Where is Communication Headed?

If we stop to take a look at ourselves, and then compare where we are and how we live our daily lives in comparison to someone of the same age and demographic of the last decade, what kinds of changes would we see? Odds are, there would be a great deal of changes to take note of. These changes are going to be particularly evident among the types of technology being implemented by each party. As of the past three decades, technology has been increasing at a seemingly exponential rate. Recently, if you were to purchase a computer and use it for a year, odds are there would be a new model on the market exhibiting attributes that vastly blow away your “outdated” model. This concept applies to everything, especially communication.

Just ten years ago, it was uncommon for children under the age of twelve to wield a cell phone. Most children were unaware or simply did not care about the newest model cell phone or portable device; however, by today’s standards, kids as young as six are walking around with a cell phone. In conjunction with that, it seems as if nobody can walk from one place to another without plugging their ears with ear-buds connected to an iPod or MP3 player. This is by no means a bad thing, it is just an obvious sign that times are changing.

The way we communicate as a society has taken a drastic turn from what it used to be. Instead of simply calling people on the phone or sending a certified letter through “snail mail”, we are now veteran texters and internet surfers that utilize programs that allow us to see the people we are talking to face to face, regardless of their location throughout the world. It is exciting to imagine the types of advances that will be made in the coming decade, perhaps there will be devices that allow us to communicate telepathically.

A Look at Modern Society

It is truly amazing how much society changes over the course of such a small time frame in human existence. Comparing common life 100 years ago to the lives lived by people today is like comparing night and day. Items that were not offensive back then are extremely offensive by today’s standards, women and people of specific ethnic backgrounds had very few rights in comparison to native white males, and the way in which we live our daily lives in general have been transformed drastically. Additionally, our overwhelming dependence on technology is one of the largest changes by far; as well as the fact that a much larger denomination of the populace lived on a ranch or farm and grew their own food in the earlier 20th century compared to the minute percentage of population today live on a farm and feed the remaining population.

As mentioned, one of the biggest changes that has taken place is the dominance of technology in our modernized society. Even backtracking ten years, it was uncommon for a child in elementary and even Jr. high school to own a cell phone; now more kids than not own a cell phone that they use on a regular basis. In conjunction with cell phone ownership, the amount of time spent watching television and surfing the internet takes up a large portion of free-time in comparison to the time being active and doing other activities in years past. This is one large issue that has vastly contributed to the obesity epidemic in modern American society.

In all, our society is extremely innovative and technologically based. By no means have we degraded in terms of how we have evolved as a whole when compared to 100 years ago. However, we are much more dependent on amenities such as technology and prepared food that is contributing to an overall unhealthy lifestyle and habitual actions that are then passed on to future generations.

American Society’s Dependence on Technology

With the vast advancements that have been made in the technological world over the years, American society has adapted well to taking in the new changes with undeniably open arms. However, while in fact these new pieces of technology are seemingly making life more simple and everyday tasks a smidgen easier with each newly released software update, society is becoming dependent on this growing trend.

This is not an issue in itself, as having a cell phone that can perform one hundred separate tasks in addition to sending and receiving phone calls is pretty neat by most standards. However, if these ingenious small metallic and fiberglass achievements in communications from our modern world were suddenly taken away, people of all ages would undoubtedly go insane without the ability to text message or tweet at will.

Aside from cell phones, other aspects of our lives are continuing to be run via some form of a technological advancement that has been made within the last couple of decades. Whether it be the vast databases with extremely personal information welded up in a bank’s mainframe infrastructure, or the GPS system in a primarily computerized mechanical vehicle ensuring you find your way to the nearest gas station to fill up your tank and purchase a 44 oz. Mountain Dew, the obsession of obtaining all of the latest pieces of technology and the latest version of any predecessors has never been so prevalent.

Technology is not a bad thing, obviously it makes the lives of everyone who utilizes it better. However, as our society slowly submerges itself into the world of becoming solely dependent on a piece of machinery to accomplish a task that was done manually years past, or computers to answer questions and or store sensitive information that can thus be accessed the same way; should the time come that these luxuries are taken away, it is not too far from the truth to fear chaos will persist.

The Grassroots of the Convenience of Communication

Many people these days take for granted that they can contact any person they want at any time that they want. You can call someone on their cell phone, send them an email, message them on a social network web site or even video conference with them. Being able to immediately interact with another person anywhere in the world is a staple of the technology era that we live in. Obviously this hasn’t always been the case.

There once was a day where people would write letters to each other and have to wait days or weeks to receive them. People used to have only a few channels on television for their news and entertainment and they were amazed by the footage they saw. Even before then, the radio was the main source for information around the world. These forms of communication only describe what has happened in our most recent history.

