Recent development in technology can potentially affect the younger generation in the future. Newly invented technology can cause problems in workplaces such as a factory, in a meeting, and also at your own workspace in the office and there are causes and consequences of the issues, both nationally and globally. The reason of choice is my own personal interest in the topic which is the digital age as I am a student to ICT/IT. There are several issues identified and to be investigated in this individual report as stated below:
- Why are people losing their jobs in offices and factories due to recent advancement in technology?
- How technology affects privacy?
- How does technology affect productivity?
The first issue is people are losing their jobs in the offices and factories as robots are replacing human workforce. Automation where robots are doing human jobs. Robots that are deployed in factories are only needed to be programmed once and they can repeat the same job many times over and over again without any problem compared to humans who may have issues doing the repetitive jobs. Human workers’ efficiency can be decreased if the workers aren’t motivated to continue working hard to produce the maximum output of the product as fast as possible. This results in robots being more efficient compared to humans in terms of high productivity rate and factory owners are replacing humans with robots to produce and maximize their profits. This will lead to unemployment as workers will lose their jobs.
According to HBR.org, the country that is most likely to be affected by automation is Japan as a robot can do more things with the advancement of technology. While in Foxconn, Apples’ main iPhone assembler in China, they have been replacing humans with robots since 2014 according to the online news website, 9to5Mac. If the ratio of robots in the assembly line is higher than the number of humans working in a factory this could cause unemployment in the human workforce and will eventually lead to increase poverty of the people if this issue isn’t mitigated properly. There is also a hotel in China where it is run by robots. This significantly reduced the cost of running the hotel and also the price of a night stay is also reduced according to the Daily Mail. Not only China has fully robotic hotels, according to the Guardian, Japan also has a robotic hotel just like China. Its hotel room however uses facial recognition instead of key/RFID tags/cards to unlock the door as the hotel guest face is registered into the system during the hotel check-in process. The reason behind the change in the hotel room unlocking technology is a robot isn’t smart enough to look for the hotel room key if the guest loses it which they are likely to lose. Further, not all robots in the hotel can call a cab or do other errands other than what it is programmed for.
There are still certain areas in the hotel that requires humans such as maintenance, hotel guest room housekeeping and hotel security but in the future with the development of artificial intelligence, the robots may be smart enough to handle security and housekeeping functions such as cleaning/making the beds, vacuuming the rooms, calling the Uber cab for its hotel guests and play different roles in the hotel than what they were programmed for. In a discussion paper by Khazanah Research Institute, it states that “rapid technological advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, advanced data analytics, and many other breakthrough technologies have the potential to drastically reshape global value chains, supplant entire industries, and displace many existing workers, even as they bring forth new opportunities. Malaysia, as with all economies closely integrated with the global economy, will not be spared. It is estimated that 54 per cent of all jobs in Malaysia could be at high risk of being displaced by technology in the next two decades”. Malaysians need to start learning about the future of technology and start teaching their children about it. Human workers need to change to adapt to the new technological advancements to stay in employment.
The second issue that I am researching is “does technology affect privacy of people in today’s world?” As we are living in a digital age where people would own at least a smartphone or a form of the computer either a desktop or a laptop, they would always carry their connected devices such as a smartphone with them to stay connected with their friends, family, and colleagues whether it is related to personal or work. The issue with that is if private information isn’t protected properly, the personal information may get stolen and these information which may include personal details may be up on sale to advertising companies who would buy and make use of such data to provide more relevant advertisement towards the users. Sometimes the user’s username and password is up on sale from a data breach or up on an online page which poses not only security risk, but also poses privacy risk as the hackers can gain full access to the user’s account and do modifications such as changing the user’s account settings, profile, login password, deactivate the user’s account and also gain access to other services that are linked to the account that the hacker hacks. Secondly, we always have our mobile devices such as smartphone which is always connected to the internet.
This also can pose a privacy risk as you can be tracked through the internet via GPS, the approximate location of your whereabouts and triangulating your location from nearby Wi-Fi, cell towers and Bluetooth. Not only that, there are services that provide storage for you to keep data online. Services such as Google drive, OneDrive, Dropbox stores your data file in their servers which means that they aren’t stored locally on your personal computer. These “cloud” storage services provide convenience in sharing files between your colleagues at work, teammates working on a project such as Global Perspective team project and sending a “heavy” file to your friends and family and not only that, it also comes with 24/7 uptime since it is not stored locally but it is in their servers which could potentially pose a privacy risk if there is a data breach. For example, the cloud service mega upload which is now defunct because of the United States government seized its domain and their assets and also arrest the site key employees as the website is known for hosting unauthorized uploads of copyright contents from its users.
