The Increasing Human Dependence on Computers

The evolution, or better described as revolution, of technology has had deep rooted effects on our socio economic environment, thus effecting human life. The most precious bequest of modern technology to mankind is computer. Invention of computer has miraculously changed the whole scenario. Computers not only impinged on global economy by increasing production, enhancing efficiency etc. Along with business sectors like banking, stock exchange etc, which witness extensive use of computers, other sectors have also been influenced by computers. Educational institutions, hospitals, etc are now day’s increasingly using computers. Due to their vast facilities of computers are becoming more and more popular among house holds also. Increasing number of people are using computers in their day to day life. Since invention of first generation computers like ENIAC, EDVAC in 1943, technology used in constructing computers has greatly improved. The capacity to store and Implement programs makes computers extremely multifaceted and versatile, and these factors distinguish them from other calculating machines. In addition with several other specialties, computers with networks connections can provide effortless access to vast resources of information, covering almost every topic within the knowledge of human beings, as well as the computers have the capacity to communicate with the other users through out the world. Such an open access to the world is a real privilege of computers. Computers work with great speed; have more reliability, accuracy and vast storage capacity. Use of computerized systems can improve both quality and production in industries, which in tern can improve economic and social scenario of any country. Thus governments now days are recommending use of computerized systems not only in factories and industries, but also in organizations like banks, hospitals, railways, etc. These days’ computers are also extensively used in educational institutions in teaching students, setting and storing question papers, in correction of answer sheets, etc. It all great news but there is a price to be paid for this and unluckily the price is quite substantial.

Negative Impact on Society

Along with several advantages of computer, many disadvantages also exist. Computers being machines containing many sophisticated parts, always have the risk of wear and tear and system smash up. Repair and reinstallation of computers becomes very expensive. Thus the computerized systems are at the same time both delicate and complicated in nature. Another disadvantage of computer systems is misuse of computers. Now days several illicit soft wares are available, which make possible unauthorized use of computer accounts, Illegal access to computer systems. Deliberately infecting computer systems with viruses or jamming computer systems, spoiling data fortification schemes, illegal accessing of other’s bank accounts, leaking question papers before examinations by hacking computer systems, harassing people on network, publishing illegal documents on network etc are general ways of misuse of computer systems. Use of computer system in several production units and organizations resulted in reduction in use of human resources. This leads to unemployment, further resulting in poverty and increasing crimes. Now days, with the advancement of technology and extensive use of computers, man is becoming more and more depended on it. Thus the whole generation is in jeopardy of losing the Sovereignty of emancipated thought and self confidence. Doctors believe that extensive use of computers can lead to eye problems and even fatal Disease like cancer.

Menace of Hackers

It is true that Computers are becoming the integral part of the daily life each and every day and it is becoming a basic perception of our day to day activities extremely fast. Without doubt, information technology has brought about profound changes to business functions. This article points out the fact that information technology has enabled increased efficiency, increased effectiveness, and an increased amount of IT-enabled processes within the personal and industrial fields. For example, payroll and health benefit processing can now be done more quickly and effectively by not only large businesses, but also small businesses who utilize this technology under the context of business. Further, along with other variables, online recruitment centers, web-accessible training programs, and other technological reliant processes have expanded the reach of typical applications. Now employee skills can more effectively be managed and upgraded and potential employee bases can be expanded to allow for more diversity. These changes, among others, highlight the benefits that information technology has had on the different fields of human activities. However, increased reliance on IT is making it a point that one must continually update their knowledge about information technologies and thus may struggle to get up to speed on many widespread changes that occur over a relatively short period of time. This is where the hackers come into play.

According to Budi Arief, & Denis Besnard in their article Technical and Human Issues in Computer-Based Systems Security identification of a hacker is someone “that experiments with systems… [Hacking] is playing with systems and making them do what they were never intended to do. Breaking in and making free calls are just a small part of that. Hacking is also about freedom of speech and free access to information – being able to find out anything. There is also the David and Goliath side of it, the underdog vs. the system, and the ethic of being a folk hero, albeit a minor one” (Arief & Besnard, 10, 3) They also point out that hackers should be renamed as crackers, aligned in the idea of code cracking, as according to them it would be a more relevant term to use. Budi Arief, & Denis Besnard also identifies the probable reasons that instigates these individuals to compel in acts such unethical as hacking. It has been estimated that a major section of the hackers indulge in this act to enjoy financial gains by the dint of stealing personal details like bank account or credit card details that would lead them to probable customers in the grey market who are wiling to use this information or mine this information to their own advantage. Furthermore, the hackers indulge into hacking on behalf of various companies who are willing to gain comparative advantage using this secured information of the rival companies like stocks and internal policies and strategies. But still, another aspect of hacking reveals more hazardous results. It has been found that quite a few hackers decode the security system of others just for fun and without any personal gain or interest. For these individuals the only gain is the personal satisfaction gained by the measure of destruction of data they instrumented.

