2020, as stay-at home orders upended American life, a  Center survey  asked U.S. adults to speculate on whether digital interactions – that is, everyday interactions that might have to be done online or by telephone because of recommended limits on social contact during the coronavirus outbreak – would be suitable replacement for in-person contact. At the time, about a quarter of Americans said digital encounters would be just as good (27%), and 8% believed that they wouldn’t be of much help. Some 64% said they would be useful, but not a replacement.

17% of Americans say digital interactions have been just as good as in-person contact; about two-thirds say these have been useful but not a replacement

In this new survey, Americans were asked to assess how digital encounters used to replace social contact have actually gone. When asked to think about everyday interactions that happened online or by telephone rather than in person, 17% say that these have been just as good as in-person contact. In line with Americans’ own expectations a year ago, the majority of Americans – 68% – say that interactions that have moved online or to the phone have been useful, but not a replacement for in-person. Some 15% say these interactions haven’t been of much use. 

Considering the more recent findings about people’s experiences, relatively small shares across demographic groups say these types of digital interactions have been just as good as in-person contact. Still, there are some small differences by race and ethnicity, age and formal educational attainment in this respect. Adults ages 18 to 29 were more skeptical than older adults in March 2020 – 21% said these interactions would be just as good as in-person contact, compared with a somewhat larger share (29%) of Americans 65 and older. In the new survey, some 23% of adults ages 18 to 29 say these interactions have been just as good as in-person contact, while a  smaller  share (12%) of those 65 and older who feel this way about the utility of their digital interactions. 

In March 2020, Black adults were more likely than White adults to think digital interactions would be just as good as in-person contact. Black and Hispanic adults are also more likely than White adults to say these interactions have been just as good in the new survey. At the same time, about another quarter of Black adults say that these digital interactions have not been of much use. Smaller shares of White and Hispanic adults say the same.

Both then and now, how useful Americans say these interactions have been also varies by educational attainment.

A quarter of Americans feel less close to close family members than before pandemic; about four-in-ten say the same about friends they know well

Some accounts of the pandemic  have lamented the potential loss of casual friendships and acquaintances as COVID-19 narrowed people’s social circles and family structures into smaller  bubbles . At the same time, some  living with friends or family members  may have faced increased time spent together as stay-at-home orders were imposed to combat COVID-19. Others  living alone  faced possible challenges of staying in touch with those close to them.

As of April, 25% of Americans say they feel less close to close family members compared with before the pandemic, and 53% say this about acquaintances

The new survey reveals that some people feel their social relationships and their connections to those in their personal networks have been in flux during the pandemic. About half of Americans (53%) say they feel less close to casual acquaintances compared with before the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in February 2020. Some 38% say the same about friends they know well. And a quarter of Americans say they now feel less close to close family members.

At the same time, about one fifth of adults (22%) say they feel  more close  to close family members than they did before the pandemic. Smaller shares say this about friends they know well and casual acquaintances. 

And despite the pandemic upheaval, about half say their relationships with close family members (53%) and friends they know well (47%) have stayed about as close as before, while roughly four-in-ten (41%) say this about casual acquaintances. 

White adults more likely than Black, Hispanic adults to report no change in the closeness of their family ties and friendships during the pandemic

Some groups are more likely to report change in the closeness of their relationships than others. Hispanic and Black adults are less likely than White adults to say the closeness of their relationships with close family and friends has stayed about the same compared with before the beginning of the pandemic. 

When it comes to close family members, similar shares of Hispanic adults say these relationships feel closer than before (30%) and less close than before (31%). Compared with White adults, they are also more likely to say they feel closer to close family, and friends they know well.

Americans with lower incomes particularly likely to say they feel less close to family members now than before the pandemic

Americans with lower incomes are also more likely than others to say they feel less close to close family members compared with before the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. About three-in-ten of those with lower incomes say so. At the same time, a fifth of Americans with lower incomes say they feel more close to close family, and 48% say they feel about as close to these family members as before the pandemic.

Adults ages 18 to 29 twice as likely as those 50 and older to say they feel closer with their friends than before the pandemic

There is little difference in how Americans in various age groups describe the pandemic’s impact on closeness of their family relationships. But when it comes to friends they know well, young adults ages 18 to 29 are more likely to say they now feel closer to these friends than those in any other age group. Still, only about a fifth (22%) of young adults say so.

Finally, small shares of adults across gender, racial and ethnic, age and income groups say they feel closer to casual acquaintances than they did before – no more than about one-in-ten across any of these groups. In each case, far larger shares say they feel less close now.

Women are slightly more likely than men to say they feel less close to acquaintances, as are Americans with lower incomes compared with those in the upper-income tier. Those who live in urban (57%) or suburban (54%) areas are more likely to say their relationships with casual acquaintances are less close now, compared with those who live in rural areas (46%).

Majorities say texts or group messaging apps, voice and video calls have helped them at least a little to stay connected to family and friends

71% of adults say text messages or group messaging apps have helped them at least a little to stay connected with family, friends during the pandemic

For some, technology became a way to stay in touch with others whom they could not visit in person since the pandemic began. About seven-in-ten Americans say text messages or group messaging apps have helped them personally to stay connected with their family and friends at least a little. Roughly six-in-ten or more say the same about voice (65%) and video calls (59%). Smaller shares say this about social media sites or email.

Americans’ reliance on technology early in the pandemic was apparent in several ways, from  using technology to communicate with others  to  hosting virtual gatherings . Over a year into the pandemic, results from the new survey show that key communications platforms have been more likely to be helpful for some groups than others. 

For each of the five technologies asked about in the survey, Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than White adults to say these technologies have helped them a lot to stay connected. For example, 58% of Hispanic adults say that text messages or group messaging apps have helped them a lot, personally, to stay connected with their family and friends. Some 49% of Black adults and a smaller share (39%) of White adults say the same. Voice calls have helped about half of Black and Hispanic adults a lot to stay in touch, compared with a third of White adults. Similar patterns hold for video calls, social media sites and email.

There are also differences by gender, with women being more likely than men to say that each of these technologies have helped them a lot to stay connected to friends and family.

Women, Black and Hispanic adults are particularly likely to say certain technologies have helped them a lot to stay connected with family, friends amid the pandemic

Adults ages 18 to 29 are more likely than those 65 and older to say video calls and social media sites have helped a lot in staying connected with family and friends.

The reverse is true for email: Some 28% of Americans 65 and older say that this has helped them a lot to stay in touch, compared with smaller shares of younger Americans. Those 65 and older are also more likely than those 30 to 64 to say voice calls have helped a lot. 

Other technologies – for example, text messages or group messaging apps – have been similarly helpful for Americans across age groups. Across age groups, four-in-ten or more Americans say these have helped a lot with staying in touch. 

36% of Americans say their personal lives changed in a major way

As context for this exploration of how people’s technology use and experiences were affected by the pandemic, the survey also asked Americans about the overall impact of the pandemic on their personal lives.

About a third of Americans say their personal lives changed in a major way as a result of the pandemic

Some 36% of Americans say their own personal life has changed in a major way as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Another 47% say their personal life has changed, but only a little bit. And 16% say that it has stayed about the same as it was before the outbreak. 

Women are somewhat more likely than men to say life has changed in a major way (39% vs. 33%), as are those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree (40%) compared with those with some college (35%) or a high school diploma or less formal education (34%). And Americans living in urban (41%) and suburban areas (37%) are more likely to say this than those living in rural areas (30%).

About half of those who say their personal lives have changed in a major way (52%) say they have used technology in new ways during the pandemic, compared with 38% of those who say their personal lives have changed a little bit and 19% of those who say life stayed about the same. At the same time, roughly seven-in-ten Americans reporting major changes in life (73%) or with more modest levels of change (69%) say digital interactions have been useful, but not a replacement for in-person interactions, compared with a smaller share among those who say their personal lives stayed about the same (52%). 

Those who say their lives stayed about the same are also more likely than others to say interactions they have had online or by phone instead of in person haven’t been of much use: 26% of these adults think these virtual interactions haven’t been useful, compared with smaller shares of those who say their personal lives changed a little bit (14%) or in a major way (11%).

About half or more of those whose personal lives changed in a major way say texts, messaging apps, voice calls have helped a lot for staying connected

At the same time, those who say their lives have changed in a major way are more likely to say each of the five technologies asked about in the survey helped a lot to keep them connected, compared with those who say their lives have changed a little or stayed about the same.

Among those who said their personal lives have changed in a major way, the shares who say text messages or group messaging apps, video calls or voice calls have helped a lot are roughly 20 points higher compared with those who say their lives stayed about the same. About half or more of those who say their personal lives have changed in a major way say text messages or group messaging apps (55%) or voice calls (49%) helped them a lot to stay connected with family and friends, and 40% say the same about video calls. 

Those who say their lives have changed in a major way are also more likely to say they now feel less close to close family members (35%) than those whose lives changed only a little (22%) or stayed about the same (9%). And about half (53%) of those with major change in this aspect of their life say their relationships with friends they know well are now less close.

The diminishing closeness of casual relationships is especially prominent for those whose personal lives COVID-19 changed profoundly – roughly seven-in-ten (69%) of adults with major change say that they now generally feel less close to casual acquaintances. By comparison, about a quarter (26%) of those whose personal lives stayed about the same say they feel less close to these acquaintances now.

40% of those who have used video calling during the pandemic feel worn out from such calls at least sometimes

As some Americans intensified their tech use and tried new online activities, there was a possibility that some might become “worn out” by this screen time – leading to a phenomenon commonly known as “Zoom fatigue” in the context of  personal  and  work-related  video calls. Some  accounts of the pandemic  also raised the question of whether Americans would try to purposefully “unplug” or otherwise manage their screen time, as many children and adults alike spent more time on their devices. 

About three-quarters of those who have been on video calls several times a day in the pandemic say they feel worn out or fatigued from this at least sometimes

Overall, among those who have used video calling during the pandemic, four-in-ten say they have often (13%) or sometimes (27%) felt worn out or fatigued from spending time on these calls. Looking at the population overall, one-third of all adults say that they feel worn out or fatigued from video calls often (11%) or sometimes (22%).

Reported fatigue increases with greater time spent on video calls. Fully 74% of those who have used video calling several times a day during the pandemic say this is the case at least sometimes, including 36% who say they feel worn out or fatigued often. About half or more of those who are on calls less often than this, but at least a few times a week, say the same. 

But even a portion of those who rarely use video calling report fatigue. About a quarter of those who have talked with others via video calls only every few weeks during the pandemic say they feel worn out at least sometimes.

The new survey shows that among those who’ve made video calls in the pandemic, there are differences in reported video call fatigue by age, formal educational attainment, and work-from-home status.

Young adults under 30 who have made video calls in the pandemic more likely than older users to say they are worn out, fatigued from spending time on calls

Among those who have made video calls, about six-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 say they feel worn out or fatigued from these calls at least sometimes. By comparison, 21% of those 65 and older say so. And about half of those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree report feeling this way at least sometimes, compared with 31% of those with a high school diploma or less.

Among pandemic video call users who work from home all or most of the time, some 65% say they feel worn out or fatigued at least sometimes from the time they spend on video calls. (A  separate Center study  conducted in October 2020 that used a different definition of remote work and call fatigue found that about four-in-ten teleworkers who used video conferencing often were worn out by the time spent on them, compared with 63% of that group who said they were generally fine with the amount of time spent on video calls.)

