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The 21st century has seen an increasing dependence on technology as a way of enhancing the lifestyles of people in the society. Every sector of the economy, different social structures and institutions, the family, name them all have turned to technological advancements as a way of dealing with various challenges that emerge on a day to day basis. Among the technological pieces that have found their way at the workplace, at school and even at home is the computer. However, there have been rising concerns in regard to the effects of dependence on computers as a way of dealing or rather providing solutions to the problems that arises on a daily basis. Whereas, there are arguments that have supported the utilization of computers at home and in other places, critics of technology argue that there are effects that are associated with computers that may not be revealed to human beings in the short run, despite the fact that their long terms effects would be difficult to reverse. In line with this, there are suspicions that have been raised both in the past and currently on the effects that the computer age will impart on people and the general society as a whole.
As it has been the habit or rather the trends in the society, everything that has raised concerns on its aftermath effects on the society, whether good or bad has always attracted researchers and scholars to seek for evidence before it is credited as good or bad. In this regard, there are different or in other words numerous researches and studies that have been carried out in the past to ascertain the effects of dependence on technological advances such as the computers on the life of human beings. In reference to Kent & Williams (1997), there are various stages that technological advancements or developments go through in the society (p.139). These stages include the early stage, the middle stage and the upheaval stage (p.139). The early stage is characterized by amazement of what a technological piece can do in the life of a person and the society as a whole. The middle stage on the other hand focuses on the prosperity of the technology in question and in this regard the computers whereas the upheaval stage is focused on examining the effects of a particular type of technological development on the society and its environment. This essay will therefore look at the upheaval stage of computers especially where it concerns human dependence on computers.
Whereas the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century was characterized by an increase in the number of computers, either personal or corporate computers, there are numerous issues that have risen in the recent past in regard to the role computers have played in creating certain challenges in the society. The research findings on the effects of dependence on computers have in the past factored in the importance of computers in the life of human beings. As a result, whereas computers have been found to enhance the lifestyles of people in every society across the globe, there are effects that accompany computers that cannot be ignored by the society if it is to be able to avoid serious effects in future (Kent & Williams, 1997).
To begin with, computers have arguably become one of the learning tools across the world that cannot be compared to any other learning tool in the society. In line with this, the ability of a computer to store large amounts of information and yet be in a position of providing this information at the click of a mouse has enabled many people across the globe to be able to learn easily without problems (Kent & Williams, 1997, p.141). However, it is important to note that learning using computers has a limitation that has to be tackled if the society is to position itself in such a way that it would be easier for it to deal with emergent problems due to dependence on computer. One cannot in any way fail to note that failure of power in any particular institution such as a college can bring the learning process to a halt since computers cannot work without computers.
The utilization or rather dependence on a computer as an information storage device has also been found to pose a threat to the life of human beings. As was noted earlier on, computers have the ability to store large amounts of data within a small space as compared to paper or rather file system of information storage. In this line of thought, a single computer can be able to store the data that belongs to a whole campus or city in a particular region. However, there are security threats that have been detected or experienced in the past that have the capability to bring the business of a town or campus to a halt if this computer breaks down (Kent & Williams, 1997, p.140). On the other hand, the information that can be lost in case of a computer breakdown can be so expensive to recover, taking a city, college or campus several years backwards.
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In other words, the dependence on computers by different institutions increases the rate of working thus bringing such an institution to what is referred to as the information age. As a result, lack of computers in a particular institution is considered as a stage in the Stone Age by people who are used to computers. Yet, there is a high risk that one can loose large amounts of information and data, never to be recovered again (Kent & Williams, 1997, p.146). This may take a person or an institution back to the despised stage of lack of computers. It also raises the question on the effectiveness of people in the society who depends heavily on computers. As has been revealed by research, dependence on computers deprives or denies people a chance to develop their abilities in different areas of their lives. As a result, lack of computers renders such kind of people helpless since they do not have any skills that can enable them to work without computers.
For instance, if a computer network in a particular institution or town broke down, this will imply that services to people in this town or institution have to be suspended until the network is restored (Kizza, 2006, p.84). This poses a threat to the economy of that town and the whole nation since without computers people cannot work. This is as a result of the fact that there are a lot of people that totally depend on the computer to work. The computer to them is like a third hand that must be there for them to be in a position to work effectively. This is a risk that the society is exposed to currently and will continue to be exposed to in future unless drastic measures are put in place on how to integrate human intelligence and abilities and the effectiveness that is brought about by a computer.
The loading of a person’s information in the computer continues to expose people each and every day. Human beings are made vulnerably to the outside world on a daily basis as a result of saving their private information in computers that can be accessed and used for malicious activities by hackers. This goes against the main point that a computer should be used as a storage device rather than a device that makes a person vulnerable to threats and attacks from the unknown due to leakage of personal information to the outside world or rather unauthorized persons. In this regard, one should recognize that human beings have continued to depend on the computers to the point of completely trusting these devices. Yet, they have ignored the security threats that they are exposed to as a result of using these gadgets. Therefore, as one continues to depend on a computer, risk levels continue to rise as each day brings them closer to attacks by viruses and hackers (Kizza, 2006).
