The World is Digital
In the last few decades, computer technology had propelled the world into a new era of humanity. As of today, it is nearly impossible to imagine life without the advancements the world has and continues to witness. No industry has been left untouched by the wave of digitization, and the momentum shows no signs of stopping or slowing down.
Marketing is an obvious example of technology’s impact. Social media, video streaming, and photo-sharing apps all make it possible for companies to run ad campaigns that cost them little to nothing. Similarly, e-commerce has risen drastically, especially with the popularization of online retail giants such as Amazon. According to Shopify, an e-commerce platform based in Canada, global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. Alone, Amazon is on track to becoming America’s largest fashion retailer, according to the online publication, Quartz, and has already surpassed Walmart as a general retailer.
Healthcare is another industry that absorbs the impact of technological advances on a regular basis. Health information technology (or health IT), allows patients, especially those in rural areas, to visit their doctors without traveling for several miles – even when the doctor is in another city. Telecommunication has revolutionized access to care for individuals who lack transportation and would otherwise be left without care. Health IT may also allow an individual to consult with a specialist without having to drive – or fly – out to where they are. However, the ride doesn’t stop there. Three-dimensional (3D) printing may soon take those needing organ transplants off the waiting list. According to the Financial Times, scientists at Organove, a San Francisco based company, have successfully taken cells from donor organs and turned them into printable “bio-ink”. The company says that the printed tissue may also be used to test drug safety, and to treat rare diseases.
Modern technology has expanded access to quality education. Similarly to Gutenberg’s printing press, the advent of the internet allows billions of people around the globe to grasp information that at one point had been completely inaccessible or limited to people of certain status. Nearly anything a person wants to know can be found online, one keyword at a time. Additionally, schools and universities now offer online education that caters to the rapid pace lifestyle the new generation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the median wage in 1979 was $16.36 compared to $17.33 in 2015 – while middle-class workers clocked in 279 more hours in 2015 than those in 1979, and poor workers clocked in 349 extra hours. This is an example of how Americans are working more and earning less. Therefore, the ability of an individual to fully manage their schedule by earning a degree online is imperative. Furthermore, some universities post entire courses on their websites for free. The tradeoff is that anyone participating does not earn any credit to the course. However, the point is that the knowledge is accessible for those of all ages and backgrounds, no matter where they live. Academic pursuits online are not just limited to higher education. For example, tutors in the western hemisphere may be paid to educate people across the globe, such as an English student in China, if they have a computer and internet access.
It is safe to argue that digital technology is as natural to society as breathing. The above examples merely scratch the surface, as every major industry we know of has been reconstructed to keep up with all the advancements. Woven into the fabric of the population’s being, digital technology can be both a source of a contention and of togetherness and opportunity.