Computers and Society

Topic Progress:
Benefits of a Computer-Oriented Society
Our generation strives to be the quick paced society which we are known to be. To do so, our generation uses computers to their full potential in order to do more tasks and to do them at a faster pace. Computers benefit the business and personal world by being able to do the following more efficiently: buying and selling products, communication throughout the world, enhancing our knowledge, job influences, entertainment, research and pay bills.

We’re now capable of creating new, more and better quality tasks with the enhancement of our technology. It also benefits the society with the enhancement of knowledge of medicine which creates more effective treatments, being able to create a better and longer life (which is another way to be more efficient). From my personal benefits of having a computer, I am able to have this blended course in able to invest my time differently so I will be able to do more tasks at the time a normal class would meet.

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The conveyance of computers is that you are able to access the computer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. This gives our society the time to expand their knowledge and create new opportunities for themselves whenever it’s needed.The Hit Sci-Fi film of 2009, Avatar, used photorealistic computer-generated characters, created using new motion-capture animation. Being a very crucial part of the human race, computers have ultimately altered the way today’s society works, communicates, entertains, and educates.

There is hardly any field of career left where technology isn’t essential; every small action performed in a job ultimately goes through some kind of a computer. In the end, being able to communicate and engage in this fast-paced manner enhances productivity level by a great amount.

One area this advancement of computers has immensely impacted is the business field. All businesses use computers to keep track of accounts, money, or make transactions. No longer will it take days, or even weeks, to communicate with someone that might not be located in one’s vicinity, as a computer allows one to easily send and receive emails with just a click of a button.

Another field that has come a long way ever since the production of computers is the entertainment area. Without the exceptional special effects put into an action movie with the help of our advanced technology, the audience would most likely not enjoy the show, resulting in the potential collapse of the entertainment business. For example, imagine watching the epic science fiction film, Avatar, but without any special effects put into it…it certainly would not be as entertaining as the power of computers transformed it to be. Hence, computers are able to keep both such consumers and sellers satisfied, while still continuing to integrate into the everyday lives of average individuals.

Disadvantages of a Computer-Oriented Society
With any benefits, there comes a disadvantage. As for computers, there have been problems with an excessive use, security and privacy issues and the problem with a dominant culture. With any product, any excessive use is bad; in this case the excessive use of the computer may result to a lack of human communication for face to face conversation and more communication through the computer. This affects our society’s confidence for when they are in in-personal conversation. To further add, people have the accessibility to abuse their time whereas people tend to be more attentive to their internet accesses and making the computer a time-consuming product. Many of the security and privacy concerns stem from the fact that a lot of our personal business takes place online.

One example of a security risk today is malware. Malware can be accidentally installed onto your computer by clicking on a link on a Web page or e-mail message that contains a malware program, such as a computer virus. Once a malware program is successfully installed, it will typically erase data or bog down the computer, but it can also a steal sensitive data from the computer such as passwords or credit card numbers. To fight against malware, a wide variety of security softwares can be installed which will notify and block any attempts of malware trying to gain access to a computer.

Another very common security risk is identity theft. Identity theft is when someone else gains access to your personal information and uses your identity to purchase goods or services. A popular way for identity thieves to steal personal information is phishing, a fraudulent e-mail or website that appears like a legitimate business in order to obtain Social Security numbers or other information needed for identity theft.

The last idea on how it influences our society is that there this dominant culture crisis that the cultures, globally, compete one another on the latest technology enhancement which creates a stronger ethnocentrism to the countries. As computers become more accessible and creates new ways to be more effective, it comes with more accessibility to these disadvantage and/or create new ones.

Differences in Online Communication
It is obvious that, as the computer has evolved, our communication processes through it have as well. Emails and social networks have quickly become the telephone of the past; these tools are not only used in the personal world, but in the business world as well. However, though computers make it easy and drastically more convenient to communicate with people, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines and watch the tone while talking.

