Oct 17, 2017
Modern technology enables us to communicate with each other, search out information and enjoy various types of entertainment with an astonishing speed and convenience. Almost two-thirds of Americans use a smartphone. Sixty-eight percent of them place their smartphone next to their bed at night. And, nearly 30 percent check their mobile device every 30 minutes. We have become people who like to stay connected.
Modern technology is reshaping the way in which we communicate, do business or access entertainment. It is also changing us. Surfing the internet, creating work-related documents, using a cell phone, creating an email: all these activities leave behind a trail that leads right back to us. Already in 2000, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig foresaw the potential of the internet to monitor our every move. "Left to itself," he said, "cyberspace will become a perfect tool of control."
The world of cyberspace gives others much information about us. Surfing the internet provides marketing companies the ability to catalogue our likes and dislikes. Then, as a result, market-driven advertisements for products and services constantly intrude themselves into our lives. This constant bombardment of suggestions can change our behavior and even diminish our freedom. It can even create the illusion that acquisition of more and more things is the key to happiness.
Despite the downside, the internet and cell phones are here to stay. Their benefits are immense. They help parents supervise their children at a distance. They allow homeowners to keep an eye on their homes. They make work easier by allowing employees to work from home. They connect people across international borders.