Category Archives: social impacts of technology

The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

Description:  Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Nov 3, 2015

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One-fifth of teenagers in lower-income households reported that they never used computers for their homework — or used them less than once a month. And one-tenth of lower-income teenagers said they had only dial-up web access, an often slow and erratic Internet connection, at home. None of the higher-income youths said they had only dial-up access, according to the report.     Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

  1. What is the digital divide, and is it problem?       Why?
  2. What is the solution to the digital divide?       Should the government be involved in the solution? Why or Why Not?

Uber Explained

Description: Uber and black cars and taxis, oh my! The latest video in our Mashable Explains series takes a look at how Uber works for both employer and consumer.

Source: Mashable.com

Date: Oct 9, 2014
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Questions for discussion:

1.  Describe Uber?
2.  Would you use Uber? Why?
3.  Is Uber an example of dis-intermediation? explain

“Model” employee outsources his software job to China

Description: Bob was his company’s best software developer, got glowing performance reviews and earned more than $250,000 a year.

Source: www.theglobeandmail.com

Date: Jan 17, 2013

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Bob was paying a Chinese firm about $50,000 a year to do his work, then spent the day surfing the web, watching cat videos and updating his Facebook page.

“This particular case was pretty unique,” computer security investigator Andrew Valentine, who helped uncover Bob’s scheme, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. “We thought it was actually pretty clever.”

Mr. Valentine made Bob’s tale public in a blog post on Monday and it has since been the talk of tech websites.    Read Rest of Story 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Is there an ethical dilemma in what Bob was doing at his place of work?  Why or Why Not??

2.  What benefits can you see with outsourcing as a company?

3.  What pitfalls can you see a company risking by outsourcing?

Three-Day Weekend Killed by the Smartphones

Description: It would seem an ideal time to take a break, but our ability to unplug and relax is under assault. A three-day weekend? We can barely get through three waking hours without working, new research shows. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes.

Source: CNBC.com

Date: May 24, 2013

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There’s plenty of debate among economists and psychologists whether the economy is to blame, or we do this to ourselves. There’s little arguing that the concept of a Sabbath is in serious danger.

“It’s like an arms race … everything is an emergency,” said Tanya Schevitz, spokeswoman for Reboot, an organization trying help people unplug more often. “We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive, and we can’t keep going on like this.”

There’s a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Has Technology affected our ability to enjoy and have downtime from our daily pursuits?  Why or Why Not?
  2.  “We need a modern day-rest that brings balance back to life”  Do you agree of disagree with this statement? Explain.

Your Secrets Companies Can Learn

Description:  “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: nytimes.com

Date: Feb 16, 2012

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As the marketers explained to Pole — and as Pole later explained to me, back when we were still speaking and before Target told him to stop — new parents are a retailer’s holy grail. Most shoppers don’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy groceries at the grocery store and toys at the toy store, and they visit Target only when they need certain items they associate with Target — cleaning supplies, say, or new socks or a six-month supply of toilet paper. But Target sells everything from milk to stuffed animals to lawn furniture to electronics, so one of the company’s primary goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s a tough message to get across, even with the most ingenious ad campaigns, because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained, it’s incredibly difficult to change them.  READ REST OF STORY 

 Questions for discussion:

  1.  Are there any ethical dilemmas to using big data in consumer services?
  2. What other commercial applications can you see for organizations in using big data?
  3. What skill would you need to be able to use Big Data in an organization that you work for?

Smartphones Killed the Three-Day Weekend

Description: It would seem an ideal time to take a break, but our ability to unplug and relax is under assault. A three-day weekend? We can barely get through three waking hours without working, new research shows. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes.

Source: CNBC.com

Date: May 24, 2013

100765638-man-on-beach-cell-phone-gettyp-3.240x160

There’s plenty of debate among economists and psychologists whether the economy is to blame, or we do this to ourselves. There’s little arguing that the concept of a Sabbath is in serious danger.

“It’s like an arms race … everything is an emergency,” said Tanya Schevitz, spokeswoman for Reboot, an organization trying help people unplug more often. “We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It’s unhealthy, and it’s unproductive, and we can’t keep going on like this.”

There’s a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed.  READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Has Technology affected our ability to enjoy and have downtime from our daily pursuits?  Why or Why Not?
  2.  “We need a modern day-rest that brings balance back to life”  Do you agree of disagree with this statement? Explain.

What is Big Data

Description: Big Data is the next big thing in computing. This video explains Big Data characteristics, technologies and opportunities.

Source: http://www.explainingcomputers.com

 
Due to the issues raised by its volume, velocity and variety, Big Data requires new technology solutions. Currently leading the field is an open-source project from Apache called Hadoop. This is developing a software library for reliable, scalable, distributed computing systems capable of handling the Big Data deluge, and provides the first viable platform for Big Data analytics. Hadoop is already used by most Big Data pioneers. For example, LinkedIn currently uses Hadoop to generate over 100 billion personalized recommendations every week.

What Hadoop does is to distribute the storage and processing of large data sets across groups or “clusters” of server computers using a simple programming model. The number of servers in a cluster can also be scaled easily as requirements dictate, from maybe 50 machines to perhaps 2000 or more. Whereas traditional large-scale computing solutions rely on expensive server hardware with a high fault tolerance, Hadoop detects and compensates for hardware failures or other system problems at the application level. This allows a high level of service continuity to be delivered from clusters of individual server computers, each of which may be prone to failure. Processing vast quantities of data across large, lower-cost distributed computing infrastructures therefore becomes a viable proposition.     READ REST OF STORY 

Questions for discussion:

  1.  What is Big Data and why is it important?
  2. What potential applications do you see for Big Data and in what industries will this add the greatest value?