Computers

Do computers do more harm than good?

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2015-12-18 01:22:05
2015-12-18 01:22:05

This calls upon an opinion type of answer, and overall, it does seem this way.

Computers have made a societal revolution with a great reach for a better more convenient life. Computers help enhance society's knowledge, it also gives hope to the students with learning disabilities. The computer is used for many purposes for ex: entertainment, communication, research, sales, purchases and many more things. The computer has made it more convenient to be able to pay a bill or order products on-line.

However, society causes the computer to have a downfall by spreading hate and obscenity. These kinds of actions is what can be harmful about a computer.

It goes without saying that it all depends on who's behind the keyboard. It's the same principle with the gun. It's not the gun itself, but the person behind the gun and how that person uses it. Some computer professionals think that, if anything, computers have made our lives more complicated… more complex.

From the dark, impersonal world of Cyberpunk where computers have all but reduced human beings to mere operators, to Terminator's Skynet taking over the world, to 2001 - A Space Odyssey, where a malfunctioning shipboard computer reaps mayhem, the risk of relying too heavily on computers has been a staple of science fiction since its beginning.

This preoccupation extends beyond the world of fiction, and has also been pondered by ethicists, philosophers, computer scientists and economists. Social commentators and politicians, even teachers, have weighed in on the potential dangers of computers.

The definitions of harm and good are often vague. What can seem to be beneficial at one point in time can often appear harmful in the long term, and vice versa. It is hard to predict the long term effects of any phenomenon, and information technology is so pervasive that it is difficult to accurately understand the effect it is having now.

The benefits of computing are easy to see. The constantly growing ability to store and manipulate information has allowed us to develop new medicines, organize economies on an unprecedented scale, build new structures, design new products.

The rise of the internet has increased the effect of computers. Now people all over the world can communicate instantly. I can sit in Melbourne and communicate with someone in Washington in a manner never before appreciated. With this increased communication comes a growing sense of global unity, the rapid spread of enormous political and social movements, and a massive growth in international trade. People who in the past may have been isolated from society due to disabilities or social anxiety can now build social groups online. Opportunities for self-expression once denied some people are now available for anybody with an Internet connection and the time to take advantage of it. New forms of art flourish.

There is a flip side to this, of course. Not every individual or company in the world can afford the computing required to take part in this "virtual marketplace", putting them at a disadvantage. The tendency for people to spend more and more of their time online has lead to fears of increased isolation from reality. Violent computer games are often blamed for fostering a desensitization to violence, while many are worried about the threat to morals caused by access to pornography and obscenity.

It is hard to see how much these threats are inflated. A century ago wood-cuttings of naked women were considered highly risque, to say the least. Social attitudes change, and what was once considered vitally dangerous to society may now be seen as harmless and acceptable. Similarly, what may now be considered extreme elements of the Internet may one day be seen as relatively minor, or as a passing phase.

The potential for harm or good can be applied to individuals, and societies as a whole. In terms of individuals, there are economic and privacy risks, leading to a greater risk of being scammed. There is the pervasive fear of sexual predation. "Internet" addiction, gaming addiction and online gambling addictions are feared to be causing a breakdown in relationships.

However while these risks exist, there is little doubt the average consumer would claim that computers have improved their lives. These risks are usually easily managed by care, and happen to a distinct minority of users. "Sexual grooming" of the young, for example, is perceived by many to be a widespread activity. While it certainly is occurring, and can have a devastating impact on an individual's life, the numbers are not nearly as extreme as perceived and most Internet-using children will never encounter it, especially if they employ basic safety techniques.

In societal terms, the jury is still out. Terrorism remains a major fear, and computers make communication between terrorist cells and sympathizers, as well as transfer of funds and theft of identifying material, much easier. The issue of "moral decay" cannot be answered objectively as everybody has a different view of the ideal society. Many of the activities blamed on computers, such as pornography or sexual predation, occurred long before computers did.

All revolutionary technologies carry fundamental risks. The rise of Gutenberg's Press in Europe, and later the steam train and telephone, were faced with considerable opposition from moralists, preachers and commentators of the time. It is only in retrospect that they can be judged to have been beneficial - the same applies to computers.

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