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In his article ‘It’s a Flat World, After All’, Thomas Friedman (2010) starts by explaining the origin of the phrase “it’s a Flat World, After All’. Further, Friedman (2010) discusses the usage of the expression, and the different meanings derived from the use of the same slogan. At first, Christopher Columbus used the phrase in his report to the Queen, in efforts to explain his voyage to India. From the time of Columbus, Friedman remarks that the phrase has found a new meaning.
The phrase is no longer used relative to the geographical physique of the globe, but rather on the fact that many dynamic changes in form of administration, business and communication around the world has made the world to appear flat (Friedman, 2010). According to Friedman (2010), several changes have contributed to the perception of the globe as flat. Ranking high in the list is the technological revolution, which according Friedman has enhanced dynamic changes in restructuring our lives in a way that has never been experienced.
Changes and Perception
Through scientific revolution, the world has realized the discovery of simpler ways of solving most of the problems that used to take generations to deal with. However, unlike the way Friedman perceives it, knowledge was not discovered at the same time with technology. According to Tsoukas (1997, p.2), what technological revolution has so far managed to change is the way in which people perceive knowledge in terms of information.
Tsoukas (1997), remarks that the modern generation is lured into reasoning out that Knowledge just as information exists in isolation of the partaking individual. A distinctive characteristic however between late contemporary cultures is the momentous degree to which they are reliant on knowledge for their performance. Contrary to how information was perceived in pre-modern civilization, knowledge now tends to be comprehended as information, which comprise of objectified, theoretical illustration (Tsoukas, 1997).
According to Friedman (2010), many of the consequences associated with technological advancement are well exemplified in the effects of globalization. Through globalization, Friedman (2010) notes that it is possible for a CEO of a multinational corporation located in the US to hold a conference with all the heads of the company’s subsidiaries in the world.
Similarly, the same chief Executive Officer can liaise with as many company’s customers and distributers while still at the comfort of his office in New York. Friedman (2010) further notes that this has been made possible through video-conferencing, an achievement that has culminated from advanced technology by the modern generation.
Power of Technology
In his article ‘It’s a Flat World, After All’, Thomas Friedman (2010), conjures an image that the world has single handedly been transformed by the modern state of-the-art-technology. He asserts that all these technological changes have actually been realized in the last 20 years or so. Nevertheless, according to Nathan Rosenberg (1979) in his article, “Technological Interdependence in the American Economy”, Technology on its own can never achieve such a feat.
Rosenberg (1979, pp.25-50) remarks that invention, should rather be the world attributed to the current development being witnessed in our current world. Rosenberg (1979) further observes that several inventions, such as that of steam engine, cotton gin, penicillin, radios as well as computers, were the initial factors that led to flattening the world, in as early as the 20th century.
Rosenberg (1997, p. 25), differs with Friedman’s opinion that only technology has revolutionalized the world. Rosenberg (1979) explains that other non-technological forces such as transformation in peoples’ behaviors, inspiration, and collective organization in addition to exclusive rights have equally played a magnificent responsibility in making the world flat.
Through modern communication, Friedman (2010) points out, that the world has been made more flat, and the issue of globalization has been much enhanced. As noted before, the subject of communication technology was in existence as early as the 14th century as noted by Castells (2009, p.30).
Castells (2009), comments that though there is a great variation in the way this technology has evolved over time, by 1900 information could as well be disseminated the world over in a matter of days. By 1924, the distribution rate had eventually been enhanced, with example given in the telegram knowledge, where King George in 80 seconds was capable of communicating with all British protectorates around the world.
According to Friedman (2010), outsourcing is one of the few essential dimensions that are occurring in our current world. The last few years have witnessed huge investments in the technology industry, with millions of dollars being put in business to enhance Internet connection around the world.
Coupled with friendly prices of computers, Friedman explains that many other invention related to computers technology, have been brought into existence and at the service of the world. Such technologies include explosion of emails and advanced search engines such as Google (Friedman, 2010).
On a daily basis, Gentzoglanis (2010, p.50) remarks that persons in their millions depend on Google search engine to help them find exacting information from the enormous records accessible over the Internet.
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For individuals who frequent the Internet to seek information, such as researchers, the importance of information technology can never be overstressed. Just a decade ago, Gentzoglanis (2010) notes that Internet was only used by scientists, and talking of the World Wide Web or even the browser that make it easy for users to navigate the web was unheard of.
Internet, in particular search engines have made finding the indispensable information much easier and faster, and as such, it has increased the superiority and efficiency of research work. Prior to the development of search engines and the Internet, one had to spend quite a laudable quantity of time scrutinizing and reading numerous volumes of books to find fastidious information.
Not only was the procedure time-consuming, but it was also burdensome as one could go through volumes of books before discovering the required information. These days, one only has to type a few words and with a few clicks of a button, the person will access all the information he or she necessitate from an innumerable of sources.
