Living In A Digital World

Living In A Digital World


TOC o “1-3” h z u 1. Introduction PAGEREF _Toc377249283 h 12. Background of digital technologies PAGEREF _Toc377249284 h 23. Digital technologies contribution to individual’s quality of living PAGEREF _Toc377249285 h 24. Benefits of digital technologies for organisations PAGEREF _Toc377249286 h 65. Advantages of digital technology to Society PAGEREF _Toc377249287 h 86. Limitation of digital technology to individuals PAGEREF _Toc377249288 h 117. Limitation of digital technology to organisations PAGEREF _Toc377249289 h 125. Limitation of digital technology to society PAGEREF _Toc377249290 h 146. Develop digital technologies to avoid disadvantages PAGEREF _Toc377249291 h 158. Conclusion and Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc377249292 h 20

1. IntroductionIn the advent of electricity invention, the world continues to experience the effect of innovators. Gadgets that make the work of people easier, easier, and efficient have had an increase in numbers. During the last 100 years, gadgets developed intended to take care of national and international security and were under the exclusive usage of the government. When technological companies began been operational this changed. More people are using the gadgets and the lives of the general populations are becoming easier while organisations are increasing their efficiency. Competitive advantage depends largely on the ability of a given organisation to take advantage of technological advancement to make the life of their clients better.

To the society, organisations, and individuals technology is a lifestyle. The fact of the matter is that while on one hand technology has many opportunities it has its demerits. On the positive side technology will save people time, save them money, increase their connectivity, increase significant value to businesses, and the improvement of a nation’s economy. On the other hand, it will increase unemployment, have negative environmental impacts, invade the privacy of individuals, facilitate insecurity, and have health complications.

This report follows the following structure. The next section discuss a general background of digital technology, section 3 explain the advantages of such technologies to an individual, organisation, and the society, section 4 will review the limitation of technologies, section 5 focus on ways of avoiding technological disadvantages, section 6 contains a personal experiment. The final section of the paper concludes with recommendations.

2. Background of digital technologiesAccording to Mitzner et al. (2010), technology is generally “any electronic or digital product or service”. Digital technology history started centuries ago, with some researchers proposing that technologies began with the creation of the Abacus. They add that the last decade has seen the most development in digital technology innovation and an increase of interest among individuals in such technology. Most people see these technologies as a way of making the world smaller and closer. For example, the ease of use of Internet, social networking websites, and Internet voice communication makes people communicate faster and effectively. On the other hand, organisations realise that these technologies are sources of maximizing profit and customers’ base.

The creation of the internet was after the development of computers, it began as a military experiment after the World War II as a source of exchanging data under the name Arpanet (Banks 2012). Although the use of such technology was exclusive to governments, today this service is having daily application among many people, as the use of Internet becomes a life style for most people from young to the relatively aged. Still, individual usage of Internet increased in last decade from 361 million users to 2.3 billion users with an increase of 528% all over the world (IWS 2011). As well, global consumer technology spending in 2012 is expected to exceed USD 1 trillion, increasing by 5% compared to the preceding year (CEA 2012). This is all because digital technologies provide suitable opportunities to individuals, organisations, and the society.

3. Digital technologies contribution to individual’s quality of livingUsing digital technologies such as computers and Internet has improved the living quality of the individuals. Atkinson and Castro (2008) proposed that the use of digital technologies by individuals participated in improvement of their education, training, health care, personal safety, and accessibility for people with disabilities, recreation and entertainment, save time, facilitate communication, and access to information

3.1 Education and Training

The use of digital technology enhances the individual ability to educate. For example, online classes (e-learning) gives busy people the opportunity to learn in any location and time. Likewise, the internet education application gives students at all levels access to new and revised information for their needs. Into the bargain, innovations such as Edline assist parents to supervise their children educational progress effectively (NY). Over 700 empirical studies in the US show that students with access to computers, learning system technologies, simulation and software that teaches high order thinking show positive gains to their achievements (Schacter 1999).

3.2 Health care

According to the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care in Australia (2000), over the 20th century, the use of health-care technologies improved and the average individual life expectancy in industrialised countries has increased from around 45 to 75 years. Based on ABC news report (2010) the use of MRIs and CT scans devices tripled in the US between 1996 and 2006. According to the report, these technological medical instruments “can help doctors detect everything from kidney stones to cancer”. Hence, digital technologies have a huge contribution in maintenance of the healthcare of an individual.