About half of adults under 30 have tried to cut back on the amount of time they spend on the internet or their smartphone during the pandemic

As many daily activities moved online, Americans’ reactions to increased screen time were not just limited to issues related to video calling. A third of adults also say in this survey that they have tried to cut back on the amount of time they were spending with screens – specifically on the internet or their smartphone – since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Fully 49% of adults ages 18 to 29 have tried to cut back on their screen time, compared with roughly four-in-ten of those ages 30 to 49. Smaller but notable shares of those 50 to 64 (27%) and 65 and older (19%) say they’ve tried cutting down. 

And Americans who use social media are more likely to say they’ve tried to cut back on screen time than those who don’t – an 8 percentage point gap.

Screen time issues also became  paramount for families and children  during the pandemic. The  next chapter  of this report discusses parents’ views on their children’s screen time, alongside other findings on the experiences of parents and children during the pandemic.

  • In October 2020, a  separate Center study  also asked about work and video calling. The estimates in this report should not be interpreted as changing over time due to the different sets of individuals asked the question in the two surveys and because the questions in each survey had different wording. ↩

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Social Interaction Vs Electronic Media Use

Karunaratne, Indika & Atukorale, Ajantha & Perera, Hemamali. (2011). Surveillance of human- computer interactions: A way forward to detection of users' Psychological Distress. 2011 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science and Engineering, CHUSER 2011. 10.1109/CHUSER.2011.6163779.

June 9, 2023 / 1 comment / Reading Time: ~ 12 minutes

The Digital Revolution: How Technology is Changing the Way We Communicate and Interact

This article examines the impact of technology on human interaction and explores the ever-evolving landscape of communication. With the rapid advancement of technology, the methods and modes of communication have undergone a significant transformation. This article investigates both the positive and negative implications of this digitalization. Technological innovations, such as smartphones, social media, and instant messaging apps, have provided unprecedented accessibility and convenience, allowing people to connect effortlessly across distances. However, concerns have arisen regarding the quality and authenticity of these interactions. The article explores the benefits of technology, including improved connectivity, enhanced information sharing, and expanded opportunities for collaboration. It also discusses potential negative effects including a decline in in-person interactions, a loss of empathy, and an increase in online anxiety. This article tries to expand our comprehension of the changing nature of communication in the digital age by exposing the many ways that technology has an impact on interpersonal interactions. It emphasizes the necessity of intentional and thoughtful communication techniques to preserve meaningful connections in a society that is becoming more and more reliant on technology.

Introduction:

Technology has significantly transformed our modes of communication and interaction, revolutionizing the way we connect with one another over the past few decades. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst, expediting this transformative process, and necessitating our exclusive reliance on digital tools for socializing, working, and learning. Platforms like social media and video conferencing have emerged in recent years, expanding our options for virtual communication. The impact of these changes on our lives cannot be ignored. In this article, we will delve into the ways in which technology has altered our communication and interaction patterns and explore the consequences of these changes for our relationships, mental well-being, and society.

To gain a deeper understanding of this topic, I have conducted interviews and surveys, allowing us to gather firsthand insights from individuals of various backgrounds. Additionally, we will compare this firsthand information with the perspectives shared by experts in the field. By drawing on both personal experiences and expert opinions, we seek to provide a comprehensive analysis of how technology influences our interpersonal connections. Through this research, we hope to get a deeper comprehension of the complex interactions between technology and people, enabling us to move mindfully and purposefully through the rapidly changing digital environment.

The Evolution of Communication: From Face-to-Face to Digital Connections:

In the realm of communication, we have various mediums at our disposal, such as face-to-face interactions, telephone conversations, and internet-based communication. According to Nancy Baym, an expert in the field of technology and human connections, face-to-face communication is often regarded as the most personal and intimate, while the phone provides a more personal touch than the internet. She explains this in her book Personal Connections in the Digital Age by stating, “Face-to-face is much more personal; phone is personal as well, but not as intimate as face-to-face… Internet would definitely be the least personal, followed by the phone (which at least has the vocal satisfaction) and the most personal would be face-to-face” (Baym 2015).  These distinctions suggest that different communication mediums are perceived to have varying levels of effectiveness in conveying emotion and building relationships. This distinction raises thought-provoking questions about the impact of technology on our ability to forge meaningful connections. While the internet offers unparalleled convenience and connectivity, it is essential to recognize its limitations in reproducing the depth of personal interaction found in face-to-face encounters. These limitations may be attributed to the absence of nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, which are vital elements in understanding and interpreting emotions accurately.

Traditionally, face-to-face interactions held a prominent role as the primary means of communication, facilitating personal and intimate connections. However, the rise of technology has brought about significant changes, making communication more convenient but potentially less personal. The rise of phones, instant messaging, and social media platforms has revolutionized how we connect with others. While these digital tools offer instant connectivity and enable us to bridge geographical distances, they introduce a layer of blockage that may impact the depth and quality of our interactions. It is worth noting that different communication mediums have their strengths and limitations. Phone conversations, for instance, retain a certain level of personal connection through vocal interactions, allowing for the conveyance of emotions and tones that text-based communication may lack. However, even with this advantage, phone conversations still fall short of the depth and richness found in face-to-face interactions, as they lack visual cues and physical presence.

Internet-based communication, on the other hand, is considered the least personal medium. Online interactions often rely on text-based exchanges, which may not fully capture the nuances of expression, tone, and body language. While the internet offers the ability to connect with a vast network of individuals and share information on a global scale, it may not facilitate the same depth and authenticity that in-person or phone conversations can provide. As a result, establishing meaningful connections and building genuine relationships in an online setting can be challenging. Research and observations support these ideas. Figure 1. titled “Social Interaction after Electronic Media Use,” shows the potential impact of electronic media on social interaction (source: ResearchGate). This research highlights the need to carefully consider the effects of technology on our interpersonal connections. While technology offers convenience and connectivity, it is essential to strike a balance, ensuring that we do not sacrifice the benefits of face-to-face interactions for the sake of digital convenience.

Social interaction vs. electronic media use: Hours per day of face-to-face social interaction declines as use of electronic media [6]. 

Figure 1:  Increased reliance on electronic media has led to a noticeable decrease in social interaction.

The Limitations and Effects of Digital Communication

In today’s digital age, the limitations and effects of digital communication are becoming increasingly evident. While the phone and internet offer undeniable benefits such as convenience and the ability to connect with people regardless of geographical distance, they fall short in capturing the depth and richness of a face-to-face conversation. The ability to be in the same physical space as the person we’re communicating with, observing their facial expressions, body language, and truly feeling their presence, is something unique and irreplaceable.

Ulrike Schultze, in her thought-provoking TED Talk titled “How Social Media Shapes Identity,” delves further into the impact of digital communication on our lives by stating, “we construct the technology, but the technology also constructs us. We become what technology allows us to become” (Schultze 2015). This concept highlights how our reliance on digital media for interaction has led to a transformation in how we express ourselves and relate to others.

The influence of social media has been profound in shaping our communication patterns and interpersonal dynamics. Research conducted by Kalpathy Subramanian (2017) examined the influence of social media on interpersonal communication, highlighting the changes it brings to the way we interact and express ourselves (Subramanian 2017). The study found that online communication often involves the use of abbreviations, emoticons, and hashtags, which have become embedded in our online discourse. These digital communication shortcuts prioritize speed and efficiency, but they also contribute to a shift away from the physical action of face-to-face conversation, where nonverbal cues and deeper emotional connections can be fostered.

Additionally, the study emphasizes the impact of social media on self-presentation and identity construction. With the rise of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, individuals have a platform to curate and present themselves to the world. This online self-presentation can influence how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us, potentially shaping our identities in the process. The study further suggests that the emphasis on self-presentation and the pressure to maintain a certain image on social media can lead to increased stress and anxiety among users.

Interviews:

I conducted interviews with individuals from different age groups to gain diverse perspectives on how technology and social media have transformed the way we connect with others. By exploring the experiences of a 21-year-old student and an individual in their 40s, we can better understand the evolving dynamics of interpersonal communication in the digital age. These interviews shed light on the prevalence of digital communication among younger generations, their preference for convenience, and the concerns raised by individuals from older age groups regarding the potential loss of deeper emotional connections.

When I asked the 21-year-old classmate about how technology has changed the way they interact with people in person, they expressed, “To be honest, I spend more time texting, messaging, or posting on social media than actually talking face-to-face with others. It’s just so much more convenient.” This response highlights the prevalence of digital communication among younger generations and their preference for convenience over traditional face-to-face interactions. It suggests that technology has significantly transformed the way young people engage with others, with a greater reliance on virtual interactions rather than in-person conversations. Additionally, the mention of convenience as a driving factor raises questions about the potential trade-offs in terms of depth and quality of interpersonal connections.

To gain insight from an individual in their 40s, I conducted another interview. When asked about their experiences with technology and social media, they shared valuable perspectives. They mentioned that while they appreciate the convenience and accessibility offered by technology, they also expressed concerns about its impact on interpersonal connections. They emphasized the importance of face-to-face interactions in building genuine relationships and expressed reservations about the potential loss of deeper emotional connections in digital communication. Additionally, they discussed the challenges of adapting to rapid technological advancements and the potential generational divide in communication preferences.

Comparing the responses from both interviews, it is evident that there are generational differences in the perception and use of technology for communication. While the 21-year-old classmate emphasized convenience as a primary factor in favor of digital communication, the individual in their 40s highlighted the importance of face-to-face interactions and expressed concerns about the potential loss of meaningful connections in the digital realm. This comparison raises questions about the potential impact of technology on the depth and quality of interpersonal relationships across different age groups. It also invites further exploration into how societal norms and technological advancements shape individuals’ preferences and experiences.

Overall, the interviews revealed a shift towards digital communication among both younger and older individuals, with varying perspectives. While convenience and connectivity are valued, concerns were raised regarding the potential drawbacks, including the pressure to maintain an idealized online presence and the potential loss of genuine connections. It is evident that technology and social media have transformed the way we communicate and interact with others, but the interviews also highlighted the importance of maintaining a balance and recognizing the value of face-to-face interactions in fostering meaningful relationships.

I have recently conducted a survey with my classmates to gather insights on how technology and social media have influenced communication and interaction among students in their daily lives. Although the number of responses is relatively small, the collected data allows us to gain a glimpse into individual experiences and perspectives on this matter.

One of the questions asked in the survey was how often students rely on digital communication methods, such as texting, messaging, or social media, in comparison to engaging in face-to-face conversations. The responses indicated a clear trend towards increased reliance on digital communication, with 85% of participants stating that they frequently use digital platforms as their primary means of communication. This suggests a significant shift away from traditional face-to-face interactions, highlighting the pervasive influence of technology in shaping our communication habits.

Furthermore, the survey explored changes in the quality of interactions and relationships due to the increased use of technology and social media. Interestingly, 63% of respondents reported that they had noticed a decrease in the depth and intimacy of their connections since incorporating more digital communication into their lives. Many participants expressed concerns about the difficulty of conveying emotions effectively through digital channels and the lack of non-verbal cues that are present in face-to-face interactions. It is important to note that while the survey results provide valuable insights into individual experiences, they are not representative of the entire student population. The small sample size limits the generalizability of the findings. However, the data collected does shed light on the potential impact of technology and social media on communication and interaction patterns among students.

