2013: the year which holds technology’s future. 2013 holds so much potential for the future that we can’t even fathom the idea of what’s coming, positives and negatives. Starting from the basics: what do we mean by technology? Why is technology making this huge name for itself now rather than in 2003? Well, it has always been advancing, even in 2003. However, it gains more strength and speed in development because of the continued funding of who knows how many trillions of dollars in total! Before we dive into some sociological impacts, let’s start with some recent technology advancements.

Your Fridge Needs a Facebook Account…

That’s right. Your fridge needs a Facebook account…or at least the login for it. LG has come out with a fridge with WiFi capabilities so it can e-mail you when your shopping time comes around with what all groceries you need to buy. With WiFi access and an Operating System (OS), anything is possible. You can actually program your fridge to automatically order your groceries from an online delivery service weekly! Crazy, right? This is just one of the amazing technologies.

You Wouldn’t Download a Car!

With pirating as large-scale as it is on the Web, we face problems with stealing music, games, movies, and other digital content. Recently, it was announced that the Xbox 360 is now capable of ordering a pizza from Pizza Hut. I guess the saying “you wouldn’t download a pizza” is gone too, huh? Would you download a car? Better yet, COULD YOU download a car? Give it a few more years, and the answer will almost certainly be yes! Printing has advanced to the point where you can print in 3D. There’s a lot of buzz around these 3D printers and how amazing their capabilities are and, more importantly, how amazing their accuracy is! Need a hammer? Print it. Need a new phone case? Print it. Broke a plate? Print it! These printers are currently coming to Staples for $800. Yeah, it’s an over-the-counter product; you don’t need to be Apple to buy one! To me, the most amazing news has got to be that they have printed a working car, in FULL. You will be able to print each part and assemble it on site, as required. No longer will you rely on Ebay and Amazon to send you some old used part that may or may not work for your ’69 Dodge Charger. I guess soon, we WILL download a car.

Communications: Can You Hear Me Now?

The mobile industry has boomed with the constant development of new technologies in mobile devices. Keep in mind that mobile devices is not just your cell phone: it’s also your iPad, iPod, Chromebook, and pretty much anything that is an on-the-go device. The competition between the companies in the mobile industry is incredible! Samsung’s newly released Galaxy  S4 has set new standards for processing speeds, and Apple continuously develops new features on their iPhones. And let’s not forget the app developers. Without app developers, we’d be lost with our mobile devices. The competition forces new intuitive ideas between companies, as well as faster hardware. Along with the development of the hardware and software, there’s also the actual networking of phones. You can use your phone to contact your friends anywhere from across the world, the country, the state, the city, the county, the neighborhood, the house, and yes, even the room. Not only can you reach them, but it’s fast and — for the most part — reliable.

Technology of the Past

Technology will never stop moving forward due to all the great thinkers out there, and is leaving some technologies behind! Like a fridge that was used for keeping food cold. Who needs cold food anyway when I can watch YouTube on it? Soon, we’ll just print it anyway, then send the download link for your greatest recipe through text to your friend 10 states over. In the “old days”, we used phones for talking to each other. That was it. Not for texting. Not for browsing the web. And not for playing Angry Birds (a nightmare, I know). In the past, technology was a bonus, not a necessity. We did not rely on technology to get from point A to point B. We did not rely on technology to tell us the phone number of the local bar. And we surely didn’t rely on technology for entertainment. Today, however, this is far from true. We absolutely need technology. Without it, our society would crumble at its’ feet, where it stands right now, and in a 24 hour period. Could we adjust if we suddenly lost it all? Certainly…eventually.

Sociological Impacts

Okay, now let’s get deep and start with a simple poll: How many of your friends do you text daily? Okay, now keeping that in mind answer this: Do you have more conversations through technology, than you do in person? It seems that more and more people are moving away from face-to-face interactions, but instead moving towards a more technology-driven way of life. Myself included, society almost needs to use technology to communicate. Without it, we would be completely lost with minimal communication. Of course, this is society as a whole…majority rules.

