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Chapter 3-2

CMNS 221 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3-2: Digital Divide, Social Inequality, Critical Thinking

Course Code
CMNS 221
Martin Laba

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The reality and repercussions of a connected world
The future arrives
It’s virtually impossible to anticipate where any particular technology will take society
and how it will interact with a vast array of other technologies, social systems and
Connected devices and systems will deliver far greater automation, increased
convenience, and remarkable efficiency gains
The Internet of Things also beckons with the promise of better and cheaper products
and services, along with improved safety and increased human knowledge
The ability to drill down into data redefines everything from transportation to law
enforcement and agriculture to manufacturing
IoT will be used in both good and bad ways
IoT will require new laws along with significant and ongoing changes to our social
Putting human factors into motion
One of the biggest challenges with all technology is designing systems that deliver a
high level of reliability and safety
While technology often removes human judgement, decision-making, and the real
world risk of inattentiveness, it also introduces new hazards and replaces the
potential for smaller scale accidents and breakdowns with larger scale problems
“Automation paradox” → as automated systems become increasingly reliable and efficient,
the more likely it is that human operators will mentally “switch off” and depend on the
automated system
Machine logic doesn’t always jibe with human brain
There is often a great deal of human intuition involved in a process or activity and
that’s not something a machine can easily duplicate
IoT is only beginning to reach a critical threshold of usability and practicality
IoT technologies must function on a practical level and the complexities of IoT
systems must be manageable within a society
Smart systems, dumb people?
One basic concern is whether smart devices are making humans less intelligent or
changing our intelligence
The paradox : the more things devices do for us, the less in touch we are with our
natural environment and rhythms and the less we exercise our bodies and brains
Our brains are sure to adapt and evolve to accommodate the technology
IoT and the Digital Divide
The digital divide focuses on the potential for economic and social inequality
Technology advances could eventually leave nonconnected individuals further
behind the technology curve
Some could miss out on basic tools and functions for navigating life or they will have
to work harder to get through a day or earn a decent wage
A path to downward mobility?
One of the challenges of integrating new technologies into society is the continual
displacement of jobs and workers
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