Emerging technologies are developed every day. They bring new and varied benefits for organizations and humans. However, they also continue to present significant risks and opportunities for humanitarian action.

Environmental pollution, ecological systems disturbances, depletion of natural resources and climatic changes resulting from global warming are technologically influenced. Technology is significant in development and increased productivity to satisfy human need, but uncontrolled technology impacts environment negatively.

A higher percentage of environmental problems are tied directly to technology mismanagement by innovators and users. A small portion of environmental issues relate to economic, social and natural changes resulting from human activities.

Technology is significant in development and increased productivity to satisfy human need, but uncontrolled technology continues to impact environment negatively.

The technologies that 50 years ago were only dreams or in science fiction novels are quickly becoming reality. They were created with much faith in their power to unite us and make our lives better, but have actually in some cases, been co-opted into tools of surveillance, behavioral manipulation, radicalization and addiction.

We now spend more time online each day than we do sleeping. Does that affect our everyday lives? What effect does it have on how we communicate and interact, how we work and engage with the rest of the world?

Researchers have identified what they call digital deficits. People’s cognitive capabilities being challenged in multiple ways, including their capacity for analytical thinking, memory, focus, creativity, reflection and mental resilience. The cognitive capabilities seem to be undergoing changes detrimental to human performance. Because these deficits are found most commonly among those who live a highly digital life, they are being attributed to near-constant connectivity online.

However, research has also found that there are as many positive implications and improvements to our everyday lives as there are potentially negative consequences. The key is to use them in ways that are beneficial. Seize the many opportunities digital media offers and avoid the risks that arise from overuse or maleficent use.

Professionals advise that developing appropriate data protection standards can work to ensure that the use of these technologies does not result in any harm. This requires more than a decent understanding around these technologies, however. Users are often dependent on the providers.

Melody K. Smith

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