The world cannot seem to get enough of machines now. We rely on them for pleasure, work, innovation, and improved quality of life. But it also appears that humans have begun to over-rely on machines for instruction rather than engage in rational thinking. Besides, behavioural psychologists have also noticed the waning capacity of humans in the 21st century to spend quality time with other people without getting distracted, let alone spend any time with themselves. Introspection and reflection are not as popular, with incessant beeps and bleeps always quick to call one out of that zone.
The strength and capacity of the human mind are feared to be deteriorating due to this overreliance on machines. A practical example is a noticeable reduction in people’s ability to spell correctly, due to being used to the autocorrect feature on their smartphones. Also, behaviour that may have been immediately recognised as irrational is now subjected to internal debate in the mind. For example, when they are driving on a one-way street but the GPS map instructs them to turn the wrong way.
We have highlighted these cons because there would be no holistic discussion of how digitalisation has impacted our lifestyles without acknowledging the low points. The following paragraphs discuss in more specific detail the aspects in which our lives have been influenced by embracing digital solutions.
Office Work Has Been Revolutionised
Working in this era is now safer, faster, and more accurate. Automation in procurement, for instance, can help simplify otherwise time-consuming tasks like following up on orders and ensuring their readiness for pickup. According to research, up to 600 hours can be saved on this task alone per year. While there is the fear of robots taking over the jobs of human employees, it is instructive to note that these systems are not made to shortchange man but to leave more time for man to focus on tasks and problems that really matter. The only people who will be left out in the world of work are those unwilling to join the trend as the workplace evolves through digital solutions. It is also important to note that, while digitalisation will phase out many more traditional jobs in the long run (as it already has started to do), it is not leaving a void. Every day, new opportunities, new careers to aspire to, and new challenges to tackle are created to solve man’s problems in ways that have never been experienced before.
Shopping Has Never Been Easier
Digitalisation has made it possible for sellers to connect with their buyers worldwide. This impact of digitalisation has influenced not only access but also ease and speed. Before the global outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020, there had been a slow but steady adoption of digital solutions to our everyday business and personal activities. However, the pandemic expedited the use of digital tools and the commercial industry was not left behind in this rapid transformation brought on by the necessity to thrive despite the global shutdown. With movements restricted and most people bored out of their minds, internet shopping, a collaboration of many digital processes such as inventory, payment gateway, logistics, procurement, delivery, etc., became the new norm.
There Is Improved Access to Quality Healthcare
Innovation and democratisation of medical solutions in healthcare have had an exponential leap in recent years. Save for issues such as scarce resources and legislation that sometimes impacts the adoption of some digital processes, patients are more open to procedures that rely on digital tools as there is improved trust and reliance on technology in medicine. The digitally assisted medical and healthcare solutions are limitless, from the use of augmented reality and virtual reality, which help patients to manage their illness and recover faster from it while providing an overall improved patient experience. These digital solutions have assisted doctors in explaining to their patients what their procedures will look like through graphic simulations. They have also improved the database management of medical facilities, especially in terms of storage and retrieval of patient information and communication and collaboration among interdisciplinary medical teams.
It’s a Whole New Ball Game in the World of Sports and Recreation
There used to be a time when the queues to buy tickets to watch sports live in action was long and the wait exasperating. Today, with digitalisation, this has become a walk in the park, and we are now even looking to a future where we may be sitting to watch players play through virtual reality. With the advent and more common use of holograms these days, we may have sports fans enjoy an improved spectator experience where they watch the virtual version of their favourite teams compete.
Entertainment on demand is yet another aspect in which digitalisation has influenced sports. Then, having to enjoy sports was either of two ways: buying a ticket to watch from the stands or watching the broadcast on TV. Today, however, the experience is a lot different and better. With the options for recording and broadcasting sports events on several internet media (such as YouTube or sports websites) through digital tools, it is easier to catch up on games. This can be done during lunch or bathroom breaks, travels, or while relaxing outdoors.
Also, sports betting has transformed through digitalisation. Mobile sports betting applications are available for download; they help sports fans predict the odds on their favourite players and clubs. It has also made it possible for game sponsors to enjoy better ad targeting and conversion. By strategically manipulating big data, advertising brands can get the data of people who watch sports online and thus send them personalised ads to cater to their unique pain points. This has been proven to yield two times more results than traditional marketing.
With the digitalisation of sports comes the globalisation of sports. Although the latter may threaten to be the beginning of the end of the local sports market, on the brighter side, it means that people from all over the world can get exposed to and follow sports and recreational activities from other parts of the world. For instance, sports content like the Japanese Judo transmitted digitally can be enjoyed by viewers from places as far away as Africa.
The Way We Socialise Is Not Quite The Same Anymore
In terms of how people interact with one another in the wake of new technologies that influence how we interact and communicate, the results are filled with both the good, the bad, and the ugly. A few decades ago, one had to be confined to the house to receive phone calls from loved ones. Today, phones have made this easier, and smartphones which are getting even smarter with every new version released into the market, have made it possible to socialise on many social media platforms.
Where finding a life partner is concerned, one no longer worries about being consigned to a life of loneliness, as friendship, companionship and love can be stoked and maintained with people whom one has not met before. Dating sites and even social media platforms have made this possible. It is also easy to keep up with family and friends through social media updates. Even studies reveal that over 40% of employees check up on their employees once in a while through their updates on these platforms. The same goes for coworkers, as they sometimes extend their relationships from the office to the internet.
But although socialisation through digital communication is an interesting development that we cannot even live without anymore, the bane of digitalised socialisation manifests in how close together people can be and yet be so far away. Our already-short attention span is becoming even shorter, especially with the distractions of our many phone applications holding more appeal than physical connection with the people around us.
That is not to mention the impact of digitalisation on the impressionable younger generation. In 2021, the Norwegian government issued a law banning influencers from retouching their photos, especially when these filter effects bestow an exaggerated physical appeal on their body features or when it exaggerates the effects of a product. This was in response to the pressure young people face from what they see on these social platforms, causing them to nurse unreasonable expectations, which often degenerates into self-loath.
Digital Learning Has Changed the Nature and Improved the Quality of Education
These days, it is possible to obtain a university degree without attending a physical school. This is possible thanks to digital resources like PDF textbooks, video and audio tutorials, or even live internet lessons, which allow students to learn from the comfort of their homes. Even in primary and secondary schools, laptops with internet connections have become integral to students’ learning resources. This has drastically improved access to educational content. Therefore, it is no surprise that young children of this generation are presumed to be smarter and more informed than every generation preceding theirs.
At Hidden Brains, we are poised to deliver enterprise solutions to contemporary challenges across all spheres of human endeavours. The future is pregnant with possibilities, and we are leveraging our 18 years of digital expertise to bring that future closer.
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