Expanding on the topic, I found an insightful figure from Business Insider that sheds light on how people utilize their smartphones (Business Insider). Figure 2. illustrates the average smartphone owner’s daily time spent on various activities. Notably, communication activities such as texting, talking, and social networking account for a significant portion, comprising 59% of phone usage. This data reinforces the impact of digital communication on our daily lives, indicating the substantial role it plays in shaping our interactions with others.  Upon comparing this research with the data, I have gathered, a clear trend emerges, highlighting that an increasing number of individuals primarily utilize their smartphones for communication and interaction purposes.

Figure 2: The breakdown of daily smartphone usage among average users clearly demonstrates that the phone is primarily used for interactions.

The Digital Make Over:

In today’s digital age, the impact of technology on communication and interaction is evident, particularly in educational settings. As a college student, I have witnessed the transformation firsthand, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The convenience of online submissions for assignments has led to a growing trend of students opting to skip physical classes, relying on the ability to submit their work remotely. Unfortunately, this shift has resulted in a decline in face-to-face interactions and communication among classmates and instructors.

The decrease in physical attendance raises concerns about the potential consequences for both learning and social connections within the academic community. Classroom discussions, collaborative projects, and networking opportunities are often fostered through in-person interactions. By limiting these experiences, students may miss out on valuable learning moments, diverse perspectives, and the chance to establish meaningful connections with their peers and instructors.

Simon Lindgren, in his thought-provoking Ted Talk , “Media Are Not Social, but People Are,” delves deeper into the effects of technology and social media on our interactions. Lindgren highlights a significant point by suggesting that while technology may have the potential to make us better individuals, we must also recognize its potential pitfalls. Social media, for instance, can create filter bubbles that limit our exposure to diverse viewpoints, making us less in touch with reality and more narrow-minded. This cautionary reminder emphasizes the need to approach social media thoughtfully, seeking out diverse perspectives and avoiding the pitfalls of echo chambers. Furthermore, it is crucial to strike a balance between utilizing technology for educational purposes and embracing the benefits of in-person interactions. While technology undoubtedly facilitates certain aspects of education, such as online learning platforms and digital resources, we must not overlook the importance of face-to-face communication. In-person interactions allow for nuanced non-verbal cues, deeper emotional connections, and real-time engagement that contribute to a more comprehensive learning experience.

A study conducted by Times Higher Education delved into this topic, providing valuable insights. Figure 3. from the study illustrates a significant drop in attendance levels after the pandemic’s onset. Undeniably, technology played a crucial role in facilitating the transition to online learning. However, it is important to acknowledge that this shift has also led to a decline in face-to-face interactions, which have long been regarded as essential for effective communication and relationship-building. While technology continues to evolve and reshape the educational landscape, it is imperative that we remain mindful of its impact on communication and interaction. Striking a balance between digital tools and in-person engagement can help ensure that we leverage the benefits of technology while preserving the richness of face-to-face interactions. By doing so, we can foster a holistic educational experience that encompasses the best of both worlds and cultivates meaningful connections among students, instructors, and the academic community.

University class attendance plummets post-Covid | Times Higher Education (THE)

Figure 3:  This graph offers convincing proof that the COVID-19 pandemic and the extensive use of online submission techniques are to blame for the sharp reduction in in-person student attendance.

When asked about the impact of online submissions for assignments on physical attendance in classes, the survey revealed mixed responses. While 73% of participants admitted that the convenience of online submissions has led them to skip classes occasionally, 27% emphasized the importance of in-person attendance for better learning outcomes and social interactions. This finding suggests that while technology offers convenience, it also poses challenges in maintaining regular face-to-face interactions, potentially hindering educational and social development, and especially damaging the way we communicate and interact with one another. Students are doing this from a young age, and it comes into huge effect once they are trying to enter the work force and interact with others. When examining the survey data alongside the findings from Times Higher Education, striking similarities become apparent regarding how students approach attending classes in person with the overall conclusion being a massive decrease in students attending class which hinders the chance for real life interaction and communication. the convenience and instant gratification provided by technology can create a sense of detachment and impatience in interpersonal interactions. Online platforms allow for quick and immediate responses, and individuals can easily disconnect or switch between conversations. This can result in a lack of attentiveness and reduced focus on the person with whom one is communicating, leading to a superficial engagement that may hinder the establishment of genuine connections.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, the digital revolution has profoundly transformed the way we communicate and interact with one another. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this transformation, leading to increased reliance on digital tools for socializing, working, and learning. While technology offers convenience and connectivity, it also introduces limitations and potential drawbacks. The shift towards digital communication raises concerns about the depth and quality of our connections, as well as the potential loss of face-to-face interactions. However, it is essential to strike a balance between digital and in-person engagement, recognizing the unique value of physical presence, non-verbal cues, and deeper emotional connections that face-to-face interactions provide. By navigating the digital landscape with mindfulness and intentionality, we can harness the transformative power of technology while preserving and nurturing the essential elements of human connection.

Moving forward, it is crucial to consider the impact of technology on our relationships, mental well-being, and society. As technology continues to evolve, we must be cautious of its potential pitfalls, such as the emphasis on self-presentation, the potential for increased stress and anxiety, and the risk of forgetting how to interact in person. Striking a balance between digital and face-to-face interactions can help ensure that technology enhances, rather than replaces, genuine human connections. By prioritizing meaningful engagement, valuing personal interactions, and leveraging the benefits of technology without compromising the depth and quality of our relationships, we can navigate the digital revolution in a way that enriches our lives and fosters authentic connections.

References:

Ballve, M. (2013, June 5). How much time do we really spend on our smartphones every day? Business Insider. Retrieved April 27, 2023. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-time-do-we-spend-on-smartphones-2013-6

Baym, N. (2015). Personal Connections in the Digital Age (2nd ed.). Polity.

Karunaratne, Indika & Atukorale, Ajantha & Perera, Hemamali. (2011). Surveillance of human-       computer interactions: A way forward to detection of users’ Psychological Distress. 2011 IEEE Colloquium on Humanities, Science and Engineering, CHUSER 2011.             10.1109/CHUSER.2011.6163779.  https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Social-interaction-vs-electronic-media-use-Hours-per-day-of-face-to-face-social_fig1_254056654

Lindgren, S. (2015, May 20). Media are not social, but people are | Simon Lindgren | TEDxUmeå . YouTube. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ5S7VIWE6k

Ross, J., McKie, A., Havergal, C., Lem, P., & Basken, P. (2022, October 24). Class attendance plummets post-Covid . Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/class-attendance-plummets-post-covid

Schultze, U. (2015, April 23). How social media shapes identity | Ulrike Schultze | TEDxSMU . YouTube. Retrieved April 27, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSpyZor-Byk

Subramanian, Dr. K .R. “Influence of Social Media in Interpersonal Communication – Researchgate.” ResearchGate.Net , www.researchgate.net/profile/Kalpathy-Subramanian/publication/319422885_Influence_of_Social_Media_in_Interpersonal_Communication/links/59a96d950f7e9b2790120fea/Influence-of-Social-Media-in-Interpersonal-Communication.pdf. Accessed 12 May 2023 .

And So It Was Written

how has technology affected our lives essay

Author: Anonymous

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55 Ways Technology Has Changed Our Lives for the Better

By: Author Valerie Forgeard

Posted on September 18, 2023

Categories Technology

You’re living in an era of unprecedented technological advancement. It’s transformed how you communicate, care for your health, learn, and even do your daily chores. Isn’t it exciting to consider how much easier life has become?

This article delves into the ways technology has bettered our lives and dares to dream about what might be just around the corner.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital diplomacy and social media platforms have given ordinary people a global voice, shifting power dynamics and allowing for unprecedented connectivity.
  • Advancements in health and medicine, such as genetic engineering, AI diagnostics, and robotic surgery, have led to more precise and personalized treatments, giving patients more control over their health.
  • The transformation of education through digital tools, virtual field trips, and gamified learning has made learning more engaging, accessible, and immersive, breaking down traditional boundaries.
  • Technology has had a positive impact on daily lives, with smart homes, digital farming, wearable tech, and increased connectivity through social media platforms making life more efficient, convenient, and less stressful.

15 Ways Technology Has Uplifted Our Lives

In an era where technology is an inseparable part of our existence, it’s hard to imagine life without our digital companions. While there are debates on the negative impacts of technology, one can’t deny the substantial positive effects it has on our daily lives.

From healthcare advancements to simplifying mundane tasks, technology has indeed made our lives better in countless ways.

Here are 55 ways technology has unequivocally changed our lives for the better:

Communication

  • Instant Messaging – Quick and real-time chats.
  • Video Confering – Long-distance face-to-face conversations.
  • Social Media – A new level of connectivity and community.
  • Telemedicine – Remote medical consultations.
  • Wearable Fitness Tech – Real-time health tracking.
  • Genetic Testing – Customized healthcare and early diagnosis.

Convenience

  • Online Banking – Finances at your fingertips.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps – Convenient and cost-effective transportation.
  • E-commerce – The world’s marketplace in your pocket.

Information & Education

  • Search Engines – Instant information retrieval.
  • E-books & E-libraries – Portable and accessible knowledge.
  • Online Courses – Learning opportunities for everyone, everywhere.

Entertainment

  • Streaming Services – Entertainment on-demand.
  • Virtual Reality – Lifelike digital experiences.
  • Digital Art Platforms – Creative outlets for modern artists.

Productivity

  • Cloud Computing – Access your files from anywhere.
  • Project Management Software – Streamline team efforts.
  • Automated Customer Service – 24/7 support.

Home & Lifestyle

  • Smart Homes – Automated and personalized living spaces.
  • Food Delivery Apps – Gourmet meals at your door.
  • Online Dating – Meet your match from miles away.

Safety & Security

  • GPS Tracking – Never get lost.
  • Biometric Verification – Enhanced security measures.
  • Blockchain – Secure and transparent transactions.

Business & Economics

  • E-commerce Platforms – Small business empowerment.
  • Data Analytics – Informed decision-making.
  • Digital Marketing – Precise and scalable reach.

Social Good

  • Crowdfunding – Direct access to capital for startups and causes.
  • Online Petitions – Mass mobilization for change.
  • Translation Apps – Break down language barriers.

Environment

  • Electric Cars – A step towards sustainability.
  • Solar Panels – Clean energy for all.
  • Climate Modeling – Better preparedness for environmental challenges.

Scientific Research

  • Computer Simulations – Virtual laboratories for safe experimentation.
  • DNA Sequencing – Unveiling the blueprints of life.
  • Space Exploration – Unlocking the cosmos.

Travel & Exploration

  • Travel Aggregators – Customized itineraries.
  • Virtual Tours – Travel from the comfort of home.
  • Digital Maps – Interactive and up-to-date navigation.
  • Remote Work Tools – Work from anywhere.
  • Job Search Engines – Tailored career opportunities.
  • Freelance Platforms – Skill-based income sources.

Personal Development

  • Meditation Apps – Mindfulness at your fingertips.
  • Financial Planning Software – Secure your future.
  • DIY Platforms – Learn new skills and hobbies.

Specialized Fields

  • Agricultural Drones – Precision farming.
  • 3D Printing – From digital designs to physical products.
  • Augmented Reality – Enhanced interactive experiences.

Kids & Education

  • Educational Games – Learning made fun.
  • Parental Control Apps – Keep your children safe online.
  • Virtual Classrooms – Learning without borders.

Pets & Animal Care

  • Pet Tracking Devices – Keep tabs on your furry friends.
  • Automated Feeders – Timely nutrition for pets.
  • Online Vet Consultations – Professional care from home.

