Since the dawn of history, humans strived for breakthroughs starting with the transition from gathering and hunting to agriculture and stockbreeding to inventing the light bulb and penicillin and up to the newest technologies. What is common for all that was mentioned above is that at first every breakthrough seemed to be fantastic. However, later people started taking it for granted forgetting that once it did not exist. They as well ignore the influence these breakthroughs had on improving the quality of their lives and themselves.
The twenty-first century has given the world hundreds of astonishing inventions. Robots that can change their shape, mind-reading MRI scan, smart contact lenses, smart glasses for the blind, self-driving vehicles (Cuthbertson, 2014) are just some examples of technological breakthroughs that seem to be out of this galaxy. Even though they are absolutely fascinating, they still cannot be widely used in everyday life and are not easily acceptable and affordable to masses. That is why I would like to focus on the technologies that once seemed to heat people’s imagination just like those mentioned above that, however, are popular with most people. Introduced to the world during the previous decade, they dramatically changed the lives of millions all over the globe from the poorest countries to the most developed ones. I will pay special attention to smartphones, cloud services, and Skype. I believe that their influence will not be diminished for the next ten years; it will only strengthen. Their impact on our everyday life will be studied in two dimensions – the effect on the life of society as the whole and the outcomes for the life of my family and me.
The first thing I thought of as I read the topic of the assignment was the smartphone. I believe there can hardly be a person who can imagine his/her life without a smartphone, at least in the countries that cannot be considered as underdeveloped economically. Looking around, it is complicated to find someone who is not looking down at the screen of the smartphone and typing something or, at least, holding it in hands. It is of significant importance to know what a smartphone is, as the concept and functionality have changed over time. Initially, it was introduced to the public in 2000 by Ericsson. Looking at what then was called a smartphone can shock, but, in fact, “smart” in the name means that the telephone has some functions of the computer. The model developed by Ericsson, for example, had limited web capabilities and built-in maps (Sathish, 2015).
Nowadays, smartphones have changed dramatically, and they continue evolving every day. They have become thinner, lighter, and smarter than ever. What is crucial when it comes to their influence on the life of society is not the way they are designed and assembled, but the way they are used. Today, there are thousands of apps that can make our lives easier when installed to our smartphones and launched. They vary from primitive book readers to fitness trackers, programs that help control earnings and spendings, different apps for online banking, maps, etc. I cannot but mention the fact that there are hundreds of applications that can be used for creating arts from digital pictures to making music and movies as well as those useful for educational purposes such as online universities, dictionaries, apps for learning foreign languages and preparing for tests and many others. In truth, there are thousands of applications that can be advantageous in every sphere of societal life.
There are some pros and cons of using smartphones, of course. As of the advantages of smartphones, first of all, they have become an unlimited source of possibilities for communication, work, studying, arts, self-improvement, etc. They are the unique tool for gathering all communication means in one place from voice calls to video chatting, texting, e-mail, and social media. They indeed are a robust source of unity. Recollect, for example, the fact that one of the recent waves of upheavals that covered the Arab world in 2011 known as Arab Spring was initiated and driven by the use of social networks (Lynch, Frylon, & Aday, 2014). Here is also the source of the first con of using smartphones in everyday life – work, family, and friends are always with you wherever you go. I do not want to say that it is bad to always be in touch with those you love and your boss; I just want to say that with smartphones, it has become harder to enjoy the solitude and spend some time just to yourself and with your thoughts. Moreover, it became impossible to truly enjoy evenings with friends and beloved ones, as they are all tied to their phones.
The second advantage of using smartphones is that they help improve productivity. Calendars, contacts, various lists as well as the apps that track effectiveness and different reminders – they all are available at fingertips ready to help with doing business and coping with the tasks. Nevertheless, the unlimited amount of applications and smartphones’ functionality are also the source of distraction, as it is easy to lose the whole day just staring at the screen. Finally, as the technologies constantly evolve and smartphones become more intricate, they become the source of obsolescence as people remain in a continuous rush after the newest models of phones (Laverty, n.d.). That said, smartphones are paradoxical since one feature can be both a pro and a con.
