Every stage of human development is characterised by new technologies and their direct impact on further stages of that development. Once, iron was viewed as technology and melting pots contributed to people winning wars and changing the whole epochs. Nowadays, in the information age, technology is more about information transference and little gadgets in our every-day life. Just as in previous epochs new technologies had their positive and negative impact on human development so doe contemporary equivalents. In this context the main aim of the present essay is to investigate the impact of modern technology has on society, it values and our every-day life. This analysis is based on my personal experience and interview conducted with an elder friend of mine.
I realise that acceptance f technologies for granted has a specific impact on human values and self-perception. In this context, the most crucial change in society and my life as well, is the attitude to information, its availability and freedom of flow. Nowadays, when you get information immediately, and without any efforts, you begin to forget its value and the fact in some places this information is simply not available. Thus, the society gains a problem of relying too much on information, but still not appreciating it in enough. In this regard, we understand that information is crucial for us, but we forget the cost of it and we are not prepared to live without it.
For instance, I am not prepared to function well even a single day without my every-day devices. I would not be able to wake up in the right time for school without an alarm clock on my smart phone; I would keep forgetting things I was supposed to do and buy in store, or the appointment I was supposed to have. In order to contact someone I would have to use regular post or landline telephone at best, these would cost me plenty of time. Although, in cases of regular texts, it might not be that crucial; from the point of emergencies, inability to contact the right service could be fatal. Wasting the whole day on things which could have been done in a few minutes or an hour, I would feel frustrated, exhausted and most of all isolated. In the contemporary globalised world, where families are divided by continents and closest friends can be anywhere, information technologies are vital for interpersonal communication and social life. Although many people would argue that social networks are ruinous for the real interpersonal relations, under conditions of distance and digitalised world in general, it remains one of the means for people still to keep in touch with one another. I think, the lack of opportunity to contact friend immediately would be the greatest loss for me in the world without information technologies.
On the other hand, the relevance of each technology depends on the individual preferences and requirements of job performed. In this context, it can be argued that, in contemporary society, there is a tendency that the earlier an individual is introduced to the new technology the more essential and vital in one's life it is going to be. This is the case of a friend of mine whom I have interviewed for this essay. In the framework of this paper, let his name be Tom. Tom is 9 years elder than me and conducts Post-Doctoral research in the field of International relations. Although he uses all possible devices of contemporary information technologies, he argues that smart phone, DVDs, GPS and any other technologies are not as vital for him as his miniature laptop and possibilities internet provides. His morning starts from checking e-mail from foreign partners, reading through the Economist online and listening BBC live. He does all at the same time on his laptop. He seldom uses phone because most of his contacts are abroad and he can easily contact them via Skype or even Facebook video-call. Although he can watch TV or DVD on his Plasma TV, he does that once or twice a month, mainly because he can watch anything he wants online. Tom is convinced that his laptop is his life and access to his world is possible mainly though that device. He argued that living without it would be simply impossible in the contemporary world.
When I mentioned to Tom that smart phone was of the same value for me, he suggested an interesting idea, that, in a few years, my priorities will change and that my perception of information will change as well. In this context, he argued that, at that moment, I viewed information as means of communication and self-estimation. On the other hand, in the future, when information will become means of my career building, I would appreciate information as means of knowledge gaining and simple socialising. Although I can agree with him until certain extent, I consider that my attitude to the smart phone or any new device would not shift towards laptop, but rather I would use more devices in order to achieve efficient and timely access to information. This discourse shows a substantial difference in values between me and my friend - although both of us value information and access to the world it provides, I think, for Tom, the value is limited to the serious aspects of life, while for me information is universal. Information technologies are modern life. The difference in this emphasis is the reason why different generations have a different attitude to the new technologies and why they use them differently.
Overall, looking at the contemporary society in general one would observe two perspectives. First of all, today, we are extremely dependent on information technologies and, in case of movie-style blackout, most of us would not be able to survive without those technologies. In this context, human skills are substituted by new technologies. This could have been avoided if communication between generations were improved. Thus, elder population could teach younger how to survive without complete reliance on technologies. It would also eliminate the second perspective, meaning informational and technological division of society and exclusion of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups from it. In any case, the future of contemporary society is in information technology, but technologies should not be substituted for human values and human prosperity.