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Global Perspectives Individual Report

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The topic I have chosen for my IGCSE Global Perspectives Component#1 is Digital World. The sphere that I am highlighting under this topic is “have technological advancements reached a limit by which they can be called harmful”. The reason why I have selected this topic is because in recent years, critics worldwide have raised arguments on the reliability of the role of technology in the life of the average human.

The progression of new technology has been taking place since the beginning of human history. From the invention of items like the knives and spears made out of rocks and sticks for killing animals for food, to contraptions like the first printing press and the computer.

The advancement in technology has been remarkably fast in the 20th and 21st century. With electronic technology and machines being produced and improved all the time, it was most probable that along with the positive attributes of these new advancements, people would also consider a critical analytical approach of the negative aspects of new technology.

Every day miscellaneous companies manufacture something more advanced in an attempt to win the consumer war against another company. This consumerism is compelling the rate of advancement more rapidly each year. The creation of the iPhone by Apple is an example of this. All of a sudden people could call, text, browse the internet, listen to music, watch videos and click photos all in one place. No other cell-phone company in market could compare to it. This was certainly a positive, seeing that people could use the phone to store data for work, education, entertainment. But it was only a matter of realization before the negative claims began as well; too expensive, quick battery power loss and could a device like this stop face to face communication all together-to name just a few claims.

Technology will always have negative aspects because it depends on what the purpose of the technology is and who is making use it; Albert Einstein once said “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal”. [1]

One of the greatest negative claims observed on past years was against the advancement of gaming technology. A video game called Grand Theft Auto was released in October 1997. The game was based on violence. It included stealing cars, killing and hurting random people, to more offensive content like the prostitute characters. Computer games were cast aspersions on after an incident in the USA with a teenage boy who shot at two policemen and a dispatcher, killing them in 2003. He had once before been brought to the police station on suspicion of driving a stolen car, which is something that repeatedly occurs in the game series.

The media described the incident in such a way “Lawsuit: “Grand Theft Auto” Led Teen to Kill”. [2] Predictably, the blame was levied on the technology and the companies who created the game. “What has happened in Alabama is that four companies participated in the training of Devin … to kill three men”.[3] This kind of media attention can be seen to support the negative claims made by Jacques Ellul, a French sociologist. He viewed “technology as an irresistible, mysterious force” [4] he continued in calling it “menacing” [5] and “has an ability to change every aspect of life that it encounters” [6]. Concerned authorities were inspecting how the game was changing and disrupting the young boy’s life, they quoted him to have said “Lifeis a video game. You’ve got to die sometime”.[7] This depicted how this technology has twisted the boy’s mental state and changed his outlook on life itself, that it is nothing but a game. The technology has taken over the boy and controlled him into committing such an act of violence. Ellul also described technology as “some kind of living breathing monster, out of control” [8]

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