Digital Technology - A boon or bane?

Varunan : Associate Professor
Center for Animation, Game Art Design & Business
While most of us would definitely agree that digital technology has made our lives more easier than it was, there are other sides of the story which is worth looking at. Post 1980, with the introduction of computer, there has been so much revolutions in  digital era. Many new jobs were created and many smart choices with quality of life was achieved and we as humans, are quite good at creating our gods. 

Computers, as mentioned by Mr.Niel postman in his book “End of Education” which was written in 1984, has well mentioned that we humans have created our new God, which we can't live without and these gods, tell us on what to do and how to do. His vision in 1984, where there was very much limited expansion in digital technology, has become quite true. Today, the world is highly dependent upon use of computers and digital technology and it is a fact, that we humans cannot live without the technology even for a day. There is technology that touches every human in some or the other form of our lives.

Technology has made the world closer and more easier to access informations and companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple have contributed tremendously to the expansion of technology to the remote part of the world. In one of the books written by Mr.Jaron Lanier - “Who owns the future” there is a interesting case which he has discussed about on how the technology would shape our future. Mr.Jaron Lanier talks about how Artificial intelligence and nano robots, would be able to perform human medical surgery while the human is sitting in a park. There is a case discussed, where an artificial intelligence nano robot,  would access a human being who is relaxing in a park and would talk to him offering him a full body scan at free of cost and when the human accepts the offer, the nano robot scans the human body and tells him that his organs are functioning at a certain percentage and he is having a life expectancy of so many years left. Here, the human gets the first shock, when he comes to know, how much more time is left, before he dies a natural death. Further the AI, talks to him about performing a surgery using the nano robots, which is done while he is sitting in the park and by the end of the surgery, his organs in the body would have a better functioning rate and he would have a increased life expectancy. Every human would want to live longer and when the human accepts the offer by the AI to perform the surgery, the AI then says, i have just accessed your bank account and you do not seem to have the sufficient cash left for performing the surgery, so i cannot help you to live longer. 

These kind of situations are predicted and will happen, which will derogate human values and will make digital technology rule the world.  As we talk about hypothetical situations, let's take a case of where digital technology has really impacted human lives and families. Everyone who is born during the 1960s to 2000 would probably know about a company called KODAK, which was specialising itself in the field of photography. Earlier to digital technology, there were analog cameras, which used different film rolls for capturing photographic images which were later processed on a dark image processing room and final photograph was printed. There were nearly 140,000 people employed by or for KODAK and due to digitalisation, the entire 140,000 people were replaced by 13 people and a new product called Instagram was created by Facebook. The question here is, what happens to the 140,000 families?

Digital technology has taken away more than what it has given.

My argument here is not about digital technology is bad, it's more about how it should be used. 

Associate Professor – Varunan, being a seasoned academician and entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in teaching and heading institution like ICAT Design & Media College, has his expertise and research interest in the fields of Animation, Game Design & Development, Virtual reality and Augmented Reality. Varunan did his masters in Management and has a teaching certification from Birmingham City University (UK).


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