3.3 Personal safety

Digital technology of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) has a major contribution in securing homes from crimes. In the United States, public CCTV associated with a 13% reduction in crime (HYPERLINK “”Ratcliffe et al. 2009). According to Tilley (1993), “car crime in general including that in car parks in particular is clearly a serious issue” and such crimes can reduce with the implementation of CCTV technology. To boot, digital technology involvements in personal safety is not exclusive to the reduction of crimes only, but also protecting the safety of the senior people in their home and elsewhere with the use of medical alert system.

3.4 Accessibility for people with disabilities

In the last decade, digital technologies providers have been considering the use of their product by people with different kind of disabilities. For instance, Apple “includes assistive technology in its products as standard features” all of Apple products includes “screen magnification and voice order, a screen-access technology” these type of features are offered to support the blind and visually impaired people (Apple n.d.). Besides, there can be the configuration of the global positioning system tool (GPS) to Personal digital assistants (Cornelius 2007) to help in the guidance for people with specific disabilities. Such as, including the verbal directions in the GPS can provide guidance help for people who have difficulties with their eyes.

3.5 Recreation and Entertainment

Digital technologies are improving the quality of entertainment; this includes the new LED high definition televisions with three dimension screens. On top, new Apple devices with 64 GB can hold up to 14,000 songs (everymac). Also, online gaming can make people at all ages to play games with people from all over the world, one player can be sitting in his home in Australia and the other player located in UK and still play the same game at the same time with extremely high resolution pictures and motions.

3.5 Save time

Digital technology contributes in saving people time. Smart phones such as iPhone, Blackberry, and Android helps individual to communicate regardless of the time or location. The use of such devices, searching information instantly instead of spending time in libraries, and searching for shops locations is possible. On the other hand, Emails allow people to communicate directly, saving users the time of writing letters and sending it through mailboxes that might take few days to get to its destination. This study indicates that all kinds of digital technologies make the life of people easier in certain ways that have a negative correlation with time saving.

3.6 Facilitate communication

In the last decade, the use of Social Networking Services has become of increasing interest among young individuals from all over the world, these networks enable individual to communicate regardless of their time zones. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace are examples of technological communications. According to a study performed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (2009, p.8), 90% of young people aged 12 to 17 years use the social networking services as compared to 51% of children aged 8 to 11 years. Collin et al. (2010) found that the benefits of the use of social networking communication include “delivering educational outcomes, facilitating supportive relationships, identity formation, and promoting a sense of belonging and self-esteem”.

3.7 Access to information

Internet allows individuals to discover about locations without having to be actually present. For instance, travellers can find all information they need about their destination, starting from flight schedules and prices, to hotels alternatives and evaluations of these accommodations, as well as recommended hot spots. In education, students and lecturers can access all kinds of information without visiting the library. In health care, patients can find lots of information about their medical condition. In the retailing industry, digital technology enables Individuals to buy anything they want over the Internet starting from grocery needs to the management of their equity shares (Atkinson & Castro 2008).

4. Benefits of digital technologies for organisationsAccording to Bonnet et al. (2012), most organisations invest “in a common set of digital technology” in order to enhance performance and functionality of their internal and external processes, expand clients base, foster customers loyalty, and maximize organisations profitability. Digital technologies not only affect businesses but also the transformation process (Baltzan et al. 2010).

4.1 Business processes and the use of digital technologies

According to Attaran (2003), advance information technology has evolved in redesigning organisation processes. It helped businesses to speed up the processes, reduce needed resources, improve productivity and efficiency, and improve their competitiveness. In addition, digital technologies create more flexible, team-oriented, coordinative, and communication based work capability to improve processes and performance. Organisation use of digital technologies may not only improve individual processes, but also may support processes combination and integration across the organization (Basu and Blanning 2003).

In 1956, IBM created the first hard drive computer under the name 305 RAMAC, it could store up to 4.4 MB of data and the company leased this storage device for USD 3,200 per month (IBM n.d.). Today, organisations can use various types of digital technologies, such as smart phones, laptops, tablets, virtual communication, and emails to achieve similar goals. As well, organisation database and warehouses has now a tremendous and flexible capability to save data with the ability to real time information.

4.2 Digital technology and business value

According to Melville et al. (2004), information technology may enable organisations to increase efficiency regardless of whether copied by competitors or not. David Sward (2006, p.7), a Senior Researcher at Intel Corporation, proposes, “IT investment alone is not a guarantee to improve productivity”. In addition to investing in IT, an enterprise must also manage the IT ecosystem and business process” this will lead to better business values. What is more, Thadani (2011) think, “Company accounts and customer records can be easily stored and accessed, and this increases the market penetration of the business”.

