This is actually a very interesting topic and I would like to relate it to the technology of video games. At times I have found myself being controlled by this technology. The main cause of this is from the way that modern games are designed now that makes them very addictive. Some may think that this isn’t really a true addiction but it can be as effective as a needle in your arm.
The design of these games exploits the human brain. The first method they use is called “Putting You in a Skinner box” which basically means that each arrangement of time and activities and rewards in a video game are put in place to provide the player with a certain pattern of activity you want from them. This has nothing to do with making the players have fun, rather they have developed the mechanics of these games so that players repeