It is probably an understatement to suggest that technology has changed the way that business is done in today’s world. So many technological advancements have occurred in the last couple of decades, and even greater innovations seem to be on the horizon. The information age is in full force and nearly every business or organization has a digital component. Whether this trend is positive or negative may never be determined but it certainly is different. Here are a few thoughts on the effects of technology in today’s business world.
The medium is the message
What has happened in many realms is that the business itself has become technology. Many large and influential companies have been built on a platform of technological tools. Cell phones, computers, and Internet sites are all products, and while they may be used for other things, they have become a commodity in and of themselves. Whether we “need” certain items is irrelevant to the general public. People buy technology because it has become a part of the culture, even if it does not product anything productive. Rather than trading crops or energy, people are trading technological tools and information.
Technology has caused communication to change drastically, both on a personal level and a global level. It seems that everyone today carries a cell phone, and many people almost feel lost if they forget their phone at home. Email and text messages have also changed the way that people interact on a daily basis. Sometimes the technology is so entrenched, that people will send an email to a co-worker who is sitting five feet away. Granted, technological communication has helped connect distant people in an efficient manner, but critics still worry that people have lost that “human” touch.
Technology has made national and international commerce a much more feasible reality. Today, people and businesses can buy and sell with people all over the world. In past history it might have taken months for a letter to go from one party to another. Now, an email can reach someone in seconds, and a transaction can be completed with the push of a button. While this is terribly convenient for some businesses, it does make some people impatient when they actually have to wait for things. Without historical perspective, people can lose touch with how much power and convenience they have at their fingertips.
Finally, technology has changed business to the point where the technological tools are more than just mechanisms for doing work. People have grown addicted to their technology, and when things break or “go down”, some individuals literally do not know what to do with themselves. It will be interesting to see how humanity “develops” over the next decade or two. Technology is wonderful, but humans are still social creatures. Will they continue down the road of technological addiction? Or will they have a re-awakening where they turn off their machines every once in a while and just enjoy the silence? Only time will tell.