Communication Technology: Gift or Curse?

Essay by zaneyUniversity, Bachelor's April 2006

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On a quest as old as civilization itself, people everywhere have been in a never-ending pursuit of ways to overcome physical shortcomings; like no known animal before it, man has relentlessly sought ways to bend the laws of nature in his favour. First using crude tools to compensate for physical limitations, slowly growing ever more complex as we developed; soon looking for ways to shorten travel and communication times - evolving from foot to horseback to the locomotive and eventually to Mach 3 jets and satellites that are quite literally, 'out of this world'. The advents of electricity, wireless technologies and the Internet have played leading roles in this triumph over geography; while making everyday social interactions infinitely more convenient, they have also become more impersonal and increasingly less genuine, with the emergence of essentially faceless communication not necessarily creating an illusion of intimacy, but rather putting it into new context and forever redefining it.

Thus having a wide range of effects on people's relationships, many appearing very contradictory, as people can be connected at any time from any place in the world, yet feel cut off from the world at the same time. With this wave of permanent connectivity, normal daytime hours no longer restrict one's availability, pervading the private spheres of many and disrupting normal schedules resulting in an unhealthy lifestyle and without escape from the daily grind. This erosion of the distinction between private and public spheres carries both positive and negative features, but taken as a whole it upsets social balances and as such, is gradually shifting our culture to a faster paced lifestyle with less emphasis on authenticity and direct interaction. This phenomenon, largely driven by capitalism capitalizing on globalization, is blatantly obvious in western culture and is slowly permeating the ways of life all...