Technology Developments Essay Research Paper Scientific and

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Technology Developments Essay, Research Paper Scientific and technological developments have real and direct effects on every person’s life. Some effects are desirable; others are not. Some of the desirable effects may have undesirable side effects. In essence, there seems to be a trade-off principle working in which gains are accompanied by losses. Example: As our society continues to increase its demands on energy consumption and consumer goods, we are likely to attain a higher standard of living while allowing further deterioration of the environment to occur. Today, we are often told, we live not simply in an age of information, but in an age of excessive information. The amount and availability of information seem to be increasing at an exponential rate. We feel that

our entire world is moving, changing, mutating, at an accelerated pace. Our interactions with this world of information seem plagued by an increasing sense that we cannot keep up, can’t take it all in, that we are being overwhelmed by information, deluged by data: the sense of an information overload. One of the first attempts to represent this kind of information overload appears in Ted Mooney’s 1981 novel, Easy Travel to Other Planets. There, Mooney describes A Case of Information Sickness in the following terms: If information was once considered the solid ground, the factual basis, on which to make decisions and take actions, it no longer seems to be so. Indeed, information no longer seems to be solid at all. Not only does it not provide a grounding, a foundation, from

which to see, know, or act, it comes to be seen as obscuring our vision, our attempts at knowledge, our ability to control the forces of the world. Information, it might be argued, has become precisely what all that is solid melts into. Information flows; it spreads; it dissolves all boundaries, all attempts to contain it. Thus, it is hardly surprising that we increasingly feel ourselves enveloped by a rising tide of information, immersed within it, feeling at once exhilarated and overwhelmed. Whether we figure it as gaseous or liquid–an atmosphere or an ocean, smog or muck, a cloud of charged plasma or an electromagnetic wave–we seem, almost invariably, to represent information as fluid. Colonizing the Internet It is perhaps in reaction to this sense of being overwhelmed,

lost in the vast data of the Internet, that many Web-related corporations have relied on metaphors of navigation and mapping as the figures par excellence of interaction. Thus, interaction becomes precisely a matter of charting a course through the abundant fluidity of the Net. It is no accident that browsing the Web is figured as becoming a Navigator or Explorer–names that cannot help but remind us of the European mariners of the fifteenth century and their voyages of so-called discovery. Like their predecessors, today’s Web-explorers must also navigate the unknown and at times tempestuous seas of the Internet. Like these earlier explorers, too, they often seek to chart and to claim this new world, to make themselves the masters of various sites within it, exploiting its

resources and enriching themselves in the process. In short, they seek not simply to explore the exciting–perhaps even exotic–new world of cyberspace, but also to br ing it under control, to tame its wild currents and flows–that is, to colonize it. Consider, for example, how efforts to improve the Web have been described: the world of the Web, it is said, must be made more easily navigable, its information–its secrets–must be made more accessible; to this end, various sites must be established: beachheads, outposts, trade routes and portals, and in some cases even cities; efforts must be made to contain the chaotic nature of the Internet, to tame its wildness, to make its sometimes exotic appeal more marketable, more decent, safer, more civilized, not to mention