Information Technology: more information, faster... but at what cost?

Personal computers, the Internet, and cell phones are giving more people access to more information than ever before – and much faster. If people around the world need information about anything, they will probably find it faster with the help of new technology.

No one knows what the long-term effects of new information will be, but already we can see important changes in our daily lives. In education, for example, new technology has began to make positive changes in the way we teach and learn. If students learn to use computers and the Internet to do research and report information, they will be better prepared for college or for work. An upside of new technology is that allows students to study English and other subjects on-line.

Information technology has also been beneficial to business. The use of e-mail and fax machines allows workers to share information instantly. People can use the Internet at work to research information without having to leave their offices. If people have laptop computers, they can easily take their work home or with them on business trips.

The advantages of information technology are clear, but there are also disadvantages. Computers are wonderful tools for researching, storing and sharing information, but they cannot replace human interaction. If people use computers too much, the downside is that they spend less time with other people. Computers can never replace face-to-face meetings and personal relationships at work.

Computers and others electronic technology will also isolate us at home if we are not careful. Computers are already contributing to a potentially negative behavior known as cocooning: the habit of staying at home – watching TV or videos, playing computer games, or surfing the Internet – rather than going out with other people. Our neighborhoods will become less friendly if we prefer our computers to our neighbors.

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