The technological progress that has taken place over the past 50 years is astonishing. Leveraging the advances realized with each new generation of hardware and software has enabled unprecedented improvement. Today, machines that help design newer more powerful versions of technology are accelerating that trend. This rapidly changing landscape has altered business, industry and science itself. The accelerating pace of improvement results in both positive and sometimes difficult outcomes. Among them are a growing amount of electronic scrap, conveniences for consumers and changes in how people relate to one another.
Growing Electronic Waste
A prevailing attitude of rapidly discarding old technology for new is resulting in a tremendous volume of electronic waste. The latest versions of computers or cell phones are quickly adopted while the older versions are discarded. While this does present landfill challenges, there are efforts underway to increase recycling, repurposing and reusing.
The ability to communicate electronically has never been easier than it is today. This feature of progress has produced new trends in daily life. One example is online shopping. The ability to sort through almost every option available for consumer goods and select based on price and availability is a relatively new phenomenon. The days of going to retail outlets, while still available, are losing ground to the convenience of clicking to purchase goods from the comforts of home.
Changing Relationship Dynamics
The advent of social media is a huge change in how people relate to one another. Creating profiles that present a publicly accessible store of personal information is altering how relationships form and change over time. Immediate and constant communications and visual communications through different media are just two of the newly available ways of relating. The profound nature of this change is yet to be determined.
Rapid technological changes are reshaping society. New trends and unanticipated consequences are becoming apparent over time. How this will affect the long-term conditions we live in is an unanswered variable being played out daily in modern life.