4.3 Digital business (e-business and e-commerce)

Internet helped organisations to communicate with their customers and suppliers not only in their location but also beyond local markets. As such, many organisations adopt e-business in order to reduce costs. E-business also allows small businesses to compete with larger businesses, reach new markets, improve marketing strategies, and increase sales (Ministry of Small Business and Consumer Services 2008). The e-commerce on the other hand, enables businesses to buy and sell products over the Internet, e-commerce reference to online transactions only (our book).

4.4 E-learning

Educational and training institutions can provide their services over the Internet or by a software application. Through E-learning, there can be the deliverance of education from any location. Merits of e-learning is that it is cost effective than traditional learning, more flexible, easy to personalize to individual needs. Moreover, educational institutions return on investment for E-learning can be 50% to 60% greater compared to traditional teaching and training (Boggs 2004). A study performed by Concannon et al. (2005, p. 511) results that over 70% of the E-learning students were happy with the overall e-learning outcome.

5. Advantages of digital technology to SocietyAccording to Hearst (1999), “Society and information technology are rapidly co-evolving, and often in surprising ways”. Technologies provided many pluses to societies, and societies are dependent on technology in many aspects. Societal classifications have the basis of their efficient and effective use of different kind of technologies that facilitate and protect people’s life, rights, and wellbeing.

5.1 Economic

According to Loo and Soete (1999), “The relationship between technology and economic growth has been captured in a vast number of formal models for almost half a century”. Digital technology has been a major driver for economy growth. Kozma, (2005) research, suggests that growth an economic output can occur with an increase in digital technology input. In addition, Singapore’s per capita GDP Between 1970 and 1989 grew by 6.7% annually, and one of the main reasons of this growth is adopting technological innovation strategies.

5.2 Government

Developed countries governments have the commitment to provide the best services to the people; this can only possible through the efficient use of effective technology. According to the Australian public service commission (2002), implementing e-government ensure the there is quality and accessibility of various services offered to the citizens. Digital technology helps the government to perform their duties and responsibilities in more efficient and effective manner. In addition, digital technology helps governments to improve consistently their services and their internal procedures.

5.3 Energy

For almost a century, countries have been using different kind of non-renewable energy that includes coal, oil, and natural gas. New technologies can play a crucial role in adopting renewable energy resources such as sun, wind, and water flow (Department of Commerce 2009) while digital technology can participate in reducing the use of energy. For example, new technologies can reduce the number of travel of workers using virtual meeting applications. Telework such as the use of mobile, e-mail, instant massages, and faxes helps organisations to work in their home, which might reduce the consumption of huge amounts of energy in the work place.

5.4 Environment

There was a conduction of an international agreement conducted between industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse emissions (the Kyoto Protocol, 1997). Today, most of the developed countries are racing to reduce their carbon consumptions. This is possible through creating cleaner source of energy. Digital technology plays a vital role in calculating and tracking such pollutions (air and water) all over the world. In addition, specific complicated technologies find application in measuring and monitoring the global warming.

5.5 Public safety

Safety is a primary need for all humans (Maslow 1970, p. 18). Advanced technology helps countries to monitor all their boarders, cargo, and ports to ensure people’s safety. It is also possible to minimize, prevent, and detect crimes by the use of technology. Such as, fingerprints, images of the face, and DNA analysis, helps in detecting peoples misconduct that will have a direct relationship to the reduction of this kind of undesired behaviour. Furthermore, the National Safety Agency of Australia (2010) announced that new police cars would have “a multiple network, multi function voice and data communications system configurable to user requirements and incorporating I.P. and Wi-Fi connectivity, metro and country radio networks, Next G, and satellite applications providing a number of redundancy options”. This will help in the event connection to primary network is lost. These functions will help police enforcement in controlling and monitoring the public safety.

Another major role of technology is to maintain the public safety with the development of complex tools that monitor the activity of natural disasters such as earthquake, tornado, and volcano. The use of such technologies will enable the notification of people of such activities when there are expectations they can occur. This gives people time to move away from these disasters to ensure and maximize the safety of the public.

6. Limitation of digital technology to individualsAlthough digital technologies have many advantages to the individuals, there are many limitations associated with such benefits. For instance, digital technology makes people’s life more complex, video games and online entertainment may affect the youth academic performance. Digital technology may further result to laziness and loss of personality. A crucial disadvantage of technology is violating individual privacy as well exposing individuals’ confidential information. This study discusses only three major limitation of digital technology.