It is also important to note that a human being is an independent entity who has a potential of guarding his or her freedom and other rights. In line with this, a single violation of human rights in terms of freedom that has been accorded to human beings has always resulted in a conflict. The conflict may be expressed vividly and out rightly or it may be expressed in a silent form whereby human beings decide in their hearts to shun certain place without necessarily giving any warning in regard to their intentions. However, whereas most societies across the globe are yet to realize this, the computers have a very high potential of taking over the world and depriving the human beings of their freedom to think as a rational beings in the society (Kent & Williams, 1997).
The current technological development reveals that there is a high dependence on computers to determine certain issues in the society rather than these issues being decided by the human beings. This has penetrated in every area of the human life; hospitals, academic institutions, the military, government institutions, etc. Therefore, the actions that are made in such cases have depended heavily on what is determined by the computer. This is irregardless of the fact that omputers are simply machines and they have a high ability of making errors. For instance, most of the financial markets are run by computers rather than human beings in the sense that the results that are given out by computers determine the decisions that are made by human beings. On the other hand, some of the military attacks that have been carried out by developed countries have depended largely on reports that are given out by computers which determine even the time that one should react or rather respond to a particular situation militarily (Kent & Williams, 1997).
With this in mind, the future of human life is faced by a threat of being controlled completely by computers (Kent & Williams, 1997, p.149). It is worthy noting that computers have continued to take over important roles with or without the knowledge of human beings. In line with this, it only needs a simple program to be written by computers wizards or geeks and the world or rather society will find it difficult to control computers, which are the creation of human hands. For instance, a program jam can imply that an airplane that was about to land would fail to do so and instead take another route to a different destination. Similarly, there is a threat that computers would set in motion a process that would not be reversed easily. For example, if a mistake is made, human beings face a threat of nuclear war that has the ability to bring the world to an end all this due to computers.
There is also a link between dependence on computers and deterioration of the health status among people in the modern society. In the past, due to the fact that the organizational structure was diversified in such a way that different departments were located in different areas, people had to walk from one office to the other in some cases in order for business activities to be carried out. However, the current workplace is characterized by computer communications that does not allow a person to move from one place to another since he or she can be able to access everything he or she needs while working on a computer. Therefore, the tremendous reduced mobility among people at the workplace has been associated with serious health conditions in the society (Dainoff, 2007, p.135).
For instance, the American society has recorded a serious increase in reported cases of obesity among its people. This has been linked to the fact that people have no chance of exercising since everything is delivered right on the table where they are seated. Lack of exercise increases body fat that is associated with obesity and heart diseases such as heart attack. Similarly, this has been seen in young people with a majority of them failing to participate in sports activities as a way of exercising (Dainoff, 2007, p.136). Instead, most of them spend their time playing computers games as a way of participating in co curricula activities at school and at home. Apart from posing a serious health risk to their bodies, there is also a retarded growth of their minds or rather thinking process, leading to poor cognitive development when these young people grow up.
There is also a risk that children and the adolescents face in regard to their dependence on computers. It should be noted that these children and adolescents are at important stages of development. It is at these stages that children and adolescents learn important skills in the society such as social skills, cognitive skills, etc. however, their dependability on the computer has been found to segregate them from the rest of their peers thus denying them a chance to develop socially, emotionally, mentally and physically with their peers (Vorderer & Bryant, 2006, p.430). This has a negative impact on their lives when they grow up.
Whereas it may be argued that these children and adolescents can socialize online with their peers through social sites, research indicates that these sites are more dangerous to these young ones more than they are helpful. For instance, many children and adolescents have fallen prey of social sites predators who are out to introduce weird behaviors to children and adolescents such as pornography and homosexuality and in some cases physically molest them rather than helping them grow up as healthy social beings (Vorderer & Bryant, 2006).
In summation, it can be argued that computers are among the most important technological developments that have ever been created by human beings. The modern world continues to enjoy the efficiency that has been brought about by computers. However, there are numerous concerns that have been raised in the recent past in regard to dependence on computers by human beings. To begin with, the dependence on computers by people is a risk in the sense that a breakdown of these computers or lack of electricity can bring activities in an institution or a town to a standstill. Similarly, there are numerous risks that people are exposed to especially in regard to saving or rather storing their information and data in computers as a loss of this information and data would make them unable to work completely. This does not factor in the risks of this information and data being stolen and used for malicious purposes. Therefore, it can be concluded that despite the dependence on computers having a lot of benefits to computers users, there are suspicions that are raised in regard to these benefits due to the risks that one is exposed to when he or she depends on a computer.