Adapted from Al Gore’s The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.
Adapted for website – copyright Knowledge Skills LLP –
General Paper (GP) tuition & O-level English tuition subject specialists
A popular question for the General Paper A-levels and English O level papers is the impact of the internet on human behaviour. Essay questions related to this arise with regular frequency, often asking the students to examine the effects such connectivity has on society. (see past year Media or Science related questions).
In the public sphere, educators, parents and counselors themselves are concerned with the varying impacts such connectivity might have on the youth.
The points are plenty and is it easy for an able student to select a few choice points and substantiate them adequately. The points are summarised in our Media notes.
For the website adaptation, we will draw highlight a few points from Al Gore’s The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.
i) How we interact and socialise
The global Internet and the billions of intelligent devices and machines connected to it represent what is arguably far and away the most powerful tool that human beings have ever used, it should not be surprising that it is beginning to reshape the way we think in ways both trivial and profound — but sweeping and ubiquitous
We as individuals are becoming far more efficient and productive by instantly connecting our thoughts to computers, servers, and databases all over the world. Just as radical changes in the global economy have been driven by outsourcing, the spread of computing power and the increasing number of people connected to the Internet are mutually reinforcing trends.
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What are these trends? For GP we can consider … [ truncated – filed under GP tuition notes]
Consider the impact on conversations. Many of us now routinely reach for smartphones to find the answers to questions that arise at the dinner table by searching the Internet with our fingertips. Indeed, many now spend so much time on their smartphones and other mobile Internet — connected devices that oral conversation sometimes almost ceases. (the impact of technology and social interaction can definitely be explored further) Furthermore . . . [ truncated – filed under GP tuition notes]
ii) Addiction and Disorders
(simple and straightforward point, most students know this)
The deeply engaging and immersive nature of online technologies has led many to ask whether their use might be addictive for some people. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), when it is updated in May 2013, will include “Internet Use Disorder” in its appendix for the first time, as a category targeted for further study. There are an estimated 500 million people in the world now playing online games at least one hour per day.
iii) Cultural and Economic Ramifications
It should not surprise us, then, that the Digital Revolution, which is sweeping the world much faster and more powerfully than the Print Revolution did in its time, is ushering in with it another wave of new societal, cultural, political, and commercial patterns that are beginning to make our world new yet again.
As dramatic as the changes wrought by the Print Revolution were (and as were those wrought earlier by the introduction of complex speech, writing, and phonetic alphabets), none of these previous waves of change remotely compares with what we are now beginning to experience as a result of today’s emergent combination of nearly ubiquitous computing and access to the Internet. Computers have been roughly doubling in processing power (per dollar spent) every eighteen to twenty-four months for the last half–century. This remarkable pattern — which follows Moore’s Law — has continued in spite of periodic predictions that it would soon run its course. Though some experts believe that Moore’s Law may now finally be expiring over the next decade, others believe that new advances such as quantum computing will lead to continued rapid increases in computing power.
Our societies, culture, politics, commerce, educational systems, ways of relating to one another — and our ways of thinking — are all being profoundly reorganized with the emergence of such global connectivity and the growth of digital information at exponential rates. Two years earlier, the volume of data transmitted from mobile devices had already exceeded the total volume of all voice data transmitted. Not coincidentally, from 2003 to 2010, the average telephone call grew shorter by almost half, from three minutes to one minute and forty-seven seconds.
Already, the perceived value of being able to connect to the Internet has led to the labeling of Internet access as a new “human right” in a United Nations report. Nicholas Negroponte has led one of two competing global initiatives to provide an inexpensive ($100 to $140) computer or tablet to every child in the world who does not have one. This effort to close the “information gap” also follows a pattern that began in wealthy countries. For example, the United States dealt with concerns in the 1990s about a gap between “information haves” and “information have-nots” by passing a new law that subsidized the connection of every school and library to the Internet.
The examples of the internet and its impact on the various areas of social life will be covered in greater detail in later notes.
iv) Political Impact
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End of excerpt