- There’s been a movement away from face-to-face meetings / communication. Instead, people and businesses use video conferencing, Elluminate (incorporates chat and presentation conferencing facilities) and virtual conferencing (Second Life).
- Technology is more portable and people have and expect constant access to the internet.
- Communication is virtually instantaneous (compare email versus snailmail).
- Communication is less rigid and less inclined to conform to traditional standards and rules. It’s less formal. Mistakes are common. Acronyms are also common.
- Speed / time – money can be saved because it’s much quicker to move information around.
- Cost – it feels free to send an email (although it isn’t); it’s certainly cheaper than phone calls. Video conferencing saves money on flights and accommodation.
- Online communication brings families / friends together across distances.
- Education – it’s accessible and there’s lots of free information.
- Community – it can reduce isolation and provide support systems for people who need it.
- It’s available 24 / 7. People can do shopping / banking / chat at any time they like. They can communicate with people on the other side of the world while everyone in their own country is asleep.
- Reliance on technology – people don’t bother learning to spell because they use spell-checker etc…
- Loss of face-to-face may mean loss of some communication skills and loss of the personal touch.
- There are risks attached to the unknown / hidden elements on the internet (you don’t necessarily know who you are talking to).
- Reliability of information – everyone’s posting so just because something’s on the web doesn’t mean it’s reliable.
- Viruses, fraud and identity theft are all risks for people using the internet.
- There are costs associated with maintaining equipment and keeping equipment up with contemporary software.
- Addiction – some people get addicted to web / games etc.. which increases their social isolation and can cause health problems.
- Health issues related to less sun, exercise etc… and a tendency to eat more.
- Interruptions – because people don’t tend to turn off technology, they don’t focus or concentrate for uninterrupted periods as much. There’s a trend towards mult-tasking that can have benefits but also impacts productivity.
- There are potential risks relating to cancer and fertility associated with regular exposure to mobile phones.
- Identity theft
- Fraud etc…
AI, Modeling and Simulation:
- Virtual conferences are a form of simulation. There are sites that enable audio / visual virtual conferencing or Second Life.
- Social networks provide virtual communities. Social contact is formed online rather than real world. This includes dating sites. There are both advantages and disadvantages to these.
- AI – chatbots at present are fairly unsophisticated but in time they may enable people to have conversations with computers where they don’t realize they’re not communicating with another human being.