Effects of computer programming/technology on human behavior

The continued use of computers in our everyday life is beginning to alter how we as humans behave. For instance, “multitasking, output and efficiency” (Ullman 2) concepts that ideally just work for machines are slowly defining “human thought and imagination” (Ullman 2).

Computers have a way of actively engaging an individual or seeking their attention when they are about their businesses by either popping up messages on the desktop about “unused icons on your desktop” (Ullman 1) or aid you in writing a document with software like “Clippit” (Ullman 1).

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The concept of multitasking “introduced in 1960’s, was an engineering strategy for making computers more efficient” (Ullman 1) and it achieved this by switching “its attention to some other task” (Ullman 1) while waiting for the next human input when being used.

It is only natural for humans to want to adapt this type of efficiency after “years of working in an environment where efficiency is a god and idleness in any component is intolerable” (Ullman 2) by keeping themselves “as busy as possible” and focusing on different things at the same time (Ullman 2).

For instance, we can “drive, eat, talk on the cell phone” simultaneously in an attempt to be efficient; “the ability to multitask, to switch rapidly among many competing focuses of attention, has become a hallmark of a successful citizen of the 21st century” (Ullman 1). With its continuous advancements, modern technology will continue having an impact especially in the areas of communication, information and lifestyle.

Technology and Communication

Communication has never been faster or even more instant with the day to day use of both phones and computers. Phones transitioned from the basic feature phones people used to own for the sole purpose of calling and texting, to smart phones that have amazing capabilities and have adapted the concepts of computers. In his article, Mobile Telephone History, Tim Farley exhaustively discussed the development of these devices.

These devices have brought unique changes (Farley 1). Firstly, mobile phones, whether the smart phones or otherwise, provide an avenue for communication among people of different geographic locations, making distance no obstacle. Software like Skype, enable voice or video calls over the internet and this links friends and families in different continents whether using phones or computers. Secondly, communication has also become instant since one is able to get immediate feedback without delays.

Email services have facilitated efficient communication between employers and employees, students and lecturers, in comparison to letter writing which as compared to previous times would take much longer. Thirdly, all these devices have reduced face to face/personal interaction since communication is hugely done using these avenues. This is definitely a negative effect in as much as communication has been enhanced by modern technology.

Technology and Information/Education

Modern technology has in effect enhanced our accessibility to information, whether it is about general world news or completing our research projects for school work. In terms of education: students are able to have online discussion forums, do extensive researches and currently there are even online courses which are available for those who cannot attend classes (this is a milestone since conventionally, classrooms were the only forums of learning).

Thomas highlighted some negativity to this form of education. He claimed that although “online discussion forums can be effective in developing student’s knowledge…they do not allow for social construction between students” (Thomas 1).

Another commendable result of modern technology is its ability to make the globe small, i.e. when it comes to television; people in various places can all be streaming live news coverage in a totally different location from the viewers. This means that information is widespread and covers a larger span in the shortest time possible.

Technology has also enabled news and other events watched on television to be streamed live using computers connected to the internet. Other than education and information, in recent times there have been social networks like facebook, tweeter, among others which the young generation has particularly embraced as a form of disbursing information. Much of the rapid spread of news, information and even learning material owe it to technology for providing easy instant access to such.

Technology and lifestyle

Our lifestyles have been transformed by advancing technology. Life can definitely be said to have become easier in more ways than one. First change that is undeniably notable is in the house environment.

People own microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, driers, vacuum cleaners etc, all in an attempt to ease the work they need to do. Secondly, the transport industry cannot be said to have been left behind in this technology. Buses, planes trains and trams, all characterize how we are networking the different geographic locations in order that efficient mobility is achieved.

Lastly, the work environment is also not spared for there are different machines and devices that have been adapted to improve productivity and enhance efficiency. Robots are also gaining popularity in such forums since they can do the extra work humans allocate them. With all this in mind, as much as our lifestyle is improving by reducing the amount of work we do, caution need to be taken that individuals do not resort to laziness with the excuse that machines will do the work for them.

Works Cited

Farley, Tom. Mobile Telephone History. Cems, 2005. Web. April 16, 2011.

Thomas, Matthew. The Impacts of technology on communication- mapping the limits of online discussion forums. Impact of Technology, 2000. Web. April 16, 2011.

Ullman, Ellen. “The Boss in the Machine.” New York Times, February 19, 2005. Web. April 16, 2011.


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