The digital age has had a profound change on the way we live our lives and in this task I am gong to look the way it has changed the landscape. I am going to explore this through a series of questions.
Do we shape our technology or rather does it shapes us?
Digital technology is driven by consumer demand and although the consumer does not always know what it does want it quickly understands what it does not want. The technology giants are constantly developing new gadgets to tempt us and once we embrace this tech our lives can quickly change to suit it. Mobile phones are the biggest change in the last 20 years as they have evolved from a verbal communication tool into a personal device which we use to organise our lives around. Standing in any city centre you can see people constantly engaged with these devices and they rarely leave them alone for long without checking them. Mobile phones are not the only technology that is changing our lives, tablet devices, mp3 players and Smart TV’s are also altering the way we interact with information.
Has the digital city changed the way we interact with our physical surroundings?
Digital technology has not had a profound effect on our surroundings but there are some changes. Cash Points are not new but now most work in real-time with transactions being instantly up dated in our accounts. Digital technology tends to work in the background and things on the face of it may not have changed much but behind the scenes things are working smoother and faster all the time.
Does the digital city enhance or impair our experience?
Ultimately I believe that digital technology has enhanced our lives. We now have access to a wealth of knowledge and information and we can choose when and how we engage with it. But with all advances there is the inevitable areas of controversy. CCTV is another technological phenomena that has become easier with advances in digital recording. It is now no longer necessary to have to constantly change and store tapes with months worth of footage able to be stored on single devices. This footage is easily accessible, does not degrade, can be copied multiple times and transferred around the world in seconds. It’s not just in our town centres that cameras have been upgraded, on the roads speed cameras can monitor 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. No need for tape changes, any information it captures is instantly sent for processing. Speed through a digital enforcement camera and 3 points and a fine will be in the post before you even get home. Arguably these cameras are improving our lives, slowing down reckless drivers and cutting crime but there are very few statistics that support this and at times I have felt just a little uncomfortable at the idea that I am constantly being watched.
Does the digital city aid inclusivity or exclude?
The progress of digital technology has become an unstoppable force that demands interaction. The digital age can no longer be considered new with generations now being born having known nothing else. These Digital Natives (see digitally indigenous) swim freely amongst the technology, coexisting as if nature had intended it, but for those that knew the world before the digital age the immersion has been a little fraught. Change rarely comes easy but when a paradigm shift of such monumental consequence occurs it is not surprising to see a dichotomy of embracement and rejection so prevalent within society, however even the more resistant of digital immigrant has realised the need to get their feet wet.
Has the digital city fully arrived?
The Digital city is still in its infancy and will continue to revolutionise the way we live our lives. It sculpts our landscape but not just in obvious ways but with a subtlety we would barely notice. Digital technology has allowed architects to design breathtaking new buildings and has developed the tools we need to build them. Our vehicles have become highly advanced machines that virtually drive themselves and we carry computers in our pockets more powerful than those used to first send man to the moon. The future will bring greater levels of integration, first we will wear our gadgets and then they will become implanted, the cloud will become a virtual reality, constantly feeding us information and we will enhance our bodies and minds as we embrace the technology of the future.