Miscellaneous

  • Voice Assistants – Hands-free help and information.

In a world that is continuously evolving, technology serves as a tool for progress, addressing complex problems and making our lives more enjoyable.

The Revolution of Communication Through Technology

You’ve probably noticed how technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, haven’t you? A perfect example is digital diplomacy. It’s an evolved form of international relations where states use social media platforms to connect with their citizens and other nations. You’re no longer confined by traditional media; you’re free to engage in global conversations instantly.

By observing social media influence, it’s clear that power dynamics are shifting; ordinary people now have a voice that can reach far and wide at lightning speed. But remember, this freedom isn’t without responsibility. The rapid dissemination of information demands critical thinking and discernment.

As we explore these technological wonders, let’s not forget about the strides made in health and medicine, another arena transformed by technology.

Technological Advancements in Health and Medicine

In the realm of health and medicine, there are incredible advancements that are prolonging life expectancy and improving patient care. The fusion of Genetic Engineering with Artificial Intelligence is unlocking new doors in healthcare innovation, offering an unprecedented level of freedom. Patients can now take control over their health.

Consider these four revolutionary developments:

  • Precision Medicine: Genetic engineering enables tailored treatments based on your unique genetic makeup.
  • AI Diagnostics: AI can analyze medical images faster and more accurately than humans.
  • Robotic Surgery: Surgeons use AI-powered robots for precise, minimally invasive procedures.
  • Genome Editing: Genetic diseases could soon be a thing of the past thanks to CRISPR technology.

How Technology Has Transformed Education

Education has been significantly transformed by the advent of digital tools, making learning more engaging and accessible than ever before. Imagine this: you’re stepping into the pyramids of Egypt or exploring Mars’ surface, all from your classroom through virtual field trips. It’s not science fiction; it’s a reality today. These tech advancements tear down traditional boundaries, empowering you to explore beyond your physical confines.

Similarly, gamified learning turns monotonous lessons into exciting challenges. You’re no longer memorizing facts; instead, you’re on an adventure quest where each level up means mastering a new concept. This immersive approach not only enhances retention but also fuels self-paced learning.

The Impact of Technology on Our Daily Lives

Consider this: you’re now living in an era where digital advancements have seeped into every aspect of your daily routine, transforming the way you interact with the world.

  • Smart Homes : Envision controlling your home’s appliances, lighting, and security systems right from your smartphone. It’s not a sci-fi movie; it’s reality.
  • Digital Farming : Imagine farmers utilizing data-driven insights to improve crop yields and reduce waste – that’s digital farming for you.
  • Healthcare : Wearable tech is helping monitor vital signs in real time, revolutionizing healthcare.
  • Communication : Social media platforms provide unprecedented connectivity.

These aren’t just conveniences; they’re radical shifts freeing up time and resources, making life more efficient and less stressful.

Future Prospects: How Technology Will Continue to Improve Our Lives

You’re probably wondering what’s next on the horizon as advancements continue to redefine our daily routines and expectations.

Imagine this: Smart Homes that not only respond to your commands but anticipate your needs, learning from your habits to create a living space that’s uniquely tailored to you.

Think of an autonomous vehicle that understands your schedule, ready to chauffeur you around at a moment’s notice, liberating you from the constraints of public transport or even the need for personal car ownership.

Such advancements are not mere science fiction; they’re becoming our reality and will continue to revolutionize how we live.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the negative impacts of technology on our society.

Certainly, technology is a double-edged sword. On one side, it has revolutionized our world, making life more convenient and efficient. On the flip side, it has introduced a new set of challenges including potential technology addiction. Excessive screen time can impinge on physical health and real-world social interactions. Furthermore, the digital divide exacerbates existing inequalities, as those without access to technology find themselves increasingly marginalized.

How Has Technology Contributed to Environmental Degradation?

The environmental cost of technology is alarming. From resource-intensive manufacturing processes to the challenge of electronic waste disposal, technology contributes to environmental stress. Practices like unsustainable mining for rare earth minerals and the carbon footprint of data centers should be part of any discussion about the environmental impact of technology.

What Are Some Common Privacy Concerns Related to the Use of Technology?

Privacy has become a major concern in the age of technology. Issues range from data breaches to unauthorized data collection by corporations and potential governmental surveillance. Implementing strong cybersecurity measures and being discerning about the personal information you share online are more crucial than ever.

How Can Technology Contribute to Social Isolation?

Ironically, while technology has the power to connect us globally, it can also isolate us from our immediate surroundings. The convenience of online interactions can sometimes make them replace in-person socialization, contributing to feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Striking a balance by consciously allocating time for offline interactions can help mitigate this effect.

What Are the Potential Risks and Challenges Associated With Relying Heavily on Technology?

Over-dependence on technology brings its own set of risks. Not only does it make us vulnerable to digital addiction, but it also increases our exposure to cybersecurity threats such as hacking and identity theft. It’s essential to exercise digital prudence by maintaining updated security software and employing best practices in data protection to ensure that our reliance on technology doesn’t compromise our freedom or well-being.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Technology on Your Life

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How to Use Strava’s Beacon Feature to Share Your Location While Exercising

How to use strava’s goals feature to stay motivated, 7 things we love about the wellness coach app.

Technology is around us everywhere, from simple devices like our smartphones, laptop, and TV to background tech that we don't even notice. It isn't going anywhere anytime soon, meaning we have to get accustomed to it. Once we get the hang of using tech the right way, it can improve our lives.

On the other hand, tech can also make our lives harder. Whether tech has a positive or negative effect on our lives, it all depends on how we use it. So, let's look at some of the positive and negative aspects of technology in our lives, shall we?

Positives of Technology in Our Lives

Technology has, without a doubt, made all our lives easier over the past two decades. From connecting with people across the globe from the comfort of your home to running a full-fledged business without a physical space, technology has impacted our lives positively in several ways. So, read on below:

1. Technology Boosts Business

table of people using laptops and shaking hands

Many new tech advancements and innovations are made by and for businesses. Why? Because companies are always looking to upgrade their products and services for profit.

New technology continues to come out faster than we can keep up with. The purpose is to boost business and make the daily management of enterprises more systematic, structured, and successful.

Tech has boosted businesses by improving the hiring process, error-free collection and analysis of business data, and better communication with clients and partners.

Additionally, tech has also changed the way we work remotely for the better. It is now commonplace for people to work from home. However, certain tech, like the cloud, has made it easier than ever to work whether you're at the office or not.

What's more, tech has made it effortless to communicate remotely too. Businesses now typically use tools like Slack and Zoom on a regular basis.

2. Technology Makes Shopping Online Possible

Declutter website home page

Advancements in tech have made it easier for more people to access the internet, resulting in online shopping being more popular now than ever.

Currently, most people prefer to shop online without leaving the house because of its sheer convenience. Instead of wasting hours in the shopping mall, tech makes shopping simple.

A few of the benefits of online shopping include cheaper products, saved time, fuel, and energy, easier-to-find items, a wider variety online, and no added pressure.

Amazon is a great website to do basically all of your online shopping. It's one of the most popular online shopping platforms because you can practically find everything you're looking for, from groceries to clothing.

Generous discounts, cheap shipping, and a massive selection of products are just some of the other excellent benefits of shopping online using Amazon. What's more, there is an Amazon Shopping mobile app that you can download and use for free. If Amazon isn't available to you there are plenty of alternatives to Amazon for your online shopping .

Download: Amazon Shopping for iOS | Android

3. Technology Has Advanced Education

Udemy website home page

One of the most downplayed areas of technology that has dramatically improved over the past few years is education. Technology has definitely been beneficial for those in the business world, but it has impacted education in a big way.

A few examples include the availability of online courses, accessibility of web seminars, and unlimited online resources for research. Before tech, you'd have to physically go to class, attend a meeting or go to the library to do research.

Now, education is easier for everyone, no matter where you live. Online classes have made it possible for all students to enroll without leaving their homes.

Today, you can find several great sites for free college courses online , such as Udemy—a fantastic website that offers thousands of free and paid-for courses to choose from. Whether you want to create virtual reality games or become a yoga instructor, Udemy has a course that's perfect for you.

In terms of technology, Udemy also offers a wide variety of great tech-related online courses. The categories available range from IT hardware and software to operating systems and network and security. So tech can help you master your chosen path and possibly broaden your career opportunities.

4. Technology Makes Everyday Life Better

Person driving car with large screen interface

Most technology these days is created to improve businesses and generate profit. However, tech can also make our daily lives so much better.

Tech has made an immensely positive impact on the daily lives of everyday people. Some positive examples include improvements in the transportation system.

The Bullet Train is an amazing piece of tech that can travel six times faster than a regular train. Think about the introduction of self-driving cars, too: they were unheard of a few years ago, and now they're a reality.

A fair amount of people drive Teslas, and they are well-known for having state-of-the-art self-driving capabilities. Some other companies that support autonomous driving capabilities besides Tesla are Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

Besides transportation, technology has also had a positive influence on household items. For example, smart homes are now commonplace. Smart hubs allow households to connect their devices and appliances, making life a lot easier.

Negatives of Technology in Our Lives

As much as we appreciate technology for the convenience it brought to our lives, several aspects of it have impacted our society negatively in more ways than one.

1. Technology Causes Health Problems

Focus Keeper break timer

As technology advances, we are connected now more than ever, and it has become a huge part of our lives. That's why it's possible for technology to impact our physical health negatively.

These physical health problems can be severe. Nevertheless, you can avoid most of them by creating healthy tech habits instead of bad ones.

Apart from creating unhealthy sleeping patterns, electronic devices can cause digital eye strain, poor posture, and increased inactivity, leading to health problems like obesity.

Taking regular breaks from these devices can help you avoid these health problems. You can find a range of apps that remind you to take frequent breaks.

One popular app to use is called Focus Keeper. This app will help you reduce your digital eye strain, take regular breaks, and prevent tech burnout.

Using the Focus Keeper app is easy. All you have to do is pick the time you want to focus on something and hit the play button to start the session. When the session is over there is a quick break and then the next session begins.

In addition, you can customize the settings under Options to change the sessions per round, daily focus goal, and timer sounds.

Download: Focus Keeper for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)

2. Technology Creates Job Insecurity

Robotic hand reaching for human hand

Job loss and downsizing are two significant adverse effects of technology. Because of advances in the tech field such as AI integration, automating and accomplishing tasks have become easy.

In this day and age, most companies need to stay up to date with the latest technology, but in the process, low-skilled employees, like factory workers and cashiers, will be replaced.

Machines can now carry out tasks that only humans could do so far, which creates a massive shortage of jobs. The bottom line is that people aren't necessarily needed for work tasks anymore because of how efficient tech has become.

3. Tech Products Lack Longevity

Technology grows incredibly quickly, so the digital devices and gadgets that we use have a short lifespan and become outdated in a matter of months.

Since these devices are so important in our daily lives, we need to maintain and upgrade them regularly. Besides maintenance and upgrades, these pieces of tech may just become outdated and pushed aside by newer, more advanced versions.

Tech products lack longevity, so they can be costly and lead to unnecessary e-waste. Instead of throwing your older devices away or tossing them in the cupboard, use a website like Decluttr . This site makes it easy to buy and sell your used tech online.

You can sell your old tech on the Decluttr website, whether you want to get rid of your outdated phone, wearable, or console.

