Information technology is a good vehicle for the argument. Some scientists remind us that voluminous information does not necessarily lead to sound thinking. There are many genuine dangers that computers bring to modern society: efficient invasion of privacy, over-reliance on polling in politics, even abdication of control over military decision-making. Data glut obscures basic questions of justice and purpose and may even hinder rather than enhance our productivity. Edutainment software and computer games degrade the literacy of children. On the other hand, only a few use PCs on network to share information and ideas. In most cases IT is used to speed routine tasks, to automate manual processes rather than to change work patterns and business practices. Most managers use their PCs to edit documents – not a good use of their time when they could be dreaming up creative applications. It is time to evaluate anew the role of science and technology in the affairs of the human species.
So, if you are riding on the information highway, you should take steps to cope with information overload. The gift of boundless information is causing a new kind of stress known alternately as technostress, information overload or Information Fatigue Syndrome. Some experts say that we don’t get anywhere near the data, it takes to overload our neurons. According to some estimates, our mind is capable of processing and analyzing many gigabytes of data per second – a lot more data than any of today’s supercomputers can process and act on in real time. We feel overloaded by the quantity of information because we are getting it unfiltered. We should filter out the junk and turn data into shapes that make sense to us. Stress in moderation is good: it drives us to achieve, stimulates our creativity and is the force behind social and technological breakthroughs. Stress is revealing how humans are in some ways more primitive than the technology they have created. Meditation, muscular relaxation, aerobics, jogging, yoga can be effective stress relievers, but no technique is universal: experiment and find the one that best works for you.
The cornerstones of an economy are land, labor, capital and entrepreneurial spirit. That traditional definition is now being challenged. Today you find a fifth key economic element: information dominant. As we evolve from an industrial to an information society, our jobs are changing from physical to mental labor. Just as people moved physically from farms to factories in the Industrial age, so today people are shifting muscle power to brain power in a new, computer-based, globally linked by the Internet society.
Exercise 8. Discuss the following questions.
1. How much has technology changed in just the last 20 years?
2. If you were to bury a time capsule to be opened in 2100 what would you put into it?
Exercise 9. Explain the buzzwords in the text.
Exercise 10. Define the following terms:
e.g. Buffer – an area of storage used to temporarily hold data being transferred from one device to another.