The Inevitable Side Effects of Innovation

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I don’t care which culture you live in. Whenever a group of innovators decide to design, develop and market a technological product for mass adoption in a society, side effects are very likely to occur and there is little we can do to avoid its unintended consequences to the system. The invasion of newly developed technology in any society can and probably will result in unintended consequences in several subsystems of a macro system because these technologies produce ecological changes, as Neil Postman once said. Technology, by itself, won’t fix too many of our problems but it will surely destroy well established systems of operation. Let me share with you two important systems that have been severely attacked by the advancements of technology: Law and Order and Education.

No orderly society can exist without a strong and dedicated body of police officers. The police exists to prevent uncontrolled chaos from developing and escalating in society as well as to help and guide well-behaved citizens. The police also exists to enforce the laws of a particular society and the rules of a culture. The force is in business to perform their duties to the best of their abilities so order is maintained. To a high degree, the police’s job isn’t to socialize with the public, despite popular belief. The cops are to act as a frontline for order in its essence. The police isn’t in business to abuse citizens, under any circumstance… even though abuse does occur once in a while and we all know it.

The mass adoption of the smartphone in society has had a severe impact in the well established system of law and order in America. Because of technology, the system of police is in jeopardy and I guarantee to you that it will make police change its standard operating procedure.  Why? Because technology has effects that far suppresses its original intentions… technology is “often created” to serve as technique with the “intentions” to make our lives better. The former, in practice, is far from the truth. Don’t believe me?

Let me ask this question, “Did technology make law enforcement operation better or worse since the adoption of the mighty smartphone?” “Which side effects do law and order professionals experienced after smartphones became mainstream? Shouldn’t law and order professionals also carry a body camera (smartphones) in order to defend themselves against litigation? Of course they should but why don’t they? HAAAA, because the judicial system prevents them from using such devices, right? I think so. The judicial system wasn’t created to accommodate the numerous side effects created by the smartphones. How can the police do their job when folks tape them while they perform old analog protocol?

See? when technology is adopted in society, a number of side effects occur across the system. It is ecological. One change here can result in implications up, down, left and right. Ignoring these undeniable facts is to a large degree naive and myopic, in my opinion. The side effects that smartphone technology has done to the police are irreversible. Is it all bad? Not really. Among informal channels of society, violence has occurred against minorities and the poor for years and we all know it. So, to a degree… these changes have done good but at what cost?  The moral of the story, smartphone technology has had impacts in our law and order operational system worth discussing in public domain.

I wish the side effects of technology were only seen in one subsystem of the American macro system. I wish… Smartphone technology has made the life of educators hell on earth since its mass adoption in 2008, despite the ludicrous call for educators to use more technology in the classroom. Let me ask you the following… How can you educate anybody when they are constantly tweeting or chatting about their girlfriend on Facebook? What do you tell the students when they say they are tired and can’t pay attention in class because of sleep deprivation? Experienced professors know they feel this way  because they were constantly on their smartphones until late the day before and minutes prior to classes start. How about the excuse, “but the millennials just don’t like to read” or God forbidden “Let’s use more technology in the classroom to accommodate cliente.” If professors simply grants a F grade for students with inappropriate behavior, students transfer or they (professors) are repremended by their own system for educating the students. Give me a break.

See? Smartphone adoption has caused impacts far beyond its original intentions also in the field of education. Let me share this with you. It has destroyed the system, along with the idea that we should provide customer service to students. Students need to be treated well, of course. In good customer service, the client is always right. Nobody is always right. Mobile Technology has changed the system of education forever and in my opinion for the very worse.

To make matters worse, how can we change behavior when both students and parents are constantly on the smartphone at home, on vacation, in school, in church, at lunch, in meetings, while driving, you name it. It is an epidemic! It is everywhere! We are now robots! Okay, half-robots. The game has changed tremendously because of technology, especially smartphone technology. Only those who are in self denial ignore this fact, in my opinion.

We have a crisis in this culture. A big one, in fact. We have a “too much innovation” crisis (too much technology) along with systems of operation that are dated when associated with all this technology we live with. So, we have two options… 1) Use less technology by regulating use. 2) Change our systems and subsystems to accommodate technology. I choose choice number 1. Why? Because I know it can be done. How about you?

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