In this context it would be relevant to state that with increased potential of to malicious attacks on the computer and thereby on the personal lives of individuals it could be derived that the risk factors are becoming pervasive at a regular basis on a breathtaking pace. According to Budi Arief, & Denis Besnard in their article Technical and Human Issues in Computer-Based Systems Security published by Centre for Software Reliability, School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2005, “this vulnerability, along with our reliance on these systems, implies that it is important for us to do our best in securing them to ensure their proper functioning. It is necessary to tackle the security issues from both technical and human perspectives. From this dual standpoint, it is hoped to obtain a better understanding on how computer attacks are performed, including how to gain illicit access, the types of attacks, as well as the potential damage that they can cause.” (Arief, & Besnard, 1, 1)

In a general sense the hackers of today are believed to be the fourth generation of mischief makers. The first one is believed to be the pool of scientists, programmers and talented students like Richard Stallman who indulged themselves into the codes and intricate details of the computer programs and thereby inventing a way out in the process. The second generation is supposed to be formed with technological experts with radical outlook though they seldom ventured into anything else than petty law breaking like phone bugging and soon enough they were followed by the third generation of hackers who were completely computer freaks who indulged themselves mostly into making copies of entertainment materials like games etc. the fourth generation of hackers are the real individuals of the current discussion. These people replaced games with a hard cored criminal activities and to them the concept of crime and games are really blurred. In the same context it is a much needed trait to investigate the probable psychological and sociological factors involved within the frame work of the attackers. The basic insight within the fundamental perception of the attackers would help us to reveal their work ethics, motives, taxonomy and community and thereby it would be possible to negotiate the issue in a formulated manner. (King, 229)

Loss of ethics

Lost in all the gloss of computer hi tech, nothing looks democratic, new forms of covert manipulation described above, take over. So the expressions of real scientific advance and beneficent technology are all the more to be guarded from vested interests, One way of guarding society is to involve scientists in policy making and making them come out of their laboratories and help policy makers shape futures dependent on true gains and not immediate mega profits. The one dimensional view of big corporate interests: to make profits has a free hand now. A similarly biased view is seen in the field of genetic medicine. Here, human diseases or conditions are all explained by genetic structures, overriding the influence of environmental or social conditions. In part, big business has its way because of the huge benefits it is ready to shower on men of science. Science must refrain from being a commodity. Scientists cannot always control the results of their findings. But they do have a responsibility to explain the effects and help to differentiate between what is harmful or beneficial to society. Scientific evidence has often been used by business or government to exert control. Fortunately it is being seen as empowering individuals proving that scientists are able to communicate well with their true beneficiaries. This should help urge scientists to participate more in policy making with government with clear goals as to what their role should be. It is yet to be done and computers are responsible for this loss of ethical ground. (King, 180)

The world today has seen a dumping ground of science due to really eye catching innovations in computer technology at the expense of developments in applied science and technology people perceive science and technology as exotic and not really adding to their lives apart from the obvious benefits. Science and technology move into the future with people and as they do so political will have to be summoned to address the larger connection between the two. Science and technology, however, seem to be exotic and the preserve of science magazines – unless policy intervention is to stem the lack of interest.

Digital divide

The use of computers or the internet has created a huge chance for the population using it within the last decade. It is a prime tool of success in the recent era. Thus, it becomes important to analyze and focus on the subject of responsibilities that a technical professional must indulge while walking the path of this extremely profitable medium. Thus the areas of focus in this paper would include strategies for lifelong learning using technology, using electronic information in a responsible manner along with communication and management skills and lastly it would be looked upon the variables where the responsibilities that a technical professional lies on the subjects who are unable to produce out of this opportunity.

