In Chapter 11, we look at the role of Technology in Business and Society

In Chapter 11, we look at the role of Technology in Business and Society. We look at Cybersecurity, the loss of Privacy; we look at the Use of Robotics;  we look at Genetically Engineered Food; we look at Scientific breakthroughs in the Human Genome & Biotechnology…and so much more!
These are such important issues that we are all facing as a society, with so many awesome benefits and so many very real risks..

I want you to look at these issues and I want YOU to develop questions and answers about these issues. What questions do you have about these technologies (living in the current fast-paced technological environment, you must have questions!)..

Please post your question about the Topic that is attached. Then use your book or the Internet to provide some insight about your question..  Post the URL link of any Internet sources you use so your peers can review as needed.

****POSTS MUST INCLUDE MORE THAN A QUESTION IN ORDER TO GET ANY CREDIT AT ALL***

The Digital Divide in the United States and Worldwide

The gap between those who have access to the Internet through technology and those who do not is called the digital divide.9 Some people have Internet access through computers, cell phones, and other devices; others do not. People in developing countries often have less Internet access than people in developed countries; and within developed countries, persons of color and the less affluent often have less access. The presence of a digital divide is a problem because less advantaged individuals and societies may not enjoy the same benefits of technology as others.

In the United States, the government has acted to break down the digital divide.

The U.S. government launched a $7 billion effort to expand access, chiefly thorough grants to build wired and wireless systems in the most technologically neglected areas of the country. This government effort subsidized Internet upgrades for schools and libraries and provided digital textbooks in poor and rural areas. The falling prices of laptops and the newest generation of cell phones and Internet-enabled handheld devices enabled Internet access to be more affordable to many. The government also provided free cell phones and up to 250 free minutes for individuals who qualified, such as people seeking housing or job opportunities.10

By 2013, nearly 98 percent of American homes were able to access the Internet on some sort of high-speed broadband network, either at home or work.11

Some experts argued that the most important issue going forward was not access, but educating Americans on how the Internet could be a valuable aid for job hunting, acquiring health insurance, and accessing government services and other benefits. Yet, some pointed out that Internet access was still be too expensive for a majority of families in the poorest U.S. cities. The U.S. Census Bureau data reported that less than 50 percent of households (about 31 million) in the most economically depressed cities in the United States had access to broadband service.12

Globally, progress in narrowing the digital divide was slower, but there appeared to be reasons for optimism. Many businesses saw providing Internet access at the bottom of the pyramid as a lucrative business opportunity.

Smartphone maker BlackBerry unveiled a new model exclusively targeting mobile phone users in Indonesia in 2014. Its low-cost touch-screen model retailed for 2.2 million rupiah, or about $190, and contained a number of special applications for Indonesian users, including local banking and travel services and a directory of halal food outlets, critical in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Google, Facebook, and other companies joined forces to fund the Alliance for Affordable Internet, a global coalition seeking to bring down the cost of getting online for individuals in developing countries. Intel partnered with African phone manufacturers to bring down the price of smartphones running on Intel processors.13

The African marketplace, with only 16 percent of its population connected to the Internet, was a very attractive market for technology companies and corporate initiatives, such

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as those described above. Christopher Vollmer, executive at Booz & Company, explained the vital importance of bridging the digital divide globally: “We found that economically, the more countries are able to move up the digitization index, it actually improves GDP [gross domestic product] performance, it’s associated with positive job growth and it’s very critical for innovation.”14 Yet, more work was needed; some countries, such as Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, United States, Canada, and Britain, were at the high end of the digitization index, while poorer countries, such as Nepal, Syria, East Timor, and Haiti, were at the low end.

Mobile Telephones

Mobile telephones, or cell phones, use radio technology to enable users to place calls from a mobile device, with transmission over a service area divided into small “cells,” each with its own low-power radio transmitter. The first generation of cell phones, introduced in the 1980s, were clumsy analog devices; today’s digital smartphones provide a range of applications, including e-mail and Internet access, voice communications, video recording, and many more.

In North America, mobile phones were initially used mainly as a communications tool. But American cell phone users have recently joined many Europeans and Asians to embrace using their mobile phones for commerce. M-commerce, commerce conducted via mobile or cell phones, allows consumers to use their mobile phones as an electronic wallet. People can trade stocks or make consumer purchases of everything from hot dogs to washing machines. France Telecom marketed a mobile phone with a built-in credit card slot for easy wireless payments.

