Technology has been constantly improving. Since it was ultimately meant for improving the comfort of human beings, it has to keep changing and improving in line with the changing needs of people. It has, however, impacted the society in both positive and negative ways.
As technology progresses, society has “never been more connected”. It has, however, also seen a lot of social change and made people open themselves up to more government control. It has, furthermore, made them more disconnected than ever before.
Technology has profoundly affected the nature of social institutions, behaviors, and relations. The social institutions have not been secured from the effects of technology. The institutions of marriage, religion, and morality among others have been altered. Modern technology has taken away industries from the household thus slowly changing the family organization. Other agencies have taken over most functions of the family through technology. For instance, procreation was one of the basic roles of couples in a family set-up, but now it is possible to have test tube babies. The sanctity of marriage is being slowly lost. The sacred bond that was associated with marriage has now been replaced with civil contracts. There is an intensification of divorce, separation, and desertion. Religion is losing hold over its followers. Individuals are becoming more scientific, rational, and secular but less religious in their attitude. Scientific inventions and discoveries have brought doubt to the religious foundations. The role of the state has been broadened. Modern technology has made the states carry out functions such as the protection of the aged, provision of health care, and many other family functions. Inventions in transport and technology are causing a shift of roles from local to the central government. The modern inventions have also reinforced nationalism.
Governments have resorted to the use of new technology to exercise control over the public. They rely on technologies aimed at the provision of the free exchange of information, especially the internet to control the populaces. With such a free exchange of information, there have emerged various issues regarding its use by both the citizens and their governments. These include a number of illegalities such as crimes on the part of the citizens and privacy intrusion on the part of governments. There has also been espionage by the government. Authorities, in their quest to ensure that law and order are maintained, have sought to track, investigate, and observe the activities of the citizens. People have now started cooperate more with the government through issuing and submitting their required personal details. Technology increased participation. It has become everyone’s role and duty to act unity for the good of all. This has been in light of the ever increasing rates of crime and terrorism. This has, however, raised such ethic issues as the intrusion of privacy. Most governments have defended themselves in the name of ensuring security. Through the use of new technology, various rights were violated by the government, for example, the right for information. The government does this through the use of special encryptions to block certain sites and information. The government also uses this to override personal systems, pick, delete, or block certain information in the process.
New technology has led to further disconnection within the society. This has been enhanced through the use of technology as a communicative means. Through communicative technologies, people have interacted in a virtual world that has made it quite difficult for them to initiate real-life conversations. An example of this occurs in cases where people lock themselves in their rooms or homes and chat with online ‘friends’. In fact, it happens that they do not actually know and have not met most of these virtual friends. The result is an illusion of what friendship and human interactions are. These people thus end up living lives that are disconnected from the outside tangible world. As a result, persons are left alone in their self-inflicted solitude. Communicative technologies have, however, helped boost social interactions and attain new friends. In his article “Reforming Egypt in 140 Characters”, Baron, however, concedes that “although the Internet does connect people, and is a good source for finding information, it does not replace the sneakernet”. This means that although the internet is a good source of information, the word of mouth is still the best way of spreading information. I agree with Baron as before the introduction of social media, people used to spread and receive information personally. Gladwell, in his article “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”points out, “…the importance of trust and camaraderie through regular, face-to-face meetings”. He means that personal touch is important in communication, something that social media and the internet cannot provide. The introduction and improvements of computer and online games have further deepened disconnection between people in society. Persons, particularly the youths, have a tendency of spending too much time playing video games at the expense of interacting with other people. This has made it hard for them to associate with other people in the real world.
In conclusion, new technology has impacted the society in a number of ways. It has led to negative social change in ways that have altered the natural life of the family. It has promoted unreal and untrue social relationships between people. New technology has resulted in the disconnection of people from one another and the real world. It has helped the government to maintain security and peace while infringing on the privacy of people and regulating their access to internet data.