6.1 Privacy violation

Most people nowadays save their personal and confidential information on their personal computer and will post their private photos on social networking services. This new form of attitude exposes individual privacy to many people around the world. Unfortunately, social networking sites will track user’s activities for marketing purposes. Data scraping uses private information without the owners consent in order to market products based on the individuals’ interests and needs. This raises ethical issues concerning the use of some social networking services.

6.2 Health issues

Recent study by psychologist Balding (cited in the British physiological society 2012) found that there is a significant relationship between stress and the use of smart phones by individuals. Young et al. (2012) found that the way an individual sits to use tablets increases the risk of having head and neck strain. Spending many hours using online networking in addition can cause biological effects that could increase the risk of getting serious health issues such as, cancer and heart disease (BBC 2009).

6.3 Childhood

Uncontrolled digital technology has a major side effect on children’s attitude. For example, children’s who spend more time in front of the TV increases the risk of overweight. Moreover, several studies found that the effect of TV violence may cause children to accept such behaviour as a way to resolve problems and always will feel that something bad is going to happen to them (AACAP 2011). Allowing children to play games with imaginary characters may appear innocent in childhood, but it could leads to potential difficulties in their adulthood while continued playing of video games damages children’s eyes overtime. According to Buffardi and Campbell (2008) found that they is a direct relationship between the extensive use of social networking websites and Narcissistic especially for teenagers and young adults.

7. Limitation of digital technology to organisationsNowadays, digital technology plays a crucial role in all kind of businesses. Although these technologies help organisations to achieve reaching their optimal strategies, there are many disadvantages of using such technology. These limitations can sometime lead to complete business failure. Moreover, some advanced technology used in businesses could affect employees’ attitude and behaviours by an unethical use of technology by the business management.

7.1 Security issues

Data and information security are one of key success to any organisation. Currently, most organisations involve in an Internet activity that makes them exposed to hackers and all kind of viruses. However, with out proper protections, organisations display their confidential information about them business operations as well as their clients. Others can have access to the information illegally. Moreover, without appropriate safeguard of tangible and intangible assets, employees could harm the business by a mistake or purposely by steel such data and information.

7.2 Employee privacy

Day to day operation by staff use of technologies such as email and their access to Internet are subject to supervision by the management. This kind of attitude could cause unethical behaviour complications on the part of the management. Such approach may affect employees’ confidence and trust. Moreover, many organisations uses surveillance camera in order to supervise certain operations or assets. According to Kidwell and Bennett (1994) “Electronic monitoring control systems could have an important relationship to employee stress” that may affect organisation performance.

7.3 Employees’ technologytraining costs

A large potential cost to organisations is training employees to use different kinds of technology effectively and efficiently. To boot, spending organisation time in training instead of production is likely to be unprofitable in the short run. Likewise, organisations usually dedicate small amount of time in training employees, this could result to staff efficiency reduction. What is more, with the increase development of digital technology, organisations have to have constant training programs to employees. For that reason, the use of technology could be costly to some type of organisations.

7.4 Implementation Cost

The use of effective technology in organisations requires many funds. For instance, the cost of implementing different kind of software’s could result in internal and external costs in addition to the price of the software. Internal costs could include the time spent by employees in customising software’s that require participation of most employees at all levels. Besides, internal costs could also include employees training cost on how to use such softwares. On the other hand, external costs are associated with the cost of the software maintenance and support.

5. Limitation of digital technology to societyAlthough digital technology has many advantages to society, there are many limitations associated with these advantages. Technology made the way societies live easier, but limitations increase the complications. Also, depending of digital technology increase the variance between societies knowledge

5.1 Unemployment

In the unemployment literature, many researchers proposed that technology advancement has been causing many people to lose their jobs. Aghion and Howitt (1994) found that technology progress has a negative correlation with the rate of unemployment. That is why there are many risks associated with creating new technologies. In addition, major social problems have a close relation to the increase in rate of unemployment; this includes the increase of crime rates. Although, digital technology participate in protect and ease people life’s, it has an indirect side effects to the society.

5.2 Pollution

Today, digital technology is participating in reducing environmental pollution by monitoring and measuring the amount of pollution worldwide. On the other hand, manufacturing of technology is in industries or maybe worse. The matter of fact is that the main source of using digital technology by people is traditional electricity and gas. According to the World Nuclear Association (2012) over 90% of Australia, energy consumption is black coal, brown coal, and gas. Therefore, societies are consuming lots of energy in order to use the various technologies that have a direct affect on increasing the pollution.

