Information and technology in the 21st century: How does it form a new dependency?

One of the great social revolutions in the 21 century is information and technology (IT). Back in my village, in my childhood, around the 1980s, life was in a challenging situation to access information and technology compare with the 2000 era. The Millennium era, which started around 20 years ago, it has changed a lot of social order, especially information and technology. The new social order with the technology revolution has shaped a new era of social life within the communities, nations, and states.

Technology has been emerging since the industrial revolutions in 1760, and it was started in Europe. For example, the emerging of the industrial revolution changing the workers in factories, small industries and home industries. For Example the agricultural sector was replaced to industrial machines. The manual work has shifted to modern equipment which primarily derived from the industrial revolution (in the 17 century) into new sophisticated devices (advanced technologies) in Europe

Paddy Field

One of the outcomes of the industrial revolution reveals modern technology. In reality, it has generated a massive and modern communication industry. Communication is growing very fast with various kinds of devices such as computer devices, manual-handphone to digital phones, tablets, etc. These technology devices are some examples of how the combination of technology and information is introduced to influence human life in this century.

Nowadays, the information can be accessed easily everywhere, without any hindrances or difficulties. One of the core devices of IT (Information and Technology) is the presence of the internet. Internet devices generate effective communication and interactions all over the world. People are connected across the community, nation, and region without borders. It truly influences every aspect of social life in this century.

Smartphone and internet generate a new dependency

I cannot do anything without my smartphone

The presence of the internet has created a new dependency. We can probably imagine if there is no access to the internet for some reason, the internet users (human beings) might have deep stressful, and will not work properly. Even just for a single day, people cannot do their activities without an internet connection. It happened to my friend; he looks like having a high fever because the electric power was off. There was no internet connection. He could not eat all day; he was waiting for the internet connection to check his email and Facebook (He need to update his status and update some selfie photos). This is one of the reality in social life, and human being is much more dependent on internet devices.

In academic life, for instance, students who are studying at the university, if the whole system is out the internet (offline), I believe this offline condition might affect the entire teaching and learning activities. Let’s take one example of student life in Timor-Leste, compare to my academic life experiences in 2003. There was no internet connection when I did my undergraduate in Indonesia about 17 years ago.

Going to Warnet (Warung Internet) is the only way to access the information. Sitting in the warnet, I used to spend almost 5-12 hours to collect information and saved all the files in my flash disk. For writing an assignment, I used a rental computer. It was the moment that I feel manual work was a little bit slow and time consuming compare with this moment; everything is super fast.

With the super-fast of the internet connection, we can do anything. We can even order food and electronic product with GRAB or GOJEK-application. These applications enable us to make our lives “super-fantastic” we can also travel to everywhere by using google map. It is the reality that the human brain created super-fast devices for human needs. Life in the past was the moment that I feel more social and friendship, even though the technology was mostly dominated with old fashion, a little bit slower and time-consuming compare with this moment. But I feel extraordinary human relations ware there back in 17 years ago.

WARNET(Computer Rental)
Right-Aquino, Middle-Joao, Left-Celso

If I compare my student life in Indonesia and the current student in Timor-Leste, it is much more different. Although Timor-Leste is a newly independent country, internet users are increasing, especially college students; most of them have smartphone and automatically they can access the internet. Similarly, business people, farmers, and jobless people also have smart phone with an internet connection.

The internet is vital for everyone, especially for the young generation; they used to communicate with their friends, family, partners through social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram.) Using social media for their communication even more important than visiting or hangout to together. In my observation, for-example back in 2015 in Timor-Leste, around 60 percent of young people have a smartphone. I believe most of them have Facebook users. There are even some parents who provide smartphones to their children around the age of 7-12 years to facilitate communication with their children during school activities.

In this Millenium era, information and technology have shifted into modern lifestyle devices. Using the internet through smartphone is one of the contemporary products of Information Technology (IT). It is obvious that there is a great achievement generated by IT evolution; it makes our life super easy to have better access to any information across the world. However, there is some negative effect. Information Technology (IT) has also created a new dependency. The culture of social relations in Timor-Leste has undermined by these new technology devices. For instance, it is obvious to see everyone in the meeting room, schools, and bus stations are busy with their smartphone. This kind of social lifestyle is totally a new phenomenon, this new social life has also revealed a new culture and tradition. I assume that, in some part, the latest technology devices are threatening Timorese culture.

Technology with a new model of social life in Timorese societies

The notion of Timorese culture, socializing in the community, hanging out with friends may be in a dangerous situation, and in the coming years, the social culture that we have might become extinct. It is happening in this millennium era, especially for young people, they are less productive in doing their tasks, and for those who are working in the government sectors or private sector probably will not fully concentrate on their work.

For students who use a smart-phone, they are also busy with updating their status on social media or playing an online game. It affects their discipline to study or to do their extra activities. The presence of Information and Technology is a great opportunity but also has created negative influences on social life. A human being is not free anymore because information and technology have shaped our freedom into a complicated life, which addictive to use smartphone (busy with social media).

Our life relies on technology (the internet). It is the era of dependency. Regarding the concept of “dependency.” Let’s have a look at the example of the notion of political economy in the discourse of the “dependency theory” written by Brazilian social scientist, Mr.Cardoso. It might be useful to use this theory to re-introduced a new model. It is not dependency between north and south, but it is about a global dependency between human beings and technology. I argue that this new social dependency model is about “human dependency” on new cultural life, new technology, the new identity of social life within the social network framework. It is a significant phenomenon for us. What are the solutions? Let’s think about this phenomenon together.

The millennium era is a transformative moment, but it is a pity; we are living in a fantasy with real technology, with a new model of social life. I believe that modern devices (smartphone with internet) will lead people to be individualists and selfish.

Celso da Fonseca. 6/3/20

As a young generation that used to live in a completely manual era, I miss that moment. The moment that I spent a lot of time with friends, with a cup of coffee, we can hang out, discuss, and socialize with the societies, community, and family is no longer visible. I feel social relations are just like robotics and alien relations, and their mind is designed to respond to human needs. IT devices are created to fulfill our desire with the notion of “super fast, super demanded, super busy and super arrogant”. In the end, all human beings will become supermen or superwomen. Hehehehheheh, (Just my illusion.)

I miss you, the manual or offline era.

Celso Fonseca

Published by Celso Da Fonseca

I'm just a dreamer who enjoys my freedom. Freethinker, free writer, and free dream.

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