Friedman (2010) as well explains that it is not only the searching of information over the Internet that has been modernized by the current technology; Internet has also changed the way we converse. The e-mail expertise has made it much easier to be in touch with friends, business partners and family members irrespective of where they may be on the globe.
Once an individual logs into his or her e-mail account, with the clicking of a few buttons, he or she instantaneously send messages to about any place across the earth, or chat right away with a colleague who is also logged in (Friedman, 2010).
In comparison to the days when one had to note down a letter, buy stamps and drop it at the post office and wait a few days, maybe weeks, before receiving a reply, today’s communication has to the highest degree been enhanced by the technology revolution.
Information technology has also enhanced the levels of literacy in the society by making it much easier to acquire information or news bulletin on news happening anywhere on the planet. One can even obtain real time occurrences by just searching for news’ websites that disseminate the news live over the Internet.
Dangers Associated with Technological Changes
Though it is common knowledge that the Internet technology has had such a great impact in our everyday lives, Friedman (2010) does not however explain or bring out, the danger we are facing relative to this technology. Inasmuch as one may be astonished by benefits associated with such advanced technology, Pylyshyn & Bannon (1989, p.530) note that several concerns have as well emerged.
The simplicity with which persons can access information, anytime and roughly anywhere has largely affected the reading culture. The Internet and search engines may have enhanced the amount of information we can access and read today, compared to a few decades ago but as explained by Mark (2010, P.35), ready information from the Internet has greatly distorted the approach we take in reading and reasoning out.
Mark (2010), in addition, points out that the reading we do over the Internet is more leveled towards the immediate and efficient acquisition of information, and this has weakened our capacity to read and think profoundly as is the situation when one is reading a manuscript or printed material.
The significance of possessing outstanding reading expertise cannot be overstated. As Mark (2010, p.35) remarks, this means these people have to edify their minds to translate properly information so they can understand and remember the information. An efficient way to do this is by engaging in depth reading and thinking about what we read.
By engaging in a deep reading culture, we will not only be giving support to the development of the circuitry of our brainpower, but also be helping our advancement of the good sagacity of memory and proper interpretation of the equivocal and uncertain information.
The Internet has greatly affected this culture and in the present day, most individuals find it to be relatively a challenge focusing or even reading an entire book without the excitement to flip over to a new connection to get a special description of the information. This could easily make one wonder if the benefits that have come with the Internet have led us to lose swiftly our ability to contemplate and think critically, profoundly, and serenely about issues.
Apart from effects on our thinking capacity, other concerns on the technology revolution which have not been highlighted by Friedman (2010), in his article “it’s a Flat World, After All’, relate to the effects of globalization. Molle (2003, p.37) observes that the fact that the world has been flattened by the technological revolution, also provides high likelihood of one negative effect being distributed from one region to another.
Since one may think that information has truly been revolutionalized, not every fact acquired from the Internet can be described as information (Molle, 2003). Some of this information needs a lot of processing to effectively be put in better use without the effect of equivocally and uncertainty. Similarly, Internet has been made the hub of moral decadency with unlimited of pornographic literature being freely reached. This brings a dark cloud on the numerous benefits associated with the scientific revolution.
According to Molle (2003, p.37), due to the revolution of technology, it has become very cheap for one to gain access to the Internet. This fact has made it harder for restriction to be put on who is to reach what on the Internet. As a consequence, the society has been adversely affected, noting that even young people and mostly school going children can nowadays be able to gain access to web enabling phones, and as a result they are equally potential candidates for moral decadency even at such tender age.
Khor (2001, P.57) notes that in equal measures, though technology revolution has made it possible for peoples to work literally from their homes, the same technology has resulted in developed countries outsourcing their production and white colored professional to the developing nations.
Khor (2001, P.57), gives example with people republic of China, which because of technology revolution has been turned into the world factory. Developing nations such as China have been left to handle these roles, due to their large populations, which provide cheap labor and as a result, the aggregate cost of production per unit is reduced (Dewitt & Hernandez, 2003, P. 238).
The production of such cheap goods by developing countries like China has however not been without some few hitches. Dewitt & Hernandez (2003), further note that globalization because of technological revolution has promoted inhuman working condition by workers, Prisoners and children engaged in such production.
Silberglitt (2006, P. 216) notes that as a result of technological revolution, which has apparently made the world flat, warfare has been made more destructive. This has been because of more advanced weaponry that is manufactured using the state of art technology.
Moreover, it is now possible for army generals to command a battle on the field, millions of miles away. Bolt, et al (2005, P.233) explains that using the help of satellites and other advanced technology, the future warfare will not only be dangerous to the parties involved but the whole world in general.
Looking critically, Therefore, conclusively one Friedman was right in appreciating how technology has changed our lives. However, his article over emphasizes the role of technology in changing the world and does not give attention to the negative effects of technological advancement and related changes in the world.
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