Not only that, company’s confidential information such as unreleased movies, unannounced products, unannounced software and also movie script can be easily leaked out through the internet without the company knowing if there isn’t any safety precaution done to protected the confidential products from incidental leaks happening to their products. Apple products, for example, are leaked every single year onto websites such as 9to5mac and MacRumors. One way of solving the problem is to have an air gaped computer just like what the writers used to write the script of star wars- the last Jedi. An air-gapped computer is a computer that is never connected to the internet to ensure that the computer is free from virus, hackers and unintentional leaks to the public. Such data breaches could cost the users dearly as they may be required to recover or reconstruct the lost data. The last issue would be, “does technology affect productivity in the office and also wherever you perform your work?” Recent advancement in technology had increased connectivity and convenience which in turn increased the number of people working remotely instead of working in the traditional office environment. This in turn result in cost savings for both the employer and the employee. The employers do not required to have a large office space as their employees can work from home. The employees in turn would save travelling costs and time to the office as they can now work from home. However, technological advancement could also bring some problems too.
Technological advancement could bring distraction to workers working in the office and reduce productivity in the office which would lead to reduced output from the employees. There are several productivity killers in the office, the biggest one would be incoming messages/calls as the worker’s phone rings/vibrates, the workers would stop working for a while and read/reply messages/pick up the phone and talk to the person who called over the phone. This not only affects workplaces but it also affects students in school as well. With technological advancement, more and more devices are getting portable and these would distract students in class as they would be constantly be checking for messages, texting and also updating their social media. But on the other hand, technology does bring some improvement to workers productivity such as more accurate results in accounting and less time is needed to check for errors since there is no calculation error if accounting is done on a computer.
Now comparing all three issues with their own strengths and weaknesses. For the first issue which is people losing jobs in the offices or factories as robots and automation are replacing human workforce. This would increase poverty as more and more people would lose their jobs to robots and automation. On the other hand, even with robots making a few hotels look futuristic with them doing most of the human jobs, with current technology and artificial intelligence not fully developed yet, the robots cannot be compared to human workers who may be able to attend to their guests’ personal needs more efficiently. And from the personal privacy issue, at the point of writing this research, not only robots can be hacked, they can also be turned into a way to lose personal privacy as the microphone can be used to record the conversation and be transmitted to the hacker and the camera and sensor of the robot can be used to leak confidential information in the room.
From the productivity point of view, the advancement of today’s technology changes the way we use our technological devices to improve productivity. We can use our portable devices to do many things that our previous bulky devices such as the camera cannot do. For example we can use our smartphones to take photos of documents and sending them to our colleagues who are overseas who need them urgently to complete their work. Further with new technological advancements, we are now not only able to send traditional SMS text messages but we are also able to send and receive instant messages through WhatsApp which uses the internet and which cost nothing other than the internet fees compared to the old analogue telephone technology which costs more per call or per fax. There are certain measures to be taken to solve the problems. For people who are losing their jobs in offices or in factories (robot replacing human workforce), the solution to this problem would be to have a balance between machinery and workers. The factory owners should know that the consequences of replacing the human workforce with robots as this will cause serious problems such as an increase in poverty.
On the loss of personal data and privacy problems, action can be taken to solve privacy problems is to raise awareness about the importance of privacy, the use of encryption and also the use of an air-gapped computer by not connecting to the internet at all to protect confidential information. Lastly, actions can be taken to solve distractions from device usage such as mobile phones usage during meetings is to have the mobile phones turned off during the meetings so that employees can pay attention during the meeting. In conclusion, my personal perspective on the global and national issue on technological advancement is that there must be a balance between automation/robots and human workforce in the work place to prevent poverty. People need to start learning about the future of technology and start teaching their children about it. They need to change to adapt to the new technological advancements to stay in employment. There is a need to create awareness to prevent and protect from loss of personal/sensitive/confidential data and there is a need to balance the usage of smart devices such as smartphones at offices to prevent loss of employees’ productivity.
- http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-automation/technology-is-invading-our-privacy/article/307471/ 10. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/international-report-technology/
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