The first and foremost importance regarding the sense of responsibility as a technical professional is the use of technology as a survival strategy through learning. This learning method is the spirit of being updated all the time. This is a skill that requires the vibe of the current tends and innovations and thus it becomes a prime responsibility for a technical professional to keep things updated and upgraded. The up gradation process is a continuous procedure and failing to do would certainly deliver a sense of injustice to the fundamental skill of the technical professional. (King, 227)

The use of electronic information in a responsible manner is another very important feature of a technical professional. It is true the irresponsible use of the digital world can yield a very high return in an extremely fast manner but it should be noted that this return is purchased in a fair and legal mode otherwise the end concept of the entire system would eventually fail. The use of electronic information in a responsible manner is necessary for every individual who operates in the virtual surroundings. Things like hacking should be avoided. It has been found that “Hackers strike every 39 seconds”. (UPI, 1) The business of internet and the digital commerce is largely based on faith and faith is the major aspect of any financial transactions thus it becomes extremely important for any technical professional to use electronic information in a responsible, legal and ethical manner. (King, 188-189) For example, “Lawyers who participate in Internet discussion groups should avoid including any confidential information that could be associated with a particular case or controversy.” (ILS, 1)

For a technical professional the aspects of communication and management skills are very important when it comes to digital world. Thus, it becomes a very important part of the growing responsibility of the technical professional working in the media. Communication and management skills is impotent for a technical professional simply because this digital world is basically a non physical world and where physicality is not involved, proper mode of communication and management becomes very important to convey the thought process of one individual to the other. As a result, the skill of communication and management becomes a vital aspect of the technical professional’s work environment. Without proper and clear communication and management skills, it is certain that the result of any project would ultimately prove to be a failure. Proper management techniques should be applied, miscommunications should be avoided, and all these remain as necessary responsibility of a technical professional. (King, 198)

Lastly, it should be mentioned that the ability to access the internet and the inability to access it creates a huge gap between individuals. The Digital Divide can be well stated as a major problem inside the United States. The basic problem relating to this issue is the issue of inequality or to be more specific the issue of inequality of chance. In this age of market, induced economy the prime source of power is information that is directly into money power. Thus, the individuals who are able to access the digital opportunity are readily in an advantageous potion than those who are not. (Lamb, 322)

Similarly, the digital divide is a major problem around the world and the reason is just the same as the issue in the United States. In this case the inequality is much more wide spread. “More than 80% of people in the world have never even heard a dial tone, let alone surfed the Web. And the gap between the information haves and have-nots is widening.” (Special Report, BBC News Online, 1, 3) Thus this inequality tends to create a greater gaps between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ making the situation volatile and eligible grooming field for terrorism. (Lamb, 329) The only possible solution in this regard would be to enable the entire population of the United States to access the internet and for this the public-sector organizations, private sector organizations, or non-profit sector organizations all should work together. As for international sector, the United Nations should encourage the backward countries to overcome this digital divide in both financial and technological manner. (King, 37-38) Thus, there is a specific role for the IT professionals and IT companies to play in overcoming the digital divide.

Conclusion

Science is the marvel of the present world and modern technologies are application of science to fulfil human’s long cherished dreams to control and manipulate the forces of nature for human’s relevance. But at the same time it is also very true that blessings of science depends upon its application. Let us take the example of a bamboo stick which can be used to make a flute, but the same bamboo stick can also be used to bit a person to death. Modern scientific equipments like television sets, mobile phones, computers etc has no doubt improved living conditions of man and made day to day life more comfortable. These devices eased our working conditions, saving time and money and energy, facilitated remote communications, bringing the whole world under one roof, at the same time entertaining and educating us, keeping us informed about all currant affairs, facts and events occurring through out the globe, have proved to be a boon on human life. But as the famous saying “good and bad are sides of the same coin”, (Lamb, 334) electronic devices, the outputs of modern technology also cast many adverse effects on human life. Now days, with the advancement of technology man are becoming more and more depended on it. Thus the whole generation is in jeopardy of losing the Sovereignty of emancipated thought and self confidence. Instead of all disadvantages, and shortcomings, it can never be denied that modern technology is the out come of mans tireless hard work, long perseverance. Thus, despite all its disadvantages Computers are here to stay.

References

Arief, Budi & Besnard, Denis. ‘Technical and Human Issues in Computer-Based Systems Security. 2005. Centre for Software Reliability. Web.

King, Henry. Information Technology Today. Auckland: HBT & Brooks Ltd. 2007.

Lamb, Davis. Cult to Culture: The Development of Civilization. Wellington: National Book Trust. 2008.

Special Report. ‘Information rich information poor: Bridging the digital divide’. 1999. BBC NEWS. Web.

Internet Legal Ethics. ‘Statement 2006’. LegalEthics.com. 2006. Los Angeles City. Bar. Ass’n. Professional Resp. and Ethics Comm. Formal Op. 514; Web.

United Press International. ‘Study: Hackers strike every 39 seconds’. sciencedaily.com. 2007. United Press International. Web.