When you've found the correct category and product, tap Sell Now and the website gives you an instant price based on its carrier and condition. Moreover, Decluttr is also available as a free iOS or Android app to help you declutter your life .

4. Technology Spawns Misinformation and Fake News

credder website home page

The spread of misinformation and fake news online is nothing new. In fact, it has been going on for many years. However, with all the developments that happen so frequently in technology, it has become harder to define what's true and what's not.

Since so many people cannot tell what information is factual and what isn't, it creates a lot of skepticism and misunderstanding about important topics. This can be especially harmful when it comes to political issues and trusting the media.

One example of how tech advancements are negatively affecting us is the use of deepfakes. Several negative deepfake incidents have surfaced, and it's getting harder and harder to spot them.

These incidents can warn us about the possible risk of tech in the future. If you're finding it difficult to spot fake news and misinformation , an online platform like Credder is a great tool to use.

Credder will help you avoid fake news and misinformation because it only follows news and information provided by trustworthy sources.

Technology Is a Boon and Bane to Society

Overall, tech is amazing, and it has changed the world for the better, from improving our daily lives to building better businesses. The majority of the adverse effects of technology stem from its misuse.

The way we choose to utilize tech can help or harm ourselves and others. Instead of blaming the tool, we need to use technology in a healthy, more disciplined way. By doing this, technology can continue to benefit our lives.

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Technology over the long run: zoom out to see how dramatically the world can change within a lifetime

It is easy to underestimate how much the world can change within a lifetime. considering how dramatically the world has changed can help us see how different the world could be in a few years or decades..

Technology can change the world in ways that are unimaginable until they happen. Switching on an electric light would have been unimaginable for our medieval ancestors. In their childhood, our grandparents would have struggled to imagine a world connected by smartphones and the Internet.

Similarly, it is hard for us to imagine the arrival of all those technologies that will fundamentally change the world we are used to.

We can remind ourselves that our own future might look very different from the world today by looking back at how rapidly technology has changed our world in the past. That’s what this article is about.

One insight I take away from this long-term perspective is how unusual our time is. Technological change was extremely slow in the past – the technologies that our ancestors got used to in their childhood were still central to their lives in their old age. In stark contrast to those days, we live in a time of extraordinarily fast technological change. For recent generations, it was common for technologies that were unimaginable in their youth to become common later in life.

The long-run perspective on technological change

The big visualization offers a long-term perspective on the history of technology. 1

The timeline begins at the center of the spiral. The first use of stone tools, 3.4 million years ago, marks the beginning of this history of technology. 2 Each turn of the spiral represents 200,000 years of history. It took 2.4 million years – 12 turns of the spiral – for our ancestors to control fire and use it for cooking. 3

To be able to visualize the inventions in the more recent past – the last 12,000 years – I had to unroll the spiral. I needed more space to be able to show when agriculture, writing, and the wheel were invented. During this period, technological change was faster, but it was still relatively slow: several thousand years passed between each of these three inventions.

From 1800 onwards, I stretched out the timeline even further to show the many major inventions that rapidly followed one after the other.

The long-term perspective that this chart provides makes it clear just how unusually fast technological change is in our time.

You can use this visualization to see how technology developed in particular domains. Follow, for example, the history of communication: from writing to paper, to the printing press, to the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, all the way to the Internet and smartphones.

Or follow the rapid development of human flight. In 1903, the Wright brothers took the first flight in human history (they were in the air for less than a minute), and just 66 years later, we landed on the moon. Many people saw both within their lifetimes: the first plane and the moon landing.

This large visualization also highlights the wide range of technology’s impact on our lives. It includes extraordinarily beneficial innovations, such as the vaccine that allowed humanity to eradicate smallpox , and it includes terrible innovations, like the nuclear bombs that endanger the lives of all of us .

What will the next decades bring?

The red timeline reaches up to the present and then continues in green into the future. Many children born today, even without further increases in life expectancy, will live well into the 22nd century.

New vaccines, progress in clean, low-carbon energy, better cancer treatments – a range of future innovations could very much improve our living conditions and the environment around us. But, as I argue in a series of articles , there is one technology that could even more profoundly change our world: artificial intelligence (AI).

One reason why artificial intelligence is such an important innovation is that intelligence is the main driver of innovation itself. This fast-paced technological change could speed up even more if it’s driven not only by humanity’s intelligence but also by artificial intelligence. If this happens, the change currently stretched out over decades might happen within a very brief time span of just a year. Possibly even faster. 4

I think AI technology could have a fundamentally transformative impact on our world. In many ways, it is already changing our world, as I documented in this companion article . As this technology becomes more capable in the years and decades to come, it can give immense power to those who control it (and it poses the risk that it could escape our control entirely).

Such systems might seem hard to imagine today, but AI technology is advancing quickly. Many AI experts believe there is a real chance that human-level artificial intelligence will be developed within the next decades, as I documented in this article .

legacy-wordpress-upload

Technology will continue to change the world – we should all make sure that it changes it for the better

What is familiar to us today – photography, the radio, antibiotics, the Internet, or the International Space Station circling our planet – was unimaginable to our ancestors just a few generations ago. If your great-great-great grandparents could spend a week with you, they would be blown away by your everyday life.

What I take away from this history is that I will likely see technologies in my lifetime that appear unimaginable to me today.

In addition to this trend towards increasingly rapid innovation, there is a second long-run trend. Technology has become increasingly powerful. While our ancestors wielded stone tools, we are building globe-spanning AI systems and technologies that can edit our genes.

Because of the immense power that technology gives those who control it, there is little that is as important as the question of which technologies get developed during our lifetimes. Therefore, I think it is a mistake to leave the question about the future of technology to the technologists. Which technologies are controlled by whom is one of the most important political questions of our time because of the enormous power these technologies convey to those who control them.

We all should strive to gain the knowledge we need to contribute to an intelligent debate about the world we want to live in. To a large part, this means gaining knowledge and wisdom on the question of which technologies we want.

Acknowledgments: I would like to thank my colleagues Hannah Ritchie, Bastian Herre, Natasha Ahuja, Edouard Mathieu, Daniel Bachler, Charlie Giattino, and Pablo Rosado for their helpful comments on drafts of this essay and the visualization. Thanks also to Lizka Vaintrob and Ben Clifford for the conversation that initiated this visualization.

Appendix: About the choice of visualization in this article

The recent speed of technological change makes it difficult to picture the history of technology in one visualization. When you visualize this development on a linear timeline, then most of the timeline is almost empty, while all the action is crammed into the right corner:

Linear version of the spiral chart

In my large visualization here, I tried to avoid this problem and instead show the long history of technology in a way that lets you see when each technological breakthrough happened and how, within the last millennia, there was a continuous acceleration of technological change.

The recent speed of technological change makes it difficult to picture the history of technology in one visualization. In the appendix, I show how this would look if it were linear.

It is, of course, difficult to assess when exactly the first stone tools were used.

The research by McPherron et al. (2010) suggested that it was at least 3.39 million years ago. This is based on two fossilized bones found in Dikika in Ethiopia, which showed “stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access”. These marks were interpreted as being caused by meat consumption and provide the first evidence that one of our ancestors, Australopithecus afarensis, used stone tools.

The research by Harmand et al. (2015) provided evidence for stone tool use in today’s Kenya 3.3 million years ago.

References:

McPherron et al. (2010) – Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia . Published in Nature.

Harmand et al. (2015) – 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya . Published in Nature.

Evidence for controlled fire use approximately 1 million years ago is provided by Berna et al. (2012) Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa , published in PNAS.

The authors write: “The ability to control fire was a crucial turning point in human evolution, but the question of when hominins first developed this ability still remains. Here we show that micromorphological and Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (mFTIR) analyses of intact sediments at the site of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa, provide unambiguous evidence—in the form of burned bone and ashed plant remains—that burning took place in the cave during the early Acheulean occupation, approximately 1.0 Ma. To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest secure evidence for burning in an archaeological context.”

This is what authors like Holden Karnofsky called ‘Process for Automating Scientific and Technological Advancement’ or PASTA. Some recent developments go in this direction: DeepMind’s AlphaFold helped to make progress on one of the large problems in biology, and they have also developed an AI system that finds new algorithms that are relevant to building a more powerful AI.

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Technology to defeat Ebola

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The Internet has turned our existence upside down. It has revolutionized communications, to the extent that it is now our preferred medium of everyday communication. In almost everything we do, we use the Internet. Ordering a pizza, buying a television, sharing a moment with a friend, sending a picture over instant messaging. Before the Internet, if you wanted to keep up with the news, you had to walk down to the newsstand when it opened in the morning and buy a local edition reporting what had happened the previous day. But today a click or two is enough to read your local paper and any news source from anywhere in the world, updated up to the minute.

The Internet itself has been transformed. In its early days—which from a historical perspective are still relatively recent—it was a static network designed to shuttle a small freight of bytes or a short message between two terminals; it was a repository of information where content was published and maintained only by expert coders. Today, however, immense quantities of information are uploaded and downloaded over this electronic leviathan, and the content is very much our own, for now we are all commentators, publishers, and creators.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the Internet widened in scope to encompass the IT capabilities of universities and research centers, and, later on, public entities, institutions, and private enterprises from around the world. The Internet underwent immense growth; it was no longer a state-controlled project, but the largest computer network in the world, comprising over 50,000 sub-networks, 4 million systems, and 70 million users.

The emergence of  web 2.0  in the first decade of the twenty-first century was itself a revolution in the short history of the Internet, fostering the rise of social media and other interactive, crowd-based communication tools.

The Internet was no longer concerned with information exchange alone: it was a sophisticated multidisciplinary tool enabling individuals to create content, communicate with one another, and even escape reality. Today, we can send data from one end of the world to the other in a matter of seconds, make online presentations, live in parallel “game worlds,” and use pictures, video, sound, and text to share our real lives, our genuine identity. Personal stories go public; local issues become global.

The rise of the Internet has sparked a debate about how online communication affects social relationships. The Internet frees us from geographic fetters and brings us together in topic-based communities that are not tied down to any specific place. Ours is a networked, globalized society connected by new technologies. The Internet is the tool we use to interact with one another, and accordingly poses new challenges to privacy and security.

Information technologies have wrought fundamental change throughout society, driving it forward from the industrial age to the networked era. In our world, global information networks are vital infrastructure—but in what ways has this changed human relations? The Internet has changed business, education, government, healthcare, and even the ways in which we interact with our loved ones—it has become one of the key drivers of social evolution.

The changes in social communication are of particular significance. Although analogue tools still have their place in some sectors, new technologies are continuing to gain ground every day, transforming our communication practices and possibilities—particularly among younger people. The Internet has removed all communication barriers. Online, the conventional constraints of space and time disappear and there is a dizzyingly wide range of communicative possibilities. The impact of social media applications has triggered discussion of the “new communication democracy.”

The development of the Internet today is being shaped predominantly by instant, mobile communications. The mobile Internet is a fresh revolution. Comprehensive Internet connectivity via smartphones and tablets is leading to an increasingly mobile reality: we are not tied to any single specific device, and everything is in the cloud.

People no longer spend hours gazing at a computer screen after work or class; instead, they use their mobile devices to stay online everywhere, all the time.

Anyone failing to keep abreast of this radical change is losing out on an opportunity.

Communication Opportunities Created by the Internet

The Internet has become embedded in every aspect of our day-to-day lives, changing the way we interact with others. This insight struck me when I started out in the world of social media. I created my first social network in 2005, when I was finishing college in the United States—it had a political theme. I could already see that social media were on the verge of changing our way of communicating, helping us to share information by opening up a new channel that cuts across conventional ones.