These guidelines have come to be known as netiquette. Netiquette simply establishes what is and what is not acceptable when involved in online communications. One needs to remember that though it may not be face-to-face, they are still interacting with a human being. Act kind, courteously, professionally, and respectfully. Be sure to adjust your spelling, grammar, and tone of voice depending on the situation you are in; it may be okay to be casual when in a personal conversation, but emoticons and abbreviations don’t look to impressive within the business world. By following the rules of this accepted Internet law, it is easy to make oneself look rational, well educated, and insightful.

The Anonymity Factor
It is an inevitable fact that, with increasing online communications, there is almost always going to be a sense of anonymity. Like almost anything in the world, this can be used for both good and bad purposes. Online, one can be who they want to be. They can have a secret identity, they can make unknown usernames, and they can say the things they want without feeling the judgment of others upon them. This can be used for good if it is for true, honest, and legitimate opinions. Examples of this are reviews, discussions, blogs, and important emails.

The freedom of being a faceless commentator makes the individual feel comfortable expressing how they truly feel. However, it is important not to abuse this anonymity. People often use it to insult, harm, or coerce others into fraud. It is central that one learns how to properly and respectfully use this gift of obscurity without abusing it.

Diving deeper into the aspect of anonymity on the Internet, we see the need for anonymity and accountability. Users need to be anonymous in regards to personal information, such as, credit card information but need to be accountable for what they say online. Accountability means that anyone that partakes in misconduct online will be identified and be responsible for the consequences.

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David Davenport, an assistant professor in the Computer Engineering department at Bilkent University, explains that allowing anonymous communication online ensures that users of the Internet become unaccountable for what they say. He believes that free speech is not hindered if users are identifiable online. One reason for anonymity is the need for information privacy, which refers to the rights of individuals and companies to control how information about them is collected and used.

If everyone online could see the credit card number or the physical address of individual Internet users then no one would be safe. Professor Davenport explains the need for anonymity in protecting personal information and for accountability in identify users that partake in criminal acts online. Perhaps, in the future, as technology improves and is increasingly able to identity persons of malicious intent then anonymity will not be such a concern.

The Integrity Factor
Due to the relative ease of accessing virtually any sort of information on the internet, every user will encounter the scenario of verifying the credibility of that piece of information. It is estimated that there are over 200 billion web pages, yet search engines cover less than a quarter of that figure. This leads to the fact that the internet is bound to provide both accurate and inaccurate information, which therefore places the responsibility of validating what was found on the user.

For example, because Wikipedia provides such an extensive database of human knowledge freely and the ability for any person to edit many of the articles, it became apparent early on that there was a sort of “vandalism” taking place. Users would purposefully make false claims relating to that article for entertainment, and this constant abuse of the system inevitably led to a somewhat damaged reputation for the reliability of the site. However, over the years, Wikipedia has improved itself with updated methods of deterring vandalism to provide for more accurate information.

Wikipedia is only one site of billions, though. To obtain reliable information means for a user of the internet to question literally every site. According to Virginia Tech, this “questioning” is composed of five fundamental aspects:authority, coverage, objectivity, accuracy, and currency.

Authority relates directly to the source of the information on that page. A user must take into consideration who is creating the information and the associations of the author(s) to other persons or groups (e.g. URL, reputation, expertise).

Next, coverage questions the depth of the relevant information. This requires the user to examine the page and determine whether the information is actually useful or not.

Objectivity is another crucial component because it examines inherent bias that authors use to further their goals. The information must be factual instead of distorted to persuade the user into taking a side.

Accuracy is arguably the most important because it tests the validity of the information. For example, if the page contains a claim that completely contradicts the scientific community, it might be good reason to determine that everything else be read with a skeptical mindset.

Lastly, currency examines how up-to-date the page is compared to the present time. If there are multiple updates frequently with links that are still alive (that is, they do not redirect the user to a dead page) then the user can feel confident that the author is providing information that is relevant to today.

Earn a Certificate of Completion for completing this course. Pass a 50-question test on this course with a score of 70 or higher and receive a certificate of completion. Visit our Computer Information Systems Certificate of Completion page for more information.

The text for this course is available from WikiBooks under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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