Hundreds of years ago, a person’s options were even more limited. People could send messages via telegraph and some entire towns did not even have one. You would have to send your message this way and someone would have to take the message to its destination, which could be miles away. Not a very efficient way to communicate, but it was the origins of many of the types of communication that you use in your everyday lives.

Learning the history of how we communicate will give you are greater appreciation for all the conveniences that you have in your life. Our recent ancestors were pioneers and every year we enhance what they started. We have come a long way in a short period of time and there is no ceiling for how high tech we can go. So next time you send an instant message, email or text, remember that it took a lot of innovation and work to get to where we are today.

Cell Phones are the new Method of Choice for Dialing up Information

Cell phones have changed the way that people communicate all around the world. People are more accessible now than ever and information is just a few taps of a screen away. Companies are also using cell phones to reach out to consumers via text messaging and advertising in phone apps and games. The world is shrinking and more information than a person could ever want to know is right at their fingertips, literally.

Owning a cell phone is more commonplace now than it has ever been. People used to get their news from radio, television and talking to a friend, but cell phones are quickly becoming the convenient method of choice, since you can access the internet at speeds comparable to many personal computers. Also, print newspapers are falling to the wayside and news via the internet is taking over. Again, your cell phone is right there for all your information needs.

Having the ability to access so much information right from your pocket is quickly becoming the norm. Just a decade or two ago, no one would believe what possibilities a simple phone could unlock. Some people, even today, feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what is available to them. Having a cell phone has turned into much more than just having the ability to call someone in case of an emergency. Getting your daily news, looking up a random fact or asking a friend who is 1,000 miles away which movie is better are all very easy to do.

Communication is always in a state of change, but the cell phone is rapidly becoming a tool that no person should be without. Surprisingly, they are still very affordable as well. Children growing up these days will have opportunities open to them that their parents never had and they will have the ability to gain knowledge that was not possible just a few short years ago.

History of Digital Communication

A binary tree of the Morse Code adapted from t...
Image via Wikipedia

Digitized devices have been around for ages. Albeit that current digital devices are electronic and deal with binary electron digital transmissions, they are not by far the first ‘digitized devices’ to have come around. Currently when we refer to digital communication devices we are referring to those that utilize a data technology that utilizes discrete values or a digital language. Society currently heavily relies on such digital equipment like cell phones, desk computers, laptops, digital cameras, televisions, DVD players, blue ray players, gaming systems, and digital music players. All of these devices can be used in conjunction with one another and communicate to one another seamlessly.

Historical Digital Communication devices

These digital devices of old were in no way electronic, but the basic computing system utilized within, classifies them as historical digital devices.

Historical texts, books written long ago utilized a very limited set of characters and heavily incorporated the use of symbols; the beacon used to signal to ships; smoke signals where a blanket or other form of controlling or transmitting puffs of smoke as a means of relaying certain information. The abacus is another device that is considered to be digital in nature due to the arrangement of the beads and the way they represented numbers within computing calculations. The Braille system actually introduced binary formatting for encoding various characters, another characteristic of a digital device. Morse code too was a digital device. The interspersed use of the dot, dash, short gap, long gap via tapping or light flashing to communicate specific language closely represents the signals used with today’s electronic devices that allows them to communicate.

The basis for all of these historical digital devices was the use of a particular code or signal to communicate, and were the early signs of what digital communication was to represent in modern society.

How the Internet and CellPhones Have Changed the Way Society Communicates

Historically most communication between individuals took place either face to face, via U.S. mail or via the landline telephone. With the communications and digital revolution, we have found newer ways to express ourselves and to communicate with others- and almost all of them are centered around the Internet.

Just a mere 15 years ago cell phones were barely being used- one because they were so expensive to buy and cumbersome to carry and also because they were very expensive to use. So we had windows of time throughout the day- on the way to and from work, on errands, and so forth that we would only communicate with the people we actually encountered face to face. However as technological innovation grew so did the availability of cell phone usage. They become more portable and the charges associated with their monthly use are still decreasing. The Internet was popular but it also had to wait until we got home or to the office where a computer was available to answer emails, etc. Now that the two technologies have become inextricably intertwined, we are now constantly communicating in a variety of modes sometimes at the same time. You are on your cell phone reading thru your favorite social media website, answering text messages and then your phone rings- its happened to all of us.

There are some who complain that all of the electronic communication has had a negative impact on face-to-face communication. People are more tuned into to their digital device than into driving, and even looking other individuals in the face to acknowledge their presence. However there are others who see the ability to communicate with anyone, anywhere and the ability to meet and positively interact with people all over the world is worth it.