I believe that the era of smartphones has just started and that within the next ten years, their influence on the life of society will not be diminished, as the manufacturers pay specific attention to making them better, more functional, and intricate.
The second technological breakthrough I would like to talk about is the cloud that made it possible to save gigabytes of personal information in a non-physical storage (McLennan, 2013). Cloud services are of extreme importance when it comes to the need to share the information among the devices belonging to one person or, say, organization. What they are precious for is that they help save the storage of the devices since all the data are kept in one place.
I believe that the use of cloud services is the future of work and medicine. Nowadays, many companies start launching cloud-based networks for sharing knowledge and information that help their employees become more skilled and educated. Second, these services are usually better secured, that is why the company’s data is in safety. Not to mention the fact that reaching the information stored in the cloud by every worker who needs it is a perfect way of saving time because they do not need to ask others for sharing or bringing it on, for example, a flash drive.
As of the role cloud plays in medicine, it can be investigated in the area of launching electronic health records in most hospitals throughout the country. What is special about this system is that it stores all data regarding the patients, their tests, and health concerns in one place that can be reached by every hospital that has the access to the database, of course. The major advantage of the cloud in the case of healthcare is that the patient does not have to be tied to one hospital and can be taken care of all over the country. Moreover, he/she can access the medical data from the smartphone. That means that it is always with the patient. In addition to that, it is the first step towards bringing the idea of patient self-care to life (Trevor, 2010). That said, this technology helps improve the performance of companies as well as hospitals by making workers more productive and the level of healthcare services higher.
Finally, I would like to speculate about Skype. Even though it was introduced in 2003 (Sathish, 2015), I do believe that its era has not yet come to an end. First used for personal video chatting especially beneficial in the case of international students, nowadays, Skype has become an irreplaceable tool for doing business. Nowadays, many companies use Skype for interviewing the candidate for becoming their employees. What is even more significant is that they can even hire people who live in foreign countries if they have the needed level of professionalism, and Skype will be one of the ways to contact them. Lastly, Skype is a perfect tool for team building and finding ways to improve problem-solving. It is especially true in the case of multinational corporations that can afford to hire people with the different ethnic and educational backgrounds, who can share experience communicating via Skype and, thus, develop more perfect problem-solving and decision-making mechanisms.
That said, the mentioned technological breakthroughs have a robust impact on the life of society as the whole. At the level of my family and me, their influence is not as spectacular. Nevertheless, we use all of them in our everyday life. In the most cases, they are exploited for communication and sharing data between each of us and our friends. In addition to that, we actively use smartphones for the studying and working purposes. I have already used Skype not only for personal video chatting but also for interviews to get the job, and I do believe that it will be helpful in the future. As of the cloud services, they are mostly meant for sharing data among our gadgets, and we do not yet have access to our medical cards because our hospital has not yet launched the cloud-based electronic health record system. What I want to say is that I believe that the next ten years will become the turning point of using these technological breakthroughs because they will get more advanced and maybe, at some points, more intuitive than they are now. What is more vital, my parents will get used to the presence of the newest technologies in our everyday life and find some apps they like and believe are useful, that is why the level of the technological user proficiency in our family will increase.
Cuthbertson, A. (2014). 10 amazing tech innovations in 2014: Invisibility cloaks, smart lenses and mind readers. International Business Times. Web.
Laverty, S. (n.d.). The pros and cons of smartphones. Web.
Lynch, M., Frylon, D., & Aday, S. (2014). Syria in the Arab Spring: The integration of Syria’s conflict with the Arab uprisings, 2011-2013. Research and Politics, 1(3), 1-7.
McLennan, W. (2013). Great life-improving inventions of the 2000s. Web.
Sathish, M. (2015). 6 technological advancements we take for granted, but wouldn’t have been able to believe 15 years ago. Web.
Trevor, R. (2010). Personal Health Informatics: The Evolving Paradigm of Patient Self Care. Communication of the IIMA, 10(1), 27-32.