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article imageOp-Ed: Technology has created a world where we live online 24/7

By Karen Graham     Dec 29, 2019 in Technology
The past decade has seen some astounding technological changes. Technology has grown from a few devices and platforms we use to an entire environment in which we function.
The last decade has passed quickly, yet advances in digital technology have been so subtle that most people don't even realize the extent that we have become manipulated by the very tech we so easily embrace.
As 247Wallst points out, smartphones, social media, transportation, dating, streaming – these are just a few examples that have undergone major tech changes over the last few years, changing our lifestyles and the environment we live in on a daily basis.
However, how this came about really wasn't so subtle, but was part of a grand scheme. Think about it - the platforms we use on a daily basis are coded by people that don't always have our best interests at heart. But even with good coding, the whole point is simple - we have grown from a society that used a few devices and platforms to one that has become an entire environment in which we function.
Of course, in the past few years, people have wakened up to the fact we are being manipulated, but it's almost too late to do anything about the problem. Today, we live our whole lives online, creating data that is accessible to everyone and everything. through our constant need to connect with the world.
Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers -- can be manipula...
Anything connected to the internet -- from smartphones to power plant controllers -- can be manipulated, a Dutch military cyber official said
ODD ANDERSEN, AFP/File
We could blame the developers, the CEOs, the shareholders, or even individual apps, programs and platforms for our problems, but it has grown much bigger than pointing a finger at any one entity. We have reached the point where we depend on Apple, Google, Twitter, and Facebook way too much.
And these companies and many others have refined the technologies that allow for surveillance and the development of extractive and addictive technologies. Have you ever wondered why you get messages or emails for a particular brand or product? All it takes is just one search online on your part.
Your Google search results are different than mine, your news feeds are different and your picture of the world is different. Douglas Rushkoff, in an opinion piece in The Guardian, writes: "In Programmed or Be Programmed, I argued that we have to understand the platforms on which we’re working and living, or we’re more likely to be used by technology than to be the users controlling it."
And to me, this can be unsettling. You have heard the comment that once something is put on social media it stays there forever? We live in an environment that records everything we do online and records it for posterity and to generate whatever responses or behaviors the platforms want from us.
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting smartphones as a gateway to key information about users  e...
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting smartphones as a gateway to key information about users, experts warn.
BERTRAND GUAY, AFP/File
And this collected data is very profitable. Do you remember the Cambridge Analytica fiasco of 2018? It’s no secret anymore that companies are profiting from every bit of information a person chooses to share online. Personal details — from professional history to how many friends one has — are being collected, analyzed, and sold.
Professor Gary Martin, a workplace culture expert with the Australian Institute of Management wrote in the Canberra Times, "Experts believe personal technology has resulted in a diminished form of human interaction, reduced our attention span and provided us with an overwhelming amount of information that we simply cannot manage."
And a lack of human interaction, to me, is the greatest insult to our society. We have grown to depend on our online world more than the real world around us. If you can put down your smartphone for a minute the next time you are out-and-about, look closely at the people around you. Most will be glued to their smartphones.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Technology, living online, digital environment, surveilance, 247
 
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