Wednesday, 17 March 2010

New technology - a good servant or a bad master?

In 1969, when the first stirrings of the Internet began, no one could have imagined its impact. The mobile phone started to make its presence felt at the beginning of the 1970s, and so began the creation of a whole lot of new possibilities and a possible marriage between the two.

Now, we have connectivity like never before, from the four corners of the world to our own front room, accessing information and each other in a way that our parents would have once thought impossible.

It’s opened up many great possibilities, from working remotely to allowing small, sustainable business to start up in developing countries. Today, you can be reached any time, virtually anywhere, by just about any and every one. Day or night. Day and night. There is no reason to ever be unavailable, ever again.

Is this a good idea?

It depends. There’s no doubt that the mobile phone, for example, has been of great benefit. The BlackBerry creates opportunities to receive emails remotely, without having to be tied to an office desk. The laptop can be taken anywhere. The 3G iPhone, with all its Apps enables us to tap into a wealth of information from cooking to monitoring the money markets. Information, at the touch of a finger, from a gadget that weighs less than a pack of cards.

And for a wealth of interruptions, distractions and possibilities for procrastination, you need look no further.

So here’s the catch. It may be that getting into the habit of being constantly available, constantly aware, constantly connected, could be getting in the way of concentration. New technology needs no downtime and, by extension, it’s easy to believe that neither do we. That we can multi-task, juggle, and switch back and forth with impunity.

But just because you can, does it mean you should?

1 comment:

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