The impact of privacy on technology is significant in the modern era because information sharing has paved the way to little if any semblance of privacy on the World Wide Web or in mobile technologies. Human beings now have the opportunity to track their steps and sync them to their phones, pay bills and manage their bank accounts, and communicate with people around the world using different forms of technology. At the same time, many people, including many within the younger generation, do not have any real inkling regarding what privacy means to them and that when they transmit information via different technologies, they do not have any real privacy to speak of (Turkle 2). This is somewhat frightening because the capability to steal information from another person is readily available without any real effort on the part of the intruder; furthermore, these actions demonstrate that although technology provides many benefits to its users, it also compromises their privacy in important ways that must be taken very seriously by individuals and organizations.
According to Turkle (2), privacy remains a right and not merely a privilege, as many people may believe; therefore, when individuals provide personal information online, it may be intercepted by other people without ever knowing it. These instances are problematic because they could jeopardize an individual’s freedom at the touch of a button (Turkle 2). The consequences of these actions are substantial and create new challenges for individuals, even if they knowingly subject themselves to breaches in privacy. In particular, the younger generation faces difficulties of which they lack awareness when they share information that could be compromised very easily. Some experts argue that these examples could play a positive role in expanding awareness of privacy rights and increased involvement in the political arena as a form of increased protection (Turkle 2).
Young people are particularly vulnerable to issues regarding privacy because it is not all that important in their lives, as they are generally construed as group who shares information readily with others. By growing up in the computer age, these individuals have a tendency to forego privacy in favor of instant gratification and the ability to share and obtain information quickly; furthermore, the Internet has forever altered the manner in which human beings communicate and share ideas with each other, and has lasting consequences in the form of brain erosion (Turkle 2; Carr 220). From this perspective, it is evident that individuals may find it difficult to concentrate and focus on other things if they become addicted to technology in different ways, and this poses a challenge to their ability to be productive and thoughtful members of society (Carr 77). This is a difficult scenario because it takes over all routine brain processing and limits the ability of many people to think independently and without technological assistance (Carr 77).
It is also evident that many people experience difficult challenges that are associated with immediate access to information without considering any issues of privacy that accompany this data (Carr). In this context, individuals do not relish their privacy or find it as important as the people of other generations, and this may have a negative impact on how they make decisions at the expense of their own personal information (Carr). In addition, technology serves as the hub of most communications, but it is not well understood how this type of access is affecting our thoughts and minds (Carr). There must be a greater emphasis on understanding the challenging nature of technology and its impact not only on privacy, but also human cognition (Carr).
However, some technological experts such as those at Google aim to replace human brain activity with artificial intelligence, which removes human emotion and response from the equation and may be detrimental to the human condition (Carr). There must be a delicate balance between these perspectives that will positively impact human beings and not go too far in removing them from routine cognition and processing. It is critical that human beings continue to think for themselves and to process information using their own intellect rather than to rely upon artificial intelligence. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider that technology in some ways has gone too far in that it has removed the desire for many people to communicate face-to-face and even via telephone because they would rather use text messages and social media as primary forms of information sharing.
Human beings have become increasingly reliant upon technology as a form of communication and information-gathering. The younger generation, which has grown up with technology in their lives, is particularly supportive of these tools to share and obtain information from other people. However, this comes at a cost of their privacy in many ways, an issue that very few appear to find relevant in their lives. Therefore, it is necessary to consider the risk factors that are associated with the use of technology and its impact on human beings in a variety of ways, and how it has reprogramed information processing and functioning to the extent that the human brain does not always function at its full potential. These issues are relevant throughout society and demonstrate the importance of understanding how to best approach technology and its impact on the human condition with an open mind. These factors demonstrate the importance of establishing an environment in which human beings recognize the risks of technology, including lack of privacy in their lives.
- Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making us Stupid? What the Internet is doing to our Brains.”
The Atlantic, July/August 2008, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. Accessed 12 March 2017.
- Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. W.W. Norton
& Company, 2011.
- Turkle, Sherry. “How Computers Change the Way We Think.” Chronicle.com, 30 January 2004, http://web.mit.edu/sturkle/www/pdfsforstwebpage/Turkle_how_computers_change_way_we_think.pdf. Accessed 12 March 2017.