In the modern world

In the modern world, it may seem as if people cannot live without technologies like their cell phones, computers, laptops, tablets, etc. These technologies have become an imperative part of communicating in our day to day lives. For some people, it might be difficult to imagine how a day might go without the use of these technologies. There are also people who purposefully limit their use of phones and computers. To understand communication technologies and the roles they play it is best to look at them in terms of advantages and disadvantages. This paper will create a framework to illustrate the factors that influence the ways in which utopian and dystopian outcomes occur
Undeniably, there has been a huge increase in new forms of technology and the availability of information. People have the ability to connect through many networks, providing communication links that no one even thought were possible as little as ten years ago (Caron, 2015). For that reason, people have a lot of different views on how they think this technology will affect society. For example, these technological advances excite researchers, developers, journalists, and the people that like to stay up to date with new things or like to stay as connected as possible. Many people take on a utopian view of what technology means for our world long-term. It is vital to point out that a utopian view does not necessarily apply to the technologies themselves, but rather, the opportunities they provide. It’s helpful to look at this view as an, “analyses in which the use of specific technologies plays a key role in shaping a utopian vision, in which their use easily makes life enchanting and liberating for nearly everyone” (Kling, 1996).
This view encompasses all of the people who benefit from sharing information/media, learning new things, connecting with new people, as well as, maintaining relationships. This abundance of information has led to the globalization of our world. Ideas, concepts, images, music, services, etc. are attainable from across the world because of these networks. We are also able to connect with our loved ones regardless of where they are geographically. “Researchers have identified the capacity of the Internet to liberate interpersonal relationships from the confines of physical locality and create opportunities for new personal relationships and communities” (Rheingold, 1993). We now have the ability to reach out to our strong, weak or latent ties by simply sending a message via social media at the touch of our fingertips. There is no time delay and we can be chatting with someone hundreds of miles away, in an instant.
Just as there are those who predict that the internet will liberate relationships and benefit our communities, there are also those who fear what widespread technological advances may ruin our “human nature”. Birkerts talks about his concern that people will experience increased alienation with the continued use of communication technologies. He writes, “Immersed in an environment of invisible signals and operations, we find it as unthinkable to walk five miles to visit a friend as it was once unthinkable to speak across that distance through a wire” (Birkerts, 1996). This a good example of how any new technology can bring about the good and the bad. A major concern facing communication technologies is that they have, and will continue to, create a disconnect from people and their presence in day to day life. Specifically, there are concerns that people are replacing face to face interactions and prioritizing social interaction online (Zemmels, 2012).
Stemming from this idea, are the issues that online communication is not as personal and has made it more difficult to communicate face to face. Online communication occurs largely through social media networks, which often means you are speaking through text-based messages instead of face to face or phone calls. This allows us to communicate in short, carefully constructed messages that lack the immediacy and nonverbal cues that we are used to. This may come across as less personal and gives opens up an opportunity for strangers to fake an identity or falsify information about themselves. “There are no universal standards for posting information online, and digital information may be easily altered, plagiarized, misrepresented, or created anonymously under false pretenses” (Metzger 2007). For these reasons, a major worry exists that online relationships can be less meaningful, shallow and impersonal. People who connect with others primarily through technology might find it difficult to engage in normal conversation, since they may have issues understanding nonverbal cues due to lack of practice with face to face conversations that can’t be edited or filtered (Ramos-Soler, 2018).