That first attempt did not work out, but I learned from the experience.I get the feeling that in many countries failure is punished too harshly—but the fact is, the only surefire way of avoiding failure is to do nothing at all. I firmly believe that mistakes help you improve; getting it wrong teaches you how to get it right. Creativity, hard work, and a positive attitude will let you achieve any goal.

In 2006, after I moved to Spain, I created Tuenti. Tuenti (which, contrary to widespread belief, has nothing to do with the number 20; it is short for “tu entidad,” the Spanish for “your entity”) is a social communication platform for genuine friends. From the outset, the idea was to keep it simple, relevant, and private. That’s the key to its success.

I think the real value of social media is that you can stay in touch from moment to moment with the people who really matter to you. Social media let you share experiences and information; they get people and ideas in touch instantly, without frontiers. Camaraderie, friendship, and solidarity—social phenomena that have been around for as long as humanity itself—have been freed from the conventional restrictions of space and time and can now thrive in a rich variety of ways.

Out of all the plethora of communication opportunities that the Internet has opened up, I would highlight the emergence of social media and the way they have intricately melded into our daily lives. Social media have changed our personal space, altering the way we interact with our loved ones, our friends, and our sexual partners; they have forced us to rethink even basic daily processes like studying and shopping; they have affected the economy by nurturing the business startup culture and electronic commerce; they have even given us new ways to form broad-based political movements.

The Internet and Education

The Internet has clearly impacted all levels of education by providing unbounded possibilities for learning. I believe the future of education is a networked future. People can use the Internet to create and share knowledge and develop new ways of teaching and learning that captivate and stimulate students’ imagination at any time, anywhere, using any device. By connecting and empowering students and educators, we can speed up economic growth and enhance the well-being of society throughout the world. We should work together, over a network, to build the global learning society.

The network of networks is an inexhaustible source of information. What’s more, the Internet has enabled users to move away from their former passive role as mere recipients of messages conveyed by conventional media to an active role, choosing what information to receive, how, and when. The information recipient even decides whether or not they want to stay informed.

We have moved on from scattergun mass communication to a pattern where the user proactively selects the information they need.

Students can work interactively with one another, unrestricted by physical or time constraints. Today, you can use the Internet to access libraries, encyclopedias, art galleries, news archives, and other information sources from anywhere in the world: I believe this is a key advantage in the education field. The web is a formidable resource for enhancing the process of building knowledge.

I also believe the Internet is a wonderful tool for learning and practicing other languages—this continues to be a critical issue in many countries, including Spain, and, in a globalized world, calls for special efforts to improve.

The Internet, in addition to its communicative purposes, has become a vital tool for exchanging knowledge and education; it is not just an information source, or a locus where results can be published, it is also a channel for cooperating with other people and groups who are working on related research topics.

The Internet and Privacy and Security

Another key issue surrounding Internet use is privacy. Internet users are becoming more sensitive to the insight that privacy is a must-have in our lives.

Privacy has risen near the top of the agenda in step with an increasing awareness of the implications of using social media. Much of the time, people started to use social media with no real idea of the dangers, and have wised up only through trial and error—sheer accident, snafus, and mistakes. Lately, inappropriate use of social media seems to hit the headlines every day. Celebrities posting inappropriate comments to their profiles, private pictures and tapes leaked to the Internet at large, companies displaying arrogance toward users, and even criminal activities involving private-data trafficking or social media exploitation.

All this shows that—contrary to what many people seem to have assumed—online security and privacy are critical, and, I believe, will become even more important going forward. And, although every user needs privacy, the issue is particularly sensitive for minors—despite attempts to raise their awareness, children still behave recklessly online.

I have always been highly concerned about privacy. On Tuenti, the default privacy setting on every user account is the highest available level of data protection. Only people the user has accepted as a “friend” can access their personal details, see their telephone number, or download their pictures. This means that, by default, user information is not accessible to third parties. In addition, users are supported by procedures for reporting abuse. Any user can report a profile or photograph that is abusive, inappropriate, or violates the terms of use: action is taken immediately. Security and privacy queries are resolved within 24 hours.

We need to be aware that different Internet platforms provide widely different privacy experiences. Some of them are entirely open and public; no steps whatsoever are taken to protect personal information, and all profiles are indexable by Internet search engines.

On the other hand, I think the debate about whether social media use should be subject to an age requirement is somewhat pointless, given that most globally active platforms operate without age restrictions. The European regulatory framework is quite different from the United States and Asian codes. Companies based in Europe are bound by rigorous policies on privacy and underage use of social media. This can become a competitive drawback when the ground rules do not apply equally to all players—our American and Japanese competitors, for instance, are not required to place any kind of age constraint on access.

Outside the scope of what the industry or regulators can do, it is vital that users themselves look after the privacy of their data. I believe the information is the user’s property, so the user is the only party entitled to control the collection, use, and disclosure of any information about him or herself. Some social networks seem to have forgotten this fact—they sell data, make it impossible to delete an account, or make it complex and difficult to manage one’s privacy settings. Everything should be a lot simpler and more transparent.

Social networks should continue to devote intense efforts to developing self-regulation mechanisms and guidelines for this new environment of online coexistence to ensure that user information is safe: the Internet should be a space for freedom, but also for trust. The main way of ensuring that social media are used appropriately is awareness. But awareness and user education will be of little use unless it becomes an absolute requirement that the privacy of the individual is treated as a universal value.

The Internet and Culture

As in the sphere of education, the development of information and communication technologies and the wide-ranging effects of globalization are changing what we are, and the meaning of cultural identity. Ours is a complex world in which cultural flows across borders are always on the rise. The concepts of space, time, and distance are losing their conventional meanings. Cultural globalization is here, and a global movement of cultural processes and initiatives is underway.

Again, in the cultural arena, vast fields of opportunity open up thanks to online tools. The possibilities are multiplied for disseminating a proposal, an item of knowledge, or a work of art. Against those doomsayers who warn that the Internet is harming culture, I am radically optimistic. The Internet is bringing culture closer to more people, making it more easily and quickly accessible; it is also nurturing the rise of new forms of expression for art and the spread of knowledge. Some would say, in fact, that the Internet is not just a technology, but a cultural artifact in its own right.

In addition to its impact on culture itself, the Internet is enormously beneficial for innovation, which brings progress in all fields of endeavor—the creation of new goods, services, and ideas, the advance of knowledge and society, and increasing well-being.

The Internet and Personal Relationships

The Internet has also changed the way we interact with our family, friends, and life partners. Now everyone is connected to everyone else in a simpler, more accessible, and more immediate way; we can conduct part of our personal relationships using our laptops, smart phones, and tablets.

The benefits of always-online immediate availability are highly significant. I would find a long-distance relationship with my life partner or my family unthinkable without the communication tools that the network of networks provides me with. I’m living in Madrid, but I can stay close to my brother in California. For me, that is the key plus of the Internet: keeping in touch with the people who really matter to me.

As we have seen, the Internet revolution is not just technological; it also operates at a personal level, and throughout the structure of society. The Internet makes it possible for an unlimited number of people to communicate with one another freely and easily, in an unrestricted way.

Just a century ago, this was unimaginable. An increasing number of couples come together, stay together, or break up with the aid—or even as a consequence—of social communication tools. There are even apps and social networks out there that are purposely designed to help people get together for sex.

Of course, when compared to face-to-face communication, online communication is severely limited in the sense impressions it can convey (an estimated 60 to 70 percent of human communication takes place nonverbally), which can lead to misunderstandings and embarrassing situations—no doubt quite a few relationships have floundered as a result. I think the key is to be genuine, honest, and real at all times, using all the social media tools and their many advantages. Let’s just remember that a liar and a cheat online is a liar and a cheat offline too.

The Internet and Social and Political Activism

Even before the emergence of social media, pioneering experiments took place in the political sphere—like  Essembly , a project I was involved in. We started to create a politically themed platform to encourage debate and provide a home for social and political causes; but the social networks that have later nurtured activism in a new way were not as yet in existence.

Research has shown that young people who voice their political opinions on the Internet are more inclined to take part in public affairs. The better informed a citizen is, the more likely they will step into the polling booth, and the better they will express their political liberties. The Internet has proved to be a decisive communication tool in the latest election campaigns. It is thanks to the Internet that causes in the social, welfare, ideological, and political arenas have been spoken up for and have won the support of other citizens sharing those values—in many cases, with a real impact on government decision making.

The Internet and Consumer Trends

New technologies increase the speed of information transfer, and this opens up the possibility of “bespoke” shopping. The Internet offers an immense wealth of possibilities for buying content, news, and leisure products, and all sorts of advantages arise from e-commerce, which has become a major distribution channel for goods and services. You can book airline tickets, get a T-shirt from Australia, or buy food at an online grocery store. New applications support secure business transactions and create new commercial opportunities.

In this setting, it is the consumer who gains the upper hand, and the conventional rules and methods of distribution and marketing break down. Consumers’ access to information multiplies, and their reviews of their experience with various products and services take center stage. Access to product comparisons and rankings, user reviews and comments, and recommendations from bloggers with large followings have shaped a new scenario for consumer behavior, retail trade, and the economy in general.

The Internet and the Economy

The Internet is one of the key factors driving today’s economy. No one can afford to be left behind. Even in a tough macroeconomic framework, the Internet can foster growth, coupled with enhanced productivity and competitiveness.

The Internet provides opportunities for strengthening the economy: How should we tackle them? While Europe—and Spain specifically—are making efforts to make the best possible use of the Internet, there are areas in which their approach needs to improve. Europe faces a major challenge, and risks serious failure if it lets the United States run ahead on its own. The European Commission, in its “Startup Manifesto,” suggests that the Old World be more entrepreneur-friendly—the proposal is backed by companies like Spotify and Tuenti. Europe lacks some of the necessary know-how. We need to improve in financial services and in data privacy, moving past the obsolete regulatory framework we now have and making a bid to achieve a well-connected continent with a single market for 4G mobile connections. We need to make it easier to hire talent outside each given country.

The use of e-commerce should be encouraged among small and medium-sized enterprises so that growth opportunities can be exploited more intensely. Following the global trend of the Internet, companies should internalize their online business. And much more emphasis should be placed on new technologies training in the academic and business spheres.

Modern life is global, and Spain is competing against every other country in the world. I do not believe in defeatism or victim culture. Optimism should not translate into callousness, but I sincerely believe that if you think creatively, if you find a different angle, if you innovate with a positive attitude and without fear of failure, then you can change things for the better. Spain needs to seize the moment to reinvent itself, grasping the opportunities offered up by the online world. We need to act, take decisions, avoid “paralysis through analysis.” I sometimes feel we are too inclined to navel-gazing: Spain shuts itself off, fascinated with its own contradictions and local issues, and loses its sense of perspective. Spain should open up to the outside, use the crisis as an opportunity to do things differently, in a new way—creating value, underlining its strengths, aspiring to be something more.

In the United States, for instance, diving headfirst into a personal Internet-related startup is regarded as perfectly normal. I’m glad to see that this entrepreneurial spirit is beginning to take hold here as well. I believe in working hard, showing perseverance, keeping your goals in view, surrounding yourself with talent, and taking risks. No risk, no success. We live in an increasingly globalized world: of course you can have a Spain-based Internet startup, there are no frontiers.

