By Emily Herbertson •
Published: 08 Aug 2023 • 12:27
Image - Shutterstock / Pop Tika
Technology continues to advance at the speed of light, with developments in machine learning and new lengths of wireless connectivity unveiled almost every day. In an era where the digital world continues to eclipse the physical, are we now at a point where these technical advancements are causing us more grief than relief?
Let’s look back to the start of the digital revolution which stemmed from post World War II society and came into its own during the late 1950s and 70s. From the introduction of the revolutionary transistor, digital record keeping became the norm, and towards the end of this period most households had a shared computer.
By the 80s mechanical robots were introduced to industry, and computers, alongside computer consoles such as the archaic Burroughs B205 that starred in Hollywood films such as Batman: The Movie and Fantastic Voyage, became a main component of film production – both in front and behind of the camera. Automated teller machines (more commonly known as ATMs) became an important addition to most banks, and the digitisation of processes created a new tier of skilled jobs. Entertainment became more entertaining, and the boundaries for space exploration and transportation were completely rewritten. As computer science became more advanced, the medical industry gained cures for previously incurable diseases.
Fast forward almost half a century, and we still reap the benefits of advanced machine learning, and computer science for sophisticated medical equipment that saves lives, traffic signals that ensure road safety, and mesmerising special effects that test our imagination and transport us to another planet when we watch the latest box office releases such as Avatar: The Way of Water, and Barbie.
But have these advancements come at a price?
Artificial intelligence has become synonymous with technology, it seems almost impossible to discuss one without the other – especially from the virality that came with OpenAI releasing Chat GPT to the public earlier this year. And this has only been exacerbated by the increasing advancements to machine learning capabilities, with Microsoft claiming in May that the latest NLP 4 model from Chat GPT exhibits forms of human-reasoning.
According to LinkedIn’s latest records, unemployment levels are still higher than pre-pandemic levels and is this really a surprise with a readily available AI assistant to complete endless tasks with endless personal and professional application?
Where the rapid technological advancement created jobs in the 1970s, we now seem to have come full circle with the growing capabilities and use cases of AI taking over popular job roles such as administrative support, customer service agents and creative writers.
It begs the question of whether the benefits that we reap from a cheaper service, a shorter wait time, and an instantaneous response justify the job scarcity that has come along with it?
The growing popularity of the social media app BeReal is another interesting sign that we might be regretting just how embedded technology has become in our social lives.
The concept of this app is to take us back to a time when filters didn’t exist, photos couldn’t be manipulated with clever camera angles, and you only had a limited number of tries to get the ‘perfect picture’. The simplicity of this app has become popular as a way of improving connectivity and checking in on the ‘reality’ of your friends and family’s lives. It’s about being real with how you look and what you’re up to in a way that Instagram no longer does.
If we think about why the over-glamourisation of Instagram has occurred, we could point to the pressure that advancements in augmented reality have brought on the expectations for appearance.
With the popularity of Photoshop, Facetune, and augmented reality filters, it’s now possible to change how your face and your body looks online. Health Circle Group explores the link between high social media usage and an increase in anxiety and depression in a recent study looking at modern technology and mental health.
Are we stuck in an era of catfishing and comparison where anything less than perfection is not tolerated online?
Whilst the release of Facebook in 2004 brought about a new kind of connection, with extended family feeling more involved in each other’s lives, and long-distance relationships thriving, will the metaverse bring about a new kind of digital to physical disconnect?
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Originally from the UK, Emily is based in Marbella and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at email@example.com.
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