Technological advancement is one of the developments that have significantly improved the quality of our lives. The 20th century witnessed a remarkable growth in technologies and the invention of several ways through which information was relayed from one point to another. The spread of the internet and other digital technologies in the 21st century has revolutionized business, government operations, and human interactions not only in the United States but also in various regions around the world. Notably, mobile telephony, internet communication, and digital broadcasting have tremendously enhanced access and dissemination of information across the globe, making it possible for people in remote corners of the world to access this information just like their counterparts in big cities of developed nations. Our world has been drastically changed that we are unable to conduct our lives without the presence of technologies such as smartphones, email messaging and social media. It is a virtual world that has no defined boundaries and cuts across a multiplicity of cultures of the human race. Although this information explosion has presented humanity with a myriad of challenges, the advancements will continue to offer exciting opportunities and benefits for the current and future generations.
Digital technologies have increased access to information among students. With the technology of smartphones, it is possible to access information through the internet no matter the location of the individual. At the touch of a button, one can access various sites on the internet using their cell phones. For instance, students can access internet libraries of their respective institutions from the comfort of their homes (Simon, 2013). Such technologies save time and offer convenience that is essential for smooth running of ones studies. Simon observes that these innovations have enhanced online and distance learning where students can enroll for programs with individual institutions without making the frequent physical appearances to attend lessons. Such a practice has made life easier for those students who are on continuous employment while advancing their studies. Also, digital networking has improved collaborative learning where students use computer-aided systems to share information. The practice promotes understanding of concepts by learners as it facilitates the sharing of information between two or more learners (Nemati, 2014). According to Simon (2013), the principle of obtaining higher education qualification will remain the same but the framework of completing it will continue to evolve in line with technological advancements. All these developments point to the benefits digital technologies have brought to the education sector and how such advancements have made life more exciting than before.
The evolution witnessed in electronic commerce in the last two decades is a result of the technological advancements. Through the internet, businesses can advertise and distribute their products and services to millions of customers in the virtual world. Advertising companies use the internet to market their products to internet users by setting up advertising sites that give descriptions of the goods and services they are offering. Often, they employ cookies to track the browsing preferences of internet users to generate the adverts. Some companies have set out portals for customers to order or purchase products online, saving the amount of resources used to sell goods and services to customers (Shaw, 2015). Also, the banking industry has seen a remarkable transformation on how it conducts its business. Innovative online payments and money transfer platforms have improved the quality of the lives of people around the world. Customers no longer need to visit banking halls to access services as they can conduct their banking business so long as they can access the internet (Shaw, 2015). All these developments present a digitalized environment where peoples lives would become miserable if such tested technologies are withdrawn.
According to Nemati (2014), the information age has drastically changed the way we conduct our lives that people cannot survive without smartphones and social media. People chat and send each other instant messages through the digital technology as they derive a lot comfort and convenience from this type of communication. Digital-savvy individuals can share instant photos through social media platforms such as Facebook, WatsApp, and Instagram, a phenomenon the X generation did not enjoy. Today, individuals can record happenings in a particular area and within a minute, the shared videos are viewed by millions of people around the world. Digital natives no longer rely on mainstream media to receive information about events happening in various parts of the world. Simon (2013) argues that the degree of acceptance of these social networking sites is influenced by the added comfort, value or benefit relative to the former situation.' This explains the increased use of Twitter and Facebook by the older generation who see the developments as added benefit to their lives. Some generations were born into this lifestyle, and an absence of these digital technologies would make their lives unbearable.
Sports have witnessed tremendous transformation as a result of digital technologies. There is more engagement between the fans, players, referees and advertisers during sporting events. Sophisticated technologies are being used to aid the referees in making decisions during games. Notably, Basketball officials in the United States use high-tech aids to check the rightness of a referees call. Officials use replay systems to ensure players abide by the shooting time as allotted by the shot clocks. Also, cricket referees use replay systems to assist central umpires in making decisions during matches. The outfield umpires communicate through wireless technology, enabling all the match officials to participate instantly in the decision-making process (Hutchins & Rowe, 2012). In soccer, digital technologies are used to trace the trajectory of the ball through goal-line sensors. This technology helps central referees to make decisions on whether the ball crossed the goal-line or not ("Cutting-edge technology moves sport into the digital age - Telegraph," n.d.).On the fans front, ticketing has been made easier through an efficient online ticketing system where fans purchase tickets within their convenience. The fans are also able to follow coverage of live matches through live streaming from their smartphones or get real-time updates from online sports platforms (Hutchins & Rowe, 2012). Practically, the modern fan, cannot survive without these digital technologies.
The paradox of the information age is to overcome the challenges that have been brought with the digital technologies. In the digital world, it is very difficult to ensure that information is used for the benefit of its intended users. Some groups use the technologies to harm others, and these developments have caused a lot of dilemmas on the need for advanced technology (Brenner, 2010). Cybercrime is an everyday activity on the digital planet where criminals hack into the private information of individuals and institutions to steal classified information. Hackers, for instance, have been able to exploit the cookies technology to access passwords of bank accounts of customers, leading loss of money by the internet users (Brenner, 2010). Also, the social media platforms are being used to learn gang crime and other forms of criminal violence in the United States. In particular, terrorist are using these platforms to lure young people into joining terrorist groups (Hesterman, 2013). Moreover, the digital age has increased child trafficking. In the United States, teenagers are easily trafficked for sex purposes as a result of the popular digital communication platforms (Institute of Medicine & National Research Council, 2014). These happenings paint a dark picture on the gains modern technology has brought to the human race.
Privacy rights and freedoms of expression have been significantly reduced in the digital age. Government intelligence agencies monitor electronic communications, conduct data mining of internet user and eavesdrop on the millions of conversations of citizens for security uses (Angwin, 2014,).According to Greenwald (2014), NSA engages in mining of electronic data and spies on millions of conversations to obtain intelligence information. The revelations by Edward Snowden show how security agencies violate privacy rights. Some of the information gathered in this version is used to against internet users who have entrusted their privacy to communication giants such as Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft (Angwin, 2014). In China, digital technologies have been employed to suppress freedom of expression. Digital content is highly regulated by the government and most of the information posted or disseminated by telecommunication companies is highly filtered. Yahoo, for instance, released email account information to the Chinese security operatives, leading to the arrest of one of its customers. Shi Tao, the victim, received a ten-year sentence on charges of leaking state secrets (Bahareth & Mohammad, 2012)
In conclusion, digital technologies will continue to offer exciting opportunities and benefits to the current and future generations. In the digital world, its admirable to share information and interact with people regardless of their location on the globe. Also, the technologies have revolutionized how business activities such as banking are conducted for the benefit and convenience of the customers. On the sports front, fans enjoy sports events more than ever in the history of the world. However, there are negative aspects of these developments such as increased crime and violation of rights and freedoms of the inhabitants of the planet. It is important for internet users to understand that information divulged onto the web always ceases to be private. Whichever the effects, digital technology will continue adding value to our lives as a result of the opportunities and benefits technological advancements offer to humanity.
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Hutchins, B., & Rowe, D. (2012). Sport beyond television: The internet, digital media and the rise of networked media sport. New York: Routledge.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.),, National Research Council (U.S.). (2014). Confronting commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States: A guide for providers of victim and support services.
Nemati, H. R. (2014). Analyzing security, trust, and crime in the digital world.
Shaw, M. (2015). E-commerce and the digital economy. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Simon, D. (2013). Social media equals social customer: Managing customer experience in the age of social media. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse Inc.
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