We need to take risks and keep one step ahead of the future. It is precisely the most disruptive innovations that require radical changes in approach and product, which might not even find a market yet ready for them—these are the areas providing real opportunities to continue being relevant, to move forward and “earn” the future, creating value and maintaining leadership. It is the disruptive changes that enable a business, product, or service to revolutionize the market—and, particularly in the technology sector, such changes are a necessity.

The Future of Social Communications, Innovation, Mobile Technologies, and Total Connectivity in Our Lives

The future of social communications will be shaped by an  always-online  culture.  Always online  is already here and will set the trend going forward. Total connectivity, the Internet you can take with you wherever you go, is growing unstoppably. There is no turning back for global digitalization.

Innovation is the driving force of growth and progress, so we need to shake up entrenched processes, products, services, and industries, so that all of us together—including established businesses, reacting to their emerging competitors—can move forward together.

Innovation is shaping and will continue to shape the future of social communications. It is already a reality that Internet connections are increasingly mobile. A survey we conducted in early 2013 in partnership with Ipsos found that 94 percent of Tuenti users aged 16 to 35 owned cell phones, 84 percent of users connected to the Internet using their phones, and 47 percent had mobile data subscriptions for connecting to the Internet. A total of 74 percent of users reported connecting to the Internet from their phone on a daily basis, while 84 percent did so at least weekly. Only 13 percent did not use their phones to connect to the Internet, and that percentage is decreasing every day.

Mobile Internet use alters the pattern of device usage; the hitherto familiar ways of accessing the Internet are changing too. The smartphone activities taking up the most time (over three hours a day) include instant messaging (38%), social media use (35%), listening to music (24%), and web browsing (20%). The activities taking up the least time (under five minutes a day) are: SMS texting (51%), watching movies (43%), reading and writing e-mail (38%), and talking on the phone (32%). Things are still changing.

Smartphones are gaining ground in everyday life. Many of the purposes formerly served by other items now involve using our smartphones. Some 75 percent of young people reported having replaced their MP3 player with their phone, 74 percent use their phone as an alarm clock, 70 percent use it as their camera, and 67 percent use it as their watch.

We have been observing these shifts for a while, which is why we decided to reinvent ourselves by placing smartphones at the heart of our strategy. I want to use this example as a showcase of what is happening in the world of social communication and the Internet in general: mobile connectivity is bringing about a new revolution. Tuenti is no longer just a social network, and social media as a whole are becoming more than just websites. The new Tuenti provides native mobile apps for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone, as well as the Firefox OS app and the mobile version of the website, m.tuenti.com. Tuenti is now a cross-platform service that lets users connect with their friends and contacts from wherever they may be, using their device of choice. A user with a laptop can IM in real time with a user with a smartphone, and switch from one device to another without losing the thread of the conversation. The conversations are in the cloud, so data and contacts are preserved independently of the devices being used. This means the experience has to be made uniform across platforms, which sometimes involves paring down functionalities, given the processing and screen size limitations of mobile devices. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on are all evolving to become increasingly cross-platform experiences. But Tuenti is the first social network that has also developed its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)—the company is an Internet service provider over the mobile network. Tuenti is an MVNO with a social media angle, and this may be the future path of telecommunications.

Social media are evolving to become something more, and innovation must be their hallmark if they are to continue being relevant. Tuenti now embraces both social communications and telecom services provision, offering value added by letting you use the mobile app free of charge and without using up your data traffic allowance, even if you have no credit on your prepaid card—this is wholly revolutionary in the telecom sector. The convergence of social media with more traditional sectors is already bringing about a new context for innovation, a new arena for the development and growth of the Internet.

Just about everything in the world of the Internet still lies ahead of us, and mobile communications as we know them must be reinvented by making them more digital. The future will be shaped by innovation converging with the impact of mobility. This applies not just to social media but to the Internet in general, particularly in the social communications field. I feel that many people do not understand what we are doing and have no idea of the potential development of companies like ours at the global level. Right now, there may be somebody out there, in some corner of the world, developing the tool that will turn the Internet upside down all over again. The tool that will alter our day-to-day life once more. Creating more opportunities, providing new benefits to individuals, bringing more individual and collective well-being. Just ten years ago, social media did not exist; in the next ten years, something else radically new will emerge. There are many areas in which products, processes, and services can be improved or created afresh. The future is brimming with opportunities, and the future of the Internet has only just begun.

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How Technology Can Help Us Remember Better

My photo camera creates best pictures of Spring

I n the digital age, we have the technology to document our lives in extraordinary detail via photographs, voice recordings, and social media posts. In theory, this ability to effortlessly capture the important moments of our lives should enrich our ability to remember those moments. But in practice, people often tell me they experience the opposite.

I study the neuroscience of memory and one question I hear again and again is whether technology is making us “dumber” —or, more precisely, whether it’s hurting our ability to remember. For some, the question is motivated by worry about the amount of time their children spend on screens or mobile devices. For others, it reflects concerns about their own memory problems.

A common fear is that there might be a “use it or lose it” principle at play—that an increasing dependence on our devices for reminders will lead us to lose our own capabilities to remember. This might be true for certain skills. If, for instance, you always rely on navigation apps in new or unfamiliar neighborhoods, you might not attend to features in the environment to create a mental map that would allow you to learn to navigate on your own. However, there is no reason to think that relying on technology to store important information will somehow lead your brain to wither in ways that are bad for memory. In fact, I’m all for outsourcing mundane memory tasks, like memorizing phone numbers, passwords, email addresses, and appointments. I don’t have a photographic memory—but my phone does.

So, if technology can help us “free up space” for the things we want to remember when we need to remember them, why do so many of us feel like its presence in our lives is leading us to form blurry, fragmented, and impoverished memories?

The short answer: technology isn’t the problem—it’s how we interact with it.

To form lasting memories, we need to focus on what is distinct about the present moment, those immersive sensory details we can call back up to reconstruct an experience when we remember. As we go about our daily lives, we usually do a pretty good job of focusing on what’s relevant, and for that, we can thank a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex helps us focus attention on and meaningfully process what we need to learn, to search for memories that are “in there somewhere,” and to keep our recollections accurate when we manage to remember the right thing.

But, in a world where our conversations, activities, and meetings are routinely interrupted by text messages, emails, and phone calls, these abilities get swamped—and we often compound the problem by splitting our attention between multiple goals. Multitasking can make us feel that we’re being more efficient. Many of us even pride ourselves on our ability to switch from one task to another, but it comes at a cost.

Read More: Why Multitasking Is Bad for You

Each time we are routinely distracted or intentionally toggle between different media streams (such as reading a text message while maintaining a conversation), prefrontal resources are sucked up to regain our focus. The result is that we remain one step behind, and after all is done, we are only left with blurry, fragmented memories.

Outside of the workplace, we often use technology to document our lives. The proliferation of “Instagram walls” and the throngs of people at concerts recording the action with their smartphones illustrate how technology has changed our lives. The ubiquity of smartphone cameras enables us to easily document our experiences, yet for most of us this hasn’t translated into a more expansive memory for the personal past. Again, the problem isn’t necessarily with the technology, but rather that we are filtering our experiences through the lens of a camera.

Taking photos does not necessarily have a good or bad effect on memory. The critical factors involve how you direct your attention and whether you meaningfully engage with the subject matter. Our brains are designed to do more with less, by engaging meaningfully with a little bit of high-quality information rather than amassing a massive catalog of information. When we focus on “documenting” over “experiencing,” we don’t pay attention to what is distinctive in the moment, the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings that make an experience unique—and memorable. Without those immersive details, something that was so vivid when we experienced it (a family vacation or child’s violin recital) can wind up feeling as distant to us as a story we read in a book. By trying to record every moment, we don’t focus on any one facet of the experience in enough detail to form distinctive memories that we will retain.

The negative potential of technology is exacerbated by a culture of sharing experiences on social media platforms. Social media engagement can have a negative effect on memory, partly because it involves multitasking (e.g., switching between recording the moment and engagement with social media platforms) and increases the potential for distraction.

Social media itself isn’t bad for memory, per se. Like most forms of technology, it’s a tool that when used properly can even enhance our memory of an event, but the images we post are often accompanied by captions with brief descriptions, rather than a thorough reflection on the event. Some platforms like Snapchat and Instagram stories, feature photo posts that disappear within 24 hours—an apt metaphor for the way in which mindless documentation can leave us bereft of lasting memories for our experiences.

Read More: How to Make Your Mind Happy, According to Neuroscience

Technology can enhance memory if it is used consistently with principles that help us remember. Thoughtfully taking pictures or videos at opportune moments can orient us to what is interesting and distinctive around us. My daughter, for instance, likes to selectively photograph plants and flowers that catch her eye on our nature walks, which allows her to pause and fully take in those aspects of the scenery as we are experiencing them in the moment.

After you take those pictures and videos, organize them in a way that will allow you to find them later (as we used to in the old days with photo albums) and make sure to revisit them later on. In the following weeks, revisit those photos and use them as cues to mentally re-experience those events, bringing back as many details as possible. By using the photos almost like a “test” of your memory, and spacing out those tests, you can enhance your ability to retain memories of the entire event, not only what is in the photo. Journaling can be another way to enhance memory because it allows us to test our memory for an event and also integrate it in a meaningful way, so that we can shape our narrative of the experience.

As with memory itself, a key principle for technology is that “less is more.” All the life-logging in the world will not enable us to remember all our experiences, nor is that a desirable goal in the first place. Our memories for events are selective, but they also can have a great deal of detail, meaning, and emotion. By mindfully using technology in ways that allow us to access those aspects of our past experiences, we can hold on to what matters.

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Topic: Technology , Internet , Information , Computers , Society , World , Food , Life

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Published: 02/24/2020

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Introduction

Technology is a small word that has made huge impacts on our lives. Without even noticing, we use technology in many ways. It has somehow affected every single living organism on this planet. And with the many recently developments, the pace of the boom in technology has risen too. From the start of scientific discoveries till today, the human race has seen so many changes that it is uncountable. Electricity is said to be discovered in the early 18th century. Then Einstein’s theories of relativity changed the whole perspective in the 19 century.

But how exactly has technology impacted us today? What changes has it made in our lives today? Has it proven to be better to be technologically civilized? Or have we made the wrong decision and inevitably going towards our doom? Today we have contrasting opinions on what the impact of technology has done to our society and generation. There are countless positive effects but at the same time we are now experiencing many negative effects of technology as well. This How technology has changed our lives essay is devoted to those questions.

The Positive Ways How Technology has Changed Our Lives

If we take a glance around us, we see many things that are available to us only because of technology. In almost every place we go, we find light and electricity. We see electronic devices that have made work easier for us humans. Just by pressing a button our dishes are washed, our clothes are washed and our food is heated. Because of technology, pour homes are warm and cozy in the winters and cool and breezy in the summers. Because of electronic; technology, we now have refrigerators to store our food so that we can use it for longer periods of time.

Talking about food, there has also been a huge development advancement in the chemical and food industry. Scientists have come up with great preservatives and methods that are used to keep food safe and give them a longer shelf life. Even milk can be stored for months. Hi tech purification plants are now being used to purify milk in an automatic way so that the vitamins and mineral are not wasted whereas all the harmful bacteria are removed. Similar water purification plants and systems have made it easier for most people to have access to cleaner better water.

