Effects of Technology: The Next Generation

Effects of Technology: The Next Generation

The workplace is never going to be the same. The office job is now a vanishing necessity for employers and employees alike. The 5,000 year old paper trail is coming to an end. Technology has revolutionized the whole concept of life, and it will continue to change the world and people's working lives.

Technology was a fear of the 20th century worker. Job losses were expected, but nobody really expected what actually happened. The almost totally negative view of technology in the workplace never really considered that technology would create many more jobs.

Cultural effects of technology

In the 1980s and 90s, the phrase "techno fear" was used to describe the terror of the unfamiliar computer technology which was emerging. That was a cultural backlash, ineffectual as it was.

Like the wheel, cultural resistance to the computer didn't make much sense, in the workplace or anywhere else. Efficiency is a natural principle, too. The simple fact was the new technology made everything a lot more efficient. That was game over, as far as cultural resistance was concerned. Today, "techno fear" is quite absurd, a museum concept.

Now, technology is the culture. The workplace has become entirely computerized in the fastest global technological changes in history. A whole generation of people under 20 has never known a world without this technology. People under 30 can barely remember it, if at all.

The upcoming generation is using computers from the age of about three years old. This is Generation Z, for lack of a better description, and previous concepts of the workplace and their daily lives are quite irrelevant to their futures.

Social effects of technology

The old social norms have also passed their use by dates. Generation Z may never have jobs in the sense that their parents did. They may never need to work in an office, or even meet their employers directly. They may not even need to set foot in schools or colleges to get their qualifications.

History teaches that society adapts to technology. Roads were once a novelty. Trade developed them, and the increase in population increased trade and the need for transport. Cities were originally centers of trade, and a form of defense. Centralized administration was another basis of urban demographics.

In the next generation, those conditions won't apply. People can work all over the world without leaving their computer. They can order food and entertainment just as easily. Society doesn't preserve the things it doesn't need. The old suburbia may be reincarnated as a place to live and work, in ways it never was before.

Society also no longer requires the massive, expensive infrastructure created by the Industrial Revolution. Automated production and fast delivery freight services could abolish the old infrastructure almost overnight. People born since 2005 might never need to commute, or spend their time trying to park ancient fossil fueled cars.

History has made its point. Technology will obliterate the old society. This may turn into 'Democracy whether anyone likes it or not,' a totally new society, with new technology supporting forms of social and professional interaction the futurists of the 20th century never considered possible.