THE CYBER REVOLUTION
Welcome to the information age, and we cannot deny that computers have affected our lives in so many ways. Computers are so common these days and there is literally “no escape” – They are used in offices, integrated into factories, used in hospitals, found in homes, shops, and in the hands of many people worldwide.
Why are computers so special, and what makes them so popular? It is not difficult to see why with the many things that they can do:
- Allow people to communicate all across the globe.
- Improve office productivity – Create presentation slides, reports, spreadsheets, and more.
- Replace chalkboards in schools, offer more visual ways to teach and learn.
- A lot of conveniences with online shopping and reservations.
- Help fight crime by evaluating past cases.
- Provide entertainment to the people.
This list can go on forever as people continue to find more uses for computers… But it is not always bright and sunny, there are dark sides to this computer revolution as well. Just how have computers affected our lives in good and bad ways? Read on to find out!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Let us start on the brighter side of the cyber world first. Of how computers have improved our daily lives, and how they have helped in various industries and sectors.
1) BUSINESSES IN GENERAL
The general business sector has probably benefited the most from computers. Going back into “stone age”, traditional office work involves handwritten reports, receipts, and drawing on transparent slides for presentations. Guess you already knew what took over office productivity – Text documents, spreadsheets, and presentation slides.
Computers have also changed the way of how business communications work. What used to be snail mail is now instant email and text messages. What used to be expensive international phone calls is replaced by video conferences. The once difficult International collaboration is now easily within reach, people can technically work from anywhere in the world with just a computer and Internet connection.
Of course, computers and the Internet are not just used to boost productivity and communications – They are also used as a channel for doing online business itself. This has given traditional brick-and-mortar shops more reach, more potential customers, and to “unstuck” themselves from one location.
Once upon a time in the dark cyber ages, computers were used more like oversized calculators to crunch data only. It did not take long for the smart playful monkeys to realize that computers can be actually used to for entertainment.
Games, movies, radio, videos, music – All of these are now available in devices the size of your palm, fits right into pockets. No more boring bus and train rides.
In the good old days, teachers have to write on chalkboards and create slides with poster-sized pieces of papers. Not anymore. With computers, teaching can now be done with less boring text and more interesting media… Learning can be done by not taking notes, but by taking pictures of the notes.
Also, learning is now free with a wealth of knowledge that is being shared freely online – Dictionaries, Wikipedia, YouTube. Of course, you can even get some recognized certificates from free online universities – Check out University of the People.
4) MANUFACTURING & PRODUCTION
Once upon a time in the iron age of humanity, manufacturing and production are hard manual work. There is a limit to how much merchandise can be produced, and the quality depends on the laborer as well. It was not until the industrial age that machinery and early versions of computers are used in mass production and factory automation.
While the ability to produce quality goods at a faster rate and lower cost is good for businesses, some people may think that automation has put manual laborers out of jobs. Personally, I just think otherwise. Factories still need human managers, supervisors, operators, engineers, and programmers… It just requires a different group of people and a set of skills.
Gone are the days where hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies have to dig through rows of physical files to find your medical history. All the health records and medication history are recorded in computers, and can literally be retrieved within seconds.
It is not just the administration that has improved with computers, and they are also used in the actual medical procedures itself – There are databases for illnesses, medications, and even computer-assisted surgeries.
6) SCIENCE & RESEARCH
Imagine a world where mad scientists record their findings on paper and do crazy calculations by hand… Just how long will that take to calculate the weight of a rocket and how much fuel to carry? Computers have really given the big boost to the science community with their ability to crunch serious numbers and do simulations.
24 hours ATM machines, vending machines, online ordering, self-driving vehicles – Without computers, all of these would have been impossible.
8) HOME & OFFICE SECURITY
Worried about leaving your children or pets at home? There is smart home automation these days that does all sorts of safety:
- Doors and windows that can be remote controlled.
- Cameras that can be accessed through the Internet.
- Intrusion detection, automatically calls the police and sends a warning to your phone.
- Sensors that detect smoke and fire, automatically calls the fire department, sends a warning to your phone.
- Devices that allow you to do video calls.
9) LAW ENFORCEMENT
If computers can offer so much home and office security, it can be used in law enforcement as well. It is no secret that computers have been used to record past criminal cases. But the more amazing part is using that past data to analyze criminal patterns, and help solve or even prevent future cases.
When there is light, it will also cast shadows. Sadly, while computers did humans a lot of good, there are also bad sides of it.
10) FAKE NEWS, FALSE & MISLEADING INFORMATION
Yes, one can access an endless ocean of knowledge with a computer and access to the Internet, but not everything that floats in this ocean is good. Satire news, click baits, untruthful articles, biased comments, extreme views… You catch the drift. It’s the Internet, and some people just have to post all kinds of weird bad stuff to catch more attention.
Good for those who are slow to believe, careful to validate the facts, and have a good laugh over these fake news. But as the law of nature works, there will always be a group of “selected few” to actually believe in the wrong things in the wrong way.
11) STUCK TO DEVICES
Smartphones and tablets have put the power of mobile computing into the hands of people. While it is a good thing to be able to do stuff on the go, but it has become a global hazard that some people are glued to their devices wherever they go. These people lose track of the surroundings while staring at the screen, get run over by cars, fall into holes, and get into all kinds of accidents.
12) HEALTH ISSUES
Following up from the above point, easy accessibility to computers have also been known to cause several health-related issues:
- Insomnia and sleeplessness – When the bright lights from screens keep the brain awake.
- Sitting in front of a computer for long hours, bad postures leading to health problems.
- Anxiety issues as computers kept people working after working hours.
13) MOB MENTALITY
The Internet has changed the way we communicate, especially when it comes to sharing stuff on social media. Humans are generally social creatures who tend to go with the rule of “majority wins”, which is a characteristic that can result in something really bad at times.
For example, a person can post his/her story to pick on another person online. All that person’s friends will then follow suit without listening to the other side of the story… Possibly resulting in poor judgment, and wrongful online harassments.
It is easy to hide behind a monitor and Internet connection, hammer some random hate messages, and post them online. Trolls, haters, flamers, spammers, keyboard warriors, call them whatever… But these are the people who are sadly missing a screw on their moral compass.
15) ONLINE STALKERS & SCAMS
Social media is cool, allowing you to post photos, and share slices of your life with your friends and family. But sometimes, that also means revealing information about yourself… So much information that scammers and stalkers can easily use against you.
That’s all for this guide, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.
LINKS & REFERENCES
- Impact Of Computers In Our Daily Lives Computer – UKEssays
- How Has Computer Technology Affected Our Lives? – Tech Spirited
- 7 ways computers will change our lives – LSE
Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that this has helped you to better understand the cyber world, and if you have anything to share with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy computing. May the digital force be with you.
W.S. Toh is a senior web developer and SEO practitioner with over 10 years of experience in building websites. When he is not secretly being an evil tech ninja, he enjoys doing photography and working on DIY projects.