Is the development of technology really a good thing?
As Mark Twain once said, “a lie can go half way around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” It’s always been assumed that the development of technology is a good thing – but is it? In the past decade, technology has developed faster than ever. The general consensus is that technology is developing faster than society can keep up with.
For journalists, this poses a problem. One person writes something; within minutes, if not seconds, it can be streamed globally, retweeted, and generally shared; whether it’s true or not. Once it’s out there, it’s there for good. While 20 or even 10 years ago drunken end-of-school celebrations would fade like the hangovers they induce, they are now displayed for all the world to see … and future employers to find. Current “schoolies” celebrations are flooding Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – I dread to think of the potential repercussions later on in these young people’s lives. With social media developing and people unaware of how to control their privacy settings, information is going out faster than it can be mediated.
The danger really is the changing nature of news: the emphasis now is on being first, not on being factual or correct. Once information is out there it is hard to retrieve. The danger is essentially of misinformation. The ethical dilemma is whether to wait to verify information – and risk others getting there first – or put the story out and fix it later.
Edward Snowden is a prime example of the dangers of technology. While many glorified him as a “patriot” and a “hero” – he essentially leaked classified documents. The global ramifications caused by his actions demonstrate just some of the dangers of instant information. So much emphasis is placed on freedom of speech, and with technology this power is being abused. Ignorant individuals with internet access can achieve anything.
In conclusion, it is a double edged sword. With technological development comes great responsibility… –Benedicte Earl
Image from Paul Garland’s Flickr photostream