Imagine a world where you can get away with crimes such as these: stealing food, writing false checks, paying someone to take important tests for you, such as: S.A.T, A.C.T and possibly even exams for passing graduate school programs. Not limiting yourself to just these crimes, and putting aside the issue of morality, getting away with crimes such as these, or at least being able to commit them stealthily for a longer period of time, was much easier before modern societies became interlaced with computerized systems. After hearing all of this, it would be safe to “assume” that computerized systems, therefore, must be a positive force for society; they can apprehend criminals at a faster rate (what-with the existence of CCTV camera’s) they have the ability to store data, and in general they hold “clear-cut” answers to whatever problems the human race may meet.
I (Brian Berger) believe in giving people second chances. I also support third chances for individuals to succeed in this world. Aside from the fact that most people, either from their own indifference to the well-being of others, or perhaps their pedantic personality, (that is: everything MUST be followed according to procedure) do not share my views on giving certain criminals second chances, (see my article: The Need for Prisoner Education: Why it Matters for Society) a world controlled by computerized management systems ensures that once a crime is committed, it has very dastardly effects on the future of that individual. Therefore, in actuality, computer systems can be one of two elements for an individual: The key to eternal wealth, or a horrible miserable existence, lacking any hope for better change. Unfortunately for most of the human race (that being the modernized working-poor, not just those with criminal records) the latter seems to be true.
Albert Einstein, a man not just a genius in the field of science, but also with keys to the insight of the human condition (a staple of the concepts of HumansAreWe) noted : “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” I (Brian Berger) will be the first to let you (the reader) know that in this particular reference, Einstein was referring to the ability of the human mind to create advanced weapons, specifically those of mass destruction. However, had he been able to witness our world today, though in it’s absence of atomic warfare, it’s presence and predominance of mass working poor, mass poverty, as well as the prizes and lavishness of those few at the very top, Einstein would concur that this quote would still apply.
Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited as the inventor of the world wide web (but not the entire internet)* is quoted as saying: “The world’s urban poor and the illiterate are going to be increasingly disadvantaged and are in danger of being left behind. The web has added a new dimension to the gap between the first world and the developing world. We have to start talking about a human right to connect.” While, like many individuals who have molded the internet to it’s current form, Berners-Lee had positive intentions for what the internet had to offer, what he and a great many people did not know was that: while what he was saying was true (regarding the uneducated, illiterate and urban poor) another problem with the internet was that it would be an eventual danger to literate middle class individuals as well; the internet would allow people to connect, but due to it’s dominance over society, as well as technology’s dominance, median wage jobs would be eliminated, and culture would in fact be lost (See my article Technology, Facebook, Twitter and the Annihilation of Culture).
Karl Marx, (an individual most people do not like, although they cannot say why) was an economist who lambasted a capitalist system of societal function. He knew that business leaders would try to make as much profit as they could, while paying the cheapest wages to their workers, and at the same time, grow their business(es) so large as to eliminate the competition in the same market. While the economy of the world has been compromised horribly, for the very reasons Marx had forseen, Marxist theory is not the subject being discussed in this post. So why do I bring this concept to your attention? Because powerhouse corporations such as: Google, Youtube,* Facebook, Ebay, Netflix and Amazon have grown to the household names that they are, and acquired the billions of dollars needed to keep themselves afloat by eliminating the competition in their markets, and it only helps these companies more-so that they exist on the platform of the internet.
Do you notice a pattern in Einstein’s, Berners-Lee’s* and Marx’s premonitions for the future of society? You’re familiar with the vernacular saying: “the earth has gone to the ‘dogs.” In today’s post economic crash world (post circa-2008) it would also be accurate to say: “the earth has gone to (or been lost due to) the internet and computerized systems of operation.” I happen to believe both statements are true.
At the very start of this post I had noted computerized systems work “presumably” to societies benefit, because criminals can be apprehended faster and more accurately than the systems used prior. I brought a personal note of compassion to light, stating that I believe in giving certain delinquent individuals (but not all of them) second chances; an aspect with which modern computerized systems of order do not permit. I mentioned that People are being held back in society, due to their criminal social statuses, and/or their economic statuses. Finally, I had presented the notion, up for debate, that computerized systems of operation: hold “clear-cut” answers to whatever problems the human race may meet.
Computers do have the answers for many of our problems. However, who could have envisioned what technology would actually bring us*:
– Social Media: a mode of unnatural communication, which, while stutlifying peoples attention spans, has severely damaged the devolped world’s ability to communicate in a healthy manner
– Increased Depression
– Increased Loneliness
– Increased Poverty (As from Tim Berners-Lee’s quote)
I will again quote Albert Einstein, who said: ‘I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” Albert Einstein, and Karl Marx are individuals who no longer exist on the earth. Though, they did not need (nor did they have access to) an internet system to predict the future, that in fact, is our current present. They knew that people would lie, cheat, and exploit others simply for personal gain without regard for the safety or well being of others. Though the online corporations I listed previously may not have ill-intent, the inexorable funds that they (these corporations) receive has made true the notion that technology, being inherently born from the human mind, is what has caused societies to fail outright, whilst governments and corporations (especially internet monopolies) come out the victor, every waking day.
*The internet as it is seen today has been engineered by several hundred people (atleast) there is not just one single inventor
*Youtube is currently owned by Google, however it was initially it’s own entity
* Berners-Lee felt hopeful about the internet, however, his statement noted in this post rings true
* My listings are limited; to list all negative effects of technology on human society would be impossible.