5.3 Social isolation

Using the Internet and social networking website made people all over the world closer to each other. This statement has been under criticism by many physiologic researchers. Kraut et al. (1998) found that increased use of the Internet is negatively associated with reduced family communication and decrease size of social circles. On another study, Sanders et al. (2000) found that low Internet users, had significantly better relationships with their mothers and friend compared with high Internet users. Matters of fact, people are lazier now, and children are less involved with physical entertainment that used to be fun in the past. These activities build a healthier body and create a personality based on direct communication that this study states will have a direct positive effect to their maturity.

6. Develop digital technologies to avoid disadvantages6.1 Individuals

According to the Australian Office of the Information Commissioner (n.d.), in order to protect individual private information, individuals should enhance their online securities that includes visiting websites that have adequate privacy policies, install and use privacy enhancing software that includes firewalls, anti spam tools, cookie and web bug remover. Individuals should upload and provide information as less as possible, in addition to advertising filters.

Technology providers should be committed to educate parents to supervise their children’s use of various technologies such as entertainment games, TV, access to Internet websites, and social networking networks. As shown prior in this report, excessive use of digital technology by children has direct affect to their wellbeing and their personality. There should also be the development of technologies to minimize the health effect to the adults if used for continuous hours. In an example, laptops manufacturer could develop their products to have compulsory turn off after one hour of continued use; this will help the individuals to take a brake that might benefit their health (eyes and body) over the long run.

6.2 Organization

Information privacy and security are major issues for many organisations, especially organisations that are involved in an access use of Internet and have limited resources to protect it self from the illegal and unethical act of other users of the Internet. In order for all organisations to avoid and protect its data and information, operating systems providers such as Windows should provide a complementary effective anti-viruses software. Moreover, this study found that governments all over the world should force software companies to provide complementary anti-virus protection to all their clients free and such software should be updated continuously.

With the extensive use of digital technologies by organisations, employees’ skills and knowledge need consistent improvement. This has them meaning that organisations should have training programs to help the staff keep up with the fast technology advancement. Still, organisation management should develop their internal policies as not to violate employees’ privacy.

6.3 Society

Peoples nowadays have complete dependency on technology. It is the duty of the governments to educate the people, organisations to teach their subordinates, and parents to speak to their children about the bad side of the technology obsession. Many researchers indicate that although technology eases our life, it has other negative effects. These bad sides include major health issues such as laziness, and matters that relate to human personality.

Organisations understand that the use of technology is cost-efficient and have a negative direct relationship to recruitment. It is the duty of the government and technological firms to provide newer jobs for citizens or assist by developing their technology in a way that it does not replace human beings. Besides, technology development should be in order to safeguard the health of normal people.

7. Personal experiment

There was the carrying out of an experiment of living without the use of digital technology luxuries in this report. This study imagines that living without technology is extremely difficult in performing daily responsibilities. On the positive side, a major advantage is that there where more direct face-to-face interaction with the people as compared with the use of technology and concentration levels increase consequently.

7.1 Time of experiment

To take the maximum results for this experiment, this study was segregated into three parts. It performed the first part on Friday 4th of April 2012, by travelling in train between two areas without the use of the schedule applications of iPhone transport. Second part was conducted on Friday 11April 2012, it is based on going to a certain location in Sydney CBD with using map directions. The last part on Saturday 13 April 2012, this was turning off the mobile in a friend gathering for around three hours.

7.2 Technologies often used

I usually use my iPhone for website browsing and short reading, in addition to Internet instant messaging application. I also use MacBook laptop to search for detail information over the Internet and to prepare my study assignments. Yet, I do not enjoy reading from screens me usually print and read. Also, am not a big fan of social networking website because I do not prefer to reveal my private information to others as well as not liking the violation of others privacy. What is more, my life is not completely dependent of technology that is why I had to segregate this experiment into three parts, in order to achieve the goal of this experiment.

7.3 The most important technology

This study indicates that living without a smart phone is hard, as these mobiles put the whole world in the user’s hand. Smart phone users can do many functions in one device, they can browse the Internet, operate their email, perform International call for free, send and receive instant massages for free, download magazines, newspapers, and journals. What is more, smart phone users can use these devices as a camera, they can send and receive photos, they can use map directions in case they are cannot find their way around cities or selected locations. There are many app