Effects of Computers on Society Essay

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Starting in the mid 1930’s, our day to day lives revolve around and depend on one crucial piece of equipment, the computer. If these computers did not exist, we wouldn’t be able to drive the cars we drive today. Calculators wouldn’t exist; making high level Mathematics exponentially more difficult. Our cell phones wouldn’t send or receive signals rendering them as useful as two paper cups with a string connecting them by the base, and this English paper would most likely be handwritten instead of typed.

Ever since the computer was integrated into our society, tasks that seemed arduous or daunting can be completed with very little effort, even things that used to take multiple people to accomplish have become completely automated. This boost in technology has provided a higher level of convenience and efficiency to the world, but just like you might have heard as a child, too much of one thing, is a bad thing.

In the short time computers have been available to people the world over; there has been countless number of benefits, but there has also been a deterioration in certain aspects of our lives, the effects like a double-edged sword slicing through the tangible world we see, touch, smell, or taste and into the social, emotional, and intellectual behaviours of human beings themselves. Computers are linked through networks around the world allowing information to travel at light speed to any location on the planet that is ‘connected’.

For example, information in Japan can be accessed by someone in America in a fraction of a second without having to change location and vice versa; computers provide instantaneous feedback or results to any question due to the vast amount of information at its disposal. It is a convenience taken for granted by almost everyone in today’s society. “People used to have to physically travel to locations to bank, shop, file applications or take care of government requirements such as renewal of a driver’s license or car registration. (Goessl) Now, those types of tasks can be accomplished by sending information through computers. With all this information traveling to and from destinations on electronic super highways, what is there to stop someone from stealing your information? While computers cut travel time they also open up security risks. Think about how many bus stops it would take to travel from the east coast to the west coast, quite a few, right?

The same goes for information traveling between computers; information goes from point to point, from ‘bus stop to bus stop’, each of the stops leaving your information at risk of getting stolen. For this reason, credit card fraud is a large concern for today’s society. “Anyone who collects payments or customer information online runs the risk of being targeted by thieves… The author of CyberSource’s annual online fraud report, Doug Schwegman, estimates that U. S. merchants reject one in every nine international orders for suspected fraud. ” (Meacham).

Another problem today’s society faces is the complacency of the population, have we become self-satisfied to the point of over dependence on computers rather than relying on ourselves? We tend to think that every answer a computer gives us is 100% correct. While the computer itself is doing what it is programmed to do, humans program the machine and humans by nature make mistakes and therein lays the problem. Being that computers are tied to just about every aspect of our lives, we should not be relying on these devices one hundred percent of the time in fact we should be checking them for their efficiency.

For Example, United Airlines a large airline corporation experienced this exact problem “A nearly 2?-hour computer problem Tuesday caused disruptions to passengers flying the world’s largest airline. ” (Cooper). The problem was that the network was down along with everything else associated with it, the website, flights leaving and arriving, passenger seating charts, etc. “At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, a United hub, check-in kiosks were dark and passengers stood in long lines. At the gates, people boarded planes while United agents checked them off on a hand drawn seating chart. Hundreds of people lives were disrupted and put on halt for two and a half hours due to the fact that there was a computer related glitch in the system. “For more than four thousand years, military history was dominated by the search for better ways of organizing mass formations for massed fire. Historical studies of the use of technology in warfare have shown a consistent pattern of conservative behaviour with regard to innovation and change. ” (Rochlan, 132). Each day that goes by, technology becomes more and more advanced.

The more technology advances, the more uses we try to find for it. In the stone-age rocks carved into rudimentary spheres became the force behind the sling shot, much like how satellites used to pin point locations of GPS signals can be manipulated to guide nuclear missiles to remote corners of the earth. Humans seem to have a need to weaponize the things around them in efforts to protect our race, but inadvertently we cause more harm to the greater good than we do facilitate the movement in the right direction.

Computers tend to wall us off from the rest of the world; there have been cases of addiction and dependency on these machines just to function normally. Video games where you recreate yourself online have in some extreme cases people believing that their online personas represent their true selves and their wants and needs while neglecting to realize that they might have other real life duties to take care of, for example taking care of a child or school responsibilities.

Computers can give a false sense of satisfaction and for people who depend on it too much, it is a bad thing. Our lives revolve around these computers; they affect us for the good and for the bad, how much of each is determined by how we choose to let them affect us. The more we advance technologically it becomes more and more apparent that we have to worry about what types of threats we will encounter as time goes on. What will we have to worry about tomorrow?

Microscopic war robots let loose due to some technological war advancement? Someone finding the universal “power switch’ and shutting us down, making the world go back to the stone age? With every benefit these machines provide for us there seems to be a drawback associated, how much of these computers should we really let dominate our lives?

Works Cited

Goessl, Leigh. “Effects of computers and the Internet on society. ” Helium. N. p. , 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

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