Then there is the field of logistics and aviation that has been influenced by technology very much. In the past centuries, ships were the only means of transport to other areas of the world. Now we have a great aviation system that can take you to any corner of the world with ease. Air travel is considered to be the safest travelling mode till date. The field of logistics deals with the delivery of goods and packages across the world. The technological advancement in aviation has given boom to this industry as well. Now businesses can easily expand their businesses worldwide and ship their products to the customers without any hassle.

In today’s society the one invention that has the biggest impact on our society and which has totally changed the way we work, think and process is the computer technology and internet. Computers have made processing so simple and fast. Also, when the invention was first made, a single computer needed many acres of space. However, now a computer can be as small as a palm. With the automation of many programs, we have now fewer chances of errors. The internet has provided humans across the planet with unlimited amount of information. We now have access to tons and tons of the latest research and developments. Digital information has not only given us access to new information but that information is used constructively to develop new theories and technologies.

The internet has changed the lives of many people around the world by offering the fastest communication modes thinkable. A picture, letter can be sent to your loved one in just seconds. With the help of technology people have become so close to their friends and families living abroad. Internet has also changes the lives of many people by offering many job opportunities that we could not even think of before internet. Outsourcing your work is made more convenient with the technological advancement of the internet.

When we see how doctors and physicians have made use of technology and completely altered it, we are dumbstruck. Doctors sitting thousands of miles away can control robotic arms to perform surgeries and procedures on patients. Residents take help in the same way from their mentors during difficult procedures. Also, if any groundbreaking surgery is being performed, it is telecasted live through the internet so that doctors around the world can learn the latest discovery in the field of medicine. The drugs are also developed after more research and testing which makes them more effective.

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The Negative Ways How Technology has Changed Our Lives

In almost every sector of our lives, technology has a huge impact not only on the society but on a personal level. But there is the side of the coin as well. While we cannot count the many bounties of technology, there are a few negative ways that it has influenced us.

The biggest drawback of technology is that it is starting to take a toll on our health. With the excessive use of technology designed to make our lives easier, it has been noted that our body is beginning to show signs of retirement. The body has been designed to perform well under pressure. It starts to jam up if it is not used positively. If all our daily work chores are being done by technological devices, then we spend the day switching the television channels. Technology use is directly being linked to harmful diseases like obesity, diabetes, stress, depression, fatigue, cancer and much more.

Our children no longer need parks and recreational centers to spend their time. A single computer or mobile phone is all they ask for. Internet has made us closer to the digital global community but is taking us far from our family living in the same house and our next door neighbors. Research has shown that internet has also made today’s society in able to made conversation face-to-face. They are comfortable being online and hiding behind fake identities but presenting themselves in person is becoming hard. Also, with the excessive amounts of information, there is no check or balance. Information travels at the speed of light. It is hard to differentiate the right from the wrong. Students are more inclined towards plagiarism, cheating and other unethical practices. Technology is teaching them to find a shortcut.

Pornography and unethical content is easily accessible to anyone having access to the internet. Without the implementation of strict regulations and consequences from the government, the society will continue to drown in the ocean of unmonitored information.

Being technologically civilized is also affecting the environment which in a way affects the society. Our factories, plants, transportation means all emit harmful gases into the atmosphere that will have a huge negative impact on us. More and more natural resources are being used up fast to accommodate for the excessive needs of humans of this century. As much as we had invented technology to help us, it can now be felt that the society is being controlled by technology.

There is no doubt that technology affects us no matter what our status symbol is, it does no care what country, race or age I belong to. At one corner, technology is coming up with newer and faster ways to save lives while in the other corner; technology has enabled people to make more destructive bombs and guns.

The level of impact that technology has on the society and an individual can vary and depends on how strong regulations are administered. There is a need to balance the use of technology so that it helps your life become easier without having any negative effects. Technology has helped us reach the stars. This clearly shows that that there are no bounds to where technology can take us and what it can do. It is important to regulate advancements in technology. It should be made sure that it is beneficial to the human race and will not be a threat to our future generations.

Works Cited

Computer Fix Made Easy. "10 Advantages of Using the Internet." 2011. Computer Fix Made Easy. 7 December 2013 <http://www.computer-fix-made-easy.com/2011/07/ten-advantages-of-using-internet.html>. KONTAKOS, PETE. "The Role of Information Technology in Logistics." 26 June 2012. Food Logistics. 7 December 2013 <http://www.foodlogistics.com/blog/10734790/the-role-of-information-technology-in-logistics>. NUEZ, JESSIE. "6 Negative Effects of Technology Has On Kids." 9 August 2013. Babble. 7 December 2013 <http://www.babble.com/tech/6-negative-effects-technology-has-on-kids/>. The Electricity Forum. "Who Invented Electricity." 2013. The Electricity Forum. 7 Decemeber 2013 <http://www.electricityforum.com/who-invented-electricity.html>. Volpi, David. "Heavy Technology Use Linked to Fatigue, Stress and Depression in Young Adults." 2 August 2012. Huffington Post. 7 December 2013 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-volpi-md-pc-facs/technology-depression_b_1723625.html>.

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Science and Technology: Impact on Human Life Essay

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Introduction

Part i: science in personal and professional life, part ii: science and technology in a multicultural world.

Science plays an important role in everyday life, and people depend on technologies in a variety of ways by creating, using, and improving them regularly. Sometimes, a person hardly notes how inevitable the impact of science can be on personal or professional life. Evaluating such technologies as the Internet, smartphones, notebooks, smartwatches, and brain-medicine interfaces helps recognize their positive and negative outcomes compared to the period when traditional lifestyles and natural resources like ginger were highly appreciated.

Most people are confident in their independence and neglect multiple technologies that determine their lives. During the last 25 years, technology has dramatically changed human interactions (Muslin, 2020). In addition to domestic technological discoveries like washing machines and stoves, four technologies, namely, the Internet, smartphones, notebooks, and smartwatches, are used throughout the day. Despite their evident advantages in communication, data exchange, and connection, some negative impacts should not be ignored.

Regarding my personal life changes, these technologies provoke mental health changes such as depression. I prefer to avoid my dependence on all these technologies that imperceptibly shape everyday activities. However, I constantly check my vitals, messengers, and calls not to miss something important. On the one hand, this idea of control helps improve my life and makes it logical. On the other hand, I am concerned about such relationships with technologies in my life. Similar negative impacts on society emerge when people prefer to communicate virtually instead of paying attention to reality. Technologies compromise social relationships because individuals are eager to choose something easier that requires less movement or participation, neglecting their unique chances to live a real life. They also challenge even the environment because either smartwatches or notebooks need energy that is associated with air pollution, climate change, and other harmful emissions (Trefil & Hazen, 2016). Modern technologies facilitate human life, but health, social, and environmental outcomes remain dangerous.

Thinking about my day, I cannot imagine another scientific discovery that makes this life possible except the Internet. Today, more devices have become connected to the Internet, including cars, appliances, and personal computers (Thompson, 2016). With time, people get an opportunity to use the Internet for multiple purposes to store their personal information, business documentation, music, and other files that have a meaning in their lives. The Internet defines the quality of human relationships, starting with healthcare data about a child and ending with online photos after the person’s death.

Although the Internet was invented at the end of the 1980s, this technology was implemented for everyday use in the middle of the 1990s. All people admired such possibilities as a connection across the globe, increased job opportunities, regular information flows, a variety of choices, online purchases, and good education opportunities (Olenski, 2018). It was a true belief that the Internet made society free from real-life boundaries and limitations. However, with time, its negative sides were revealed, including decreased face-to-face engagement, laziness, and the promotion of inappropriate content (Olenski, 2018). When people prefer their virtual achievements and progress but forget about real obligations like parenting, education, or keeping a healthy lifestyle, the Internet is no longer a positive scientific discovery but a serious problem.

Many discussions are developed to identify the overall impact of the Internet as a major scientific discovery. Modern people cannot imagine a day without using the Internet for working, educational, or personal purposes. However, when online life becomes someone’s obsession, the negatives prevail over its positives. Therefore, the human factor and real-life preferences should always be recognized and promoted. During the pandemic, the Internet is a priceless contribution that helps deal with isolation and mental health challenges. Some people cannot reach each other because of family issues or business trips, and the Internet is the only reliable and permanent means of connection. Thus, such positives overweight the negatives overall if everything is used rationally.

The Internet makes it possible for healthcare providers to exchange their knowledge and experiences from different parts of the world. This possibility explains the spread of the westernized high-tech research approach to medical treatment and the promotion of science in a multicultural care world. Biomedical research changes the way how people are diagnosed and treated. Recent genomic discoveries help predict the possibility of cancer and human predisposition to other incurable diseases to improve awareness of health conditions. The benefit of new brain-interface technologies (BMI) is life improvement for disabled people to move their prosthetics easily (The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2016). Instead of staying passive, individuals use smart technology to hold subjects, open doors, and receive calls. BMI has a high price, but its impact is priceless. At the same time, some risks of high-tech research exist in medical treatment. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2016) underlines damaged neurons and fibers depend on what drugs are delivered to the system and how. The transmission of electrical signals is not always stable, and the safety of BMI processes is hardly guaranteed.

Some populations reject technologies in medical treatment and prefer to use natural resources to stabilize their health. For example, ginger is characterized by several positive clinical applications in China. Researchers believe that this type of alternative medicine effectively manages nausea, vomiting, and dizziness (Anh et al., 2020). Its major advantage is reported by pregnant patients who use ginger to predict morning sickness, unnecessary inflammation, and nausea. However, like any medication, ginger has its adverse effects, covering gastrointestinal and cardiovascular symptoms (Anh et al., 2020). The disadvantage of using traditional medicine is its unpredictable action time. When immediate help is required, herbs and other products are less effective than a specially created drug or injection.

There are many reasons for having multicultural approaches to medical treatment, including ethical recognition, respect, diversity, and improved understanding of health issues. It is not enough to diagnose a patient and choose a care plan. People want to feel support, and if one culture misses some perspectives, another culture improves the situation. Western and traditional cultural approaches may be improved by drawing upon the other. However, this combination diminishes the effects of traditions and the worth of technology in medical treatment. Instead of uniting options, it is better to enhance differences and underline the importance of each approach separately. The challenges of combining these approaches vary from differences in religious beliefs to financial problems. All these controversies between science and culture are necessary for medical treatment because they offer options for people and underline the uniqueness of populations and technological progress.

In general, science and traditions are two integral elements of human life. People strive to make their unique contributions to technology and invent the devices that facilitate human activities. At the same time, they never neglect respect for traditions and cultural diversity. Therefore, high-tech and traditional medicine approaches are commonly discussed and promoted today to identify more positive impacts and reduce negative associations and challenges.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. (2016). Top 5 advances in medical technology . ASME. Web.

Anh, N. H., Kim, S. J., Long, N. P., Min, J. E., Yoon, Y. C., Lee, E. G., Kim, M., Kim, T. J., Yang, Y. Y., Son, E. Y., Yoon, S. J., Diem, N. C., Kim, H. M., & Kwon, S. W. (2020). Ginger on human health: A comprehensive systematic review of 109 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 12 (1). Web.

Musil, S. (2020). 25 technologies that have changed the world . Cnet. Web.

Olenski, S. (2018). The benefits and challenges of being an online – Only brand. Forbes . Web.

Thompson, C. (2016). 21 technology tipping points we will reach by 2030 . Insider. Web.

Trefil, J., & Hazen, R. M. (2016). The sciences: An integrated approach (8th ed.). Wiley.

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