Is Technology Helping Us Live Better Lives?

Is Technology Helping Us Live Better Lives?

Article by Claude Calleja published on The Sunday Times of Malta on 10th May 2020.

Technological progress is transforming the concept of society. From the interaction between a small group of people or area to the connection between people across the globe. However, the relationship between society and technology is compromised if the ethics of technology operations are ignored by the technology professional and practitioner. Technological ethics does not force a person to stay away from using some social media applications but gives the professional the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. However, ethics is an important component on the role of professionals and practitioners. So much so, that many formal institutions make is part of their important component. Indeed, the European e-Competence Framework makes it one of the pillars of professionalism, so do other IT professional institutions like the CSM, BCS, ACM, IEEE, ICS, AITP, IET, AICA, LIKTA, KNVI, and many others. Members have to abide by the respective etchics. Even ICT faculties universities and colleges will have a module about this.

The demand for more technology has not affected our relationship with society, but it has changed the way we are socialise. Thanks to technological advances, our scientists can do research and save thousands of lives by finding the cure for dangerous diseases, and that won’t stop. Technology will advance our lifestyle and the connection between society and technology will be strengthened. Technology also plays an important role in improving our environment in order to offer a healthy lifestyle to people in the society.

You will find that recent technological developments have allowed us to live a more comfortable life. From access to huge amounts of information on the Internet to simply experiencing an enriched personal lifestyle to more proactive managing of our finances, we benefit from the technology every day. It is undoubtedly true that technology is an important part of our daily life.

The development of automation, which is made possible by technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, promises higher productivity (and thus economic growth), greater efficiency, security and convenience. However, these technologies also pose difficult questions about the overall impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages and the nature of the work itself. Many of the jobs that workers do today can be automated. Independent workers are increasingly offering their services on digital platforms such as Upwork, Uber and Etsy, questioning conventional ideas about how and where they work.

The rapid adoption of technology can release enormous economic value, even if it implies a significant need for retraining and redeployment. However, the value of the digitisation recorded depends on how many people and companies have access to it. Approximately 75 percent of this offline population is concentrated in 20 countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania. They are disproportionately rural, low-income, older, illiterate and female. Networking these people is of great value, and when they enter the global digital economy, the world of work will change fundamentally and at an unprecedented rate.

Changes and social pressures from digital technologies may require a fundamental revision of the social contract. A new digital social contract is likely to be needed, the details of which we are not currently sure of, but whose outlines we see today in proposals ranging from a universal basic income to an institutionalised time without digital distraction. The hope is that political processes will allow our social arrangements to adapt at a pace commensurate with general technological change, and that malfunctions in political processes will not be amplified by digital technologies.

Looking at how different technologies have affected a multitude of sectors in positive manner, it is safe to say that this advancement is making our quality of life better. As with any other tool, the responsibility falls upon the supplier to supply a safe product, but on the user to safely make use of it.

This article was prepared by collating various publicly available online sources.