Looking at the current generations (particularly 25 and under), and the upcoming generations we can see so clearly that society is not going to stop moving away from this idea of using technology as our primary communication methods. There are so many 12 year old children with iPhones, iPads, and laptops. This isn’t surprising news, I know. However, is an 11 year old surprising? How about 10? 9? 8? 7? 6? How young do they go?

This is not to say that technology is ruining society because that’s so far from true; however, it is dumbing our society down. We’re removing the necessity of skills such as face-to-face communications, doing basic math without the help of a calculator, and writing in proper English. Texting alone has made a huge impact on the grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills of people of all ages, including those over 25. Teachers see it, professors see it, and employers are seeing it now too. These technologies at our disposal are here to make our lives easier, and teach us things we didn’t already know, or forgot. Instead of using them to teach us, we use them to correct us, move on, and forget. If spell check says you spelled a word wrong, make note of it, correct it, move on, and remember!

As for our current generation, my word of advice is to not rely heavily on technology to live your lives. Your life is yours to control. Teach yourself these skills because without them, we will struggle to move on as a society. Don’t forget the technologies because without them as well, we will struggle to move forward. Technology has made learning, making friends, having fun, and interacting so much easier than ever before. It would be a shame to use the capabilities of them and turn them into our worst enemy.

Finally, to the parents of these generations…yes, you have a role here too. With no experience of parenting myself, many will completely ignore this section, and I do not blame you. My goal is not to tell you how to raise your children, but I would like to give you a few suggestions and opinions. For example, I suggest you try to be a bit more strict with the exposure. Your iPhone can’t be the only form of entertainment you have in the car. No, not your iPad. If a punishment is required, don’t make them go to their room; make them take the battery out of their phone. If they are struggling with basic math, do not give them a calculator; teach them the math the way you understand it! When all else fails, Google it. If they have to write a paper, make them use a program without spell check, such as WordPad, which I’m currently using to write this article. When it’s finished, edit it, then place it into Microsoft Word, or re-enable the spell check feature.

Make your children talk to their friends face-to-face. I know, this brings up quite the debate about online predators, doesn’t it? After all, how many people do you meet daily online versus in person? The average person would likely say dozens more. I’ve met more people through one night of Call of Duty, or World of Warcraft than I have in a month of going outside and interacting. Your children will meet people online, so that’s inevitable. With online predators and murderers, we have to be cautious of course, but we also have to be aware that online interaction can only make it so far. Online dating suffers a similar consequence where we lack the initial interaction from first impressions, but gain the simplicity to find more compatible people. Regardless of threats, I believe it’s worth investigating and finding the legitimately good-hearted people in the world. Most predators will limit their facade to pictures, texts, and phone talking. Video is a whole lot harder to fake, unless it’s pre-recorded and, if possible, is extremely unlikely to be faked online. Today, most predators are more likely to be focused on quick and easy targets that do not require them to be extremely thorough.

Conclusion

It may have seemed like  the  Facebook fridge, the 3D printer, and the mobile advancements had little in common, but they all have forced us into a lazy-minded state. Technology moves at a rapid pace, and can be hard to keep up with at times. Because of this it can become hard to adapt to them and truly understand them and their capabilities. For this reason, technology as a whole has many pro’s and con’s. The “pro’s” tend to lean more towards making our life easier and making it take less time to get things done. The “con’s” are primarily that we take these technologies for granted and lose sight of reality. As a result, this society today has moved towards social media sites as their primary form of communication among friends instead of being more social in the real world. Society is moving away from social interactions, like the almighty (and feared) face-to-face communications and it’s very disheartening. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do with this information except hope that people come to realize it. Finally, I hope we keep producing the innovative minds that come up with these brilliant ideas, but I also hope that we, the users, don’t become more antisocial because of it! Now go tweet this from your fridge with #fridgebook!

Author Bio: Ryan Gavin is an employee at Dragonfly SEO. He is interested in anything in the technology field, including marketing, web sites, and the effects of these technologies.

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