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Effects of Technology

Advancement in technology has affected many people in many ways. New
technology has altered peoples’ consciousness, language, and the way society
views the world. Technological advancements have made the world smaller, and
have made things easier. Computers have been the inventions that have
advanced so much since they were developed and have had such a big impact on
humanity. Computers were originally developed to use for doing calculations
and have come to the point that people cannot function normally without them.
“Humans were once considered to be superior to all other creatures of the
Earth. The reason for human supremacy was the ability to think, process
data, store information, and perform calculations”(Silver, 5). Until the
second half of the twentieth century, nothing could perform these tasks
faster and more accurately than the human mind.

Use of Computers
“Computers first became available in the early 1950s to be used as “super
calculators” for processing numbers. Since then, computers have evolved into
something far superior” (Silver, 10). Much of the reason for the rapid
growth and popularity of computers was an increase in paperwork in business
and government. “More forms, letters, memos, reports, correspondence, and
documents are generated in one day today than were produced in the entire
nineteenth century”(Silver, 13). People came to realize that the computer is
the best, most efficient, timesaving tool to control information.

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In 1950 there were only a dozen or so large-scale computers in the United
States. By 1975 the number had grown to 155,000. Soon after came the
invention of minicomputers, microprocessors, and desktop computers. By the
1990s, a personal computer had grown to become a necessity in almost every
home and business. In less than three decades, the computer has become
indispensable to business, industry, government, in school, and home.
Computer literacy is now considered as vital as learning to read and is to be
taught to everyone.

The influence of computer technology is evident in many aspects of
society. Whether it is to help space exploration or processing checks or
producing mailing labels, computers are used. Applications of computers in
society influence each typical person. Some recognition of the role of
computers results from the way computers direct the daily lives of the
individual or the family. “The average person forms some impressions on
computers and their pervasiveness in society while the larger, philosophical
issues may never reach a conscious level of awareness” (Mathews, 43).
Computers provide assistance for many applications such as handling money
and record keeping. Though they can be useful, computers can be bad if used
improperly. Computers were not developed to think for us; they do not think
but rather follow directions. Computers are thought to have changed society
but in actuality society has allowed computers to change them. People rely
on their computers for everything even tasks that can be accomplished without
using a computer. A prime example of this is the internet.

The internet was first introduced in 1983 as an extended source of
information. Internet access provides the user with information about almost
any topic. On-line services, which provide reference materials, electronic
mail, and the internet, provide anything and everything a person could
possibly need to know about. Instead of writing and mailing a letter to a
friend, you could send e-mail directly to his/her computer. Rather than
going to the library to do research, a person could sit in front of the
computer and find that same information within a matter of minutes. A user
on the internet could also go shopping, watch a movie, or talk to unknown
people across the world. “Millions of people on every continent participate
in computer-mediated social groups called virtual communities, and this
population is growing fast”(Rheingold, 35). The internet also allows new
people from all over to meet eachother and “chat.”
Internet Misuse
“Chatting” over the internet is not always safe because people could be
telling others that they are someone other than they are. Some people who
“chat” with others sometimes arrange to meet eachother; this is not a safe
idea because often when these people have met bad things happen to them. The
internet also allows users to view “cyberporn,” which is a computerized
sexual image. “Cyberhate” is also becoming a problem for internet users.
“Cyberhate is Web publishing literature that advocates acts of violence and
intimidation motivated by prejudice based on race, religion, sexual
orientation, or ethnicity”(Gay, 24). The internet is also unsafe because
there are ways of one user to obtain names, addresses, social security
numbers, etc. about any person in the world. There are ways to find credit
card numbers of people making a purchase over the internet as well. Privacy
has become an almost impossible idea since the internet has been around.

Clinton’s Educational Reform
In 1996, President Clinton proposed his “educational reform.” As a part
of this reform, he proposed to have every school connected to the information
superhighway, or internet, by the year 2000. Clinton also suggests that all
students become computer literate and internet familiar starting at a young
age. “I want to get the children of America hooked on education through
computers; we must make technological literacy a standard,” said President
Clinton. However, Clinton’s networking goal seems beyond reach. Currently,
3% of the nations classrooms have internet connections, and only about 16% of
teachers use the internet or computer-based connection services like America
Online, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the Denver
research firm Quality Education Data Inc. “Linking the remaining classrooms
and students could cost $30 billion or more, plus at least $5 billion in
annual operating expenses”(Conte, 2). In the past, reading, writing and
arithmetic were fundamental to a student’s success. In the 1990s, the
fundamentals became reading, writing, arithmetic and internet.

“Society has become, in many ways, too dependant of computers”(Moore,
68). Tasks that were normally handled without computers are now completed
with a computer. “Computer technology is meant to be used as a convenience
to help users complete work faster and more accurately”(Farina, 92).
However, society has made computers more of a necessity, especially in recent
years. For this reason, all of these problems like cyberhate arise.
Whether we like it or not, computer technology has advanced to the point
of becoming a major part of our lives. Each time we use a credit card or
register for a class on campus, we are all affected by computers. Computers
influence our activities, attitudes, and the way we think. The influence of
computers will continue to expand in the future, but people have to learn not
to revolve their lives around computers.

Works Cited
1. Farina, Stephen. The Wired Neighborhood. New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1996
2. Gay, Martin K. The New Information Revolution. California: ABC-CLIO, 1996
3. Mathews, Walter M. ed. Monster or Messiah? :The Computer’s Impact on
Society. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1980
4. Moore, Dinty W. The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes: the naked truth about the
internet culture. North Carolina: Algonquin Books, 1995
5. Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley
Publishing Co., 1993
6. Silver, Gerald A. The Social Impact of Computers. New York: Harcourt Brace
Jovanovich Inc. 1979
7. Conte, Christopher. “Networking the Classroom.” Congressional Quarterly
Researcher Oct. 1995


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