In 2014, Apple hoped to change how shopping was done with the introduction of Apple Pay, a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments using Apple devices, phones, tablets, and watches. Credit cards and banks, including American Express, Mastercard, Visa, Citi, Bank of America, and PNC, supported the system. Among retailers on board at the launch of Apple Pay were Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Whole Foods, Disney stores, and Staples. Restaurants supporting Apple Pay included Subway and Panera Bread. Apple touted its proprietary system as safe and secure because it created one-time payment numbers for purchases, rather than transmitting credit card numbers and security codes. “It’s easy, it’s secure and yes, it’s a private way to pay for things,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.15

Mobile devices can be used for more than making calls or shopping. These devices can run apps and GPS systems, access the Internet, send text messages and photos, and stream music and videos. Mobile data usage was predicted to significantly increase by 2018, an 11-fold increase in traffic, according to technology experts at Cisco Systems. “Global mobile network will increase three times as fast as global fixed traffic, helped primarily by the increase in the number of mobile device users worldwide, which will rise to 4.9 billion by 2018,” according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index Forecast.16

But with the potential for greater mobile device activity worldwide, some stakeholder groups warned that accompanying the increased usage would be increased frustration. Critics predicted more unwanted and unsolicited mobile text messages and incidents of malware and spyware. Some other undesirable consequences of mobile technology are described in Exhibit 11.A.

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Robert Bornstein, a psychologist at Adelphia University, says, “The superconnected may develop a dual-dependency. They’re not only counting on other people too much, they’re also hooked on the devices themselves, sometimes to the point where they feel utterly disconnected, isolated and detached without them.” Exactly how bad is the dependency on technology, specifically wireless devices? Some experts have warned that handheld e-mailing devices are so addictive that soon compulsive users will need to be weaned off them using treatment programs like the ones used by drug addicts. This overreliance upon technology can also cause physical problems, such as:

· BlackBerry thumb—a pain or numbness in the thumbs caused by constant e-mailing, messaging, or Internet surfing on handheld devices,

· Cell phone elbow—arthritic pain and swelling in the elbow from constantly holding a cell phone to the ear, which in some severe cases may cause nerve damage.

· PDA (personal data assistant) hunch—neck pain caused by looking straight down at your PDA minimonitor.

Or, psychological dependency problems:

It is common in the technological world for someone to view multiple screens, listen to music on an iPod, and send an e-mail or tweet all at the same time and for hours on end. The extensive interaction with many technological devices can be hazardous for the user. The term web junkie has been applied to individuals who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep, or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake. Loren Frank, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, concluded, “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories.” When the brain is constantly stimulated, this learning process is prevented. “Instead of having long relaxing breaks [allowing time for the brain to process the information], like taking two hours for lunch, we have a lot of micro-moments,” explained Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.

Sources: “Wireless Dependency,” New York Times, February 17, 2007, www.nytimes.com; “Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime,” The New York Times, August 24, 2010, www.nytimes.com; and “Screen Addiction Is Taknig a Toll on Children,” The New York Times, July 6, 2015, well.blogs.nytimes.com.

Social Networking

Social networking, a system using technology to enable people to connect, explore interests, and share activities around the world, exploded onto the technology scene in the 2000s, altering many social and human interactions. One positive example of social networking and how it saved lives was presented at the beginning of this chapter.

Similar to estimating the number of Internet users, any estimate on the number of people using social media is quickly outdated the moment the calculations are completed. In 2011, 1.2 billion people worldwide used social networking sites at least once per month; by 2015, that number was estimated to be more than 2 billion. Facebook was the most frequently used social network, with nearly 1.5 billion users by 2015, with QZone (a social networking site popular in China), Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr also among the top seven social network sites with more than 250 million users each by 2015. The most engaged countries for social networking in 2015 were Israel (where users spent an average of 11.1 hours per month on social networking), Argentina (10.7 hours), Russia (10.4 hours), Turkey (10.2 hours), and Chile (9.8 hours). In the United States, social network users spend 7.6 hours per month on networking sites.17

 

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