Techno Talk and Traps

With the way technology has advanced, humans now have the capability to instantly communicate with others regardless of time and location.

Realistically speaking, it has sped up both the efficiency and development of society. One can imagine the benefits it has had for businesses, governments and for social movements. Regardless we cannot take the ability to digitally communicate for granted and need to examine how it has affected the way we communicate to one another.

When we are online or even simply using technology (phone or computer) to communicate, we subject ourselves to a new onset of ethical issues we need to be, at the very least, aware of. These include privacy, data-sharing, data-storing and anonymity among others.

Privacy involves having the right to have a conversation free from prying eyes. When you’re online, others can easily observe you without you even being privy of their existence. For example, Facebook claims the rights to any data uploaded to their website. Combined with the fact that the Patriot Act legally backs US federal law enforcement agencies to be able to access your data, your data is not bound to you.

Upset?

If that was the end of it, people would be able to justify the fact that the government has access to your data. But they are not the only party that has something to gain from your data. Advertising firms use your personal data to be able to arrange adverts that appeal to your interests.

The ethical issues are: Have they received your permission to use your data to tailor content for you? How else do they use your data? Do they have your consent to even use your data for any reason? Is it okay to not make it explicitly clear to you by hiding it away in the terms and conditions that nobody reads (well, 1% apparently do)?

To be fair, nobody reads them. Right?

Privacy is only one of many issues that are found. As technology has allowed us to communicate to one another, uninhibited by whether we’re physically with that person or not, it has led to fears of a degradation in socials skills cited to a lack in face-to-face interaction, also known as “people time”. An interesting study has shown that conversing with the presence of a mobile phone lowers empathetic concern whereas conversing within the absence of a mobile phone had both parties reporting a higher level of empathy.

We can’t change the fact that it is now simpler to easier to text a friend rather than meet up with one. We need to be aware of the changes such advancements allow and how they affect us. Then we can decide whether to do something about it or simply let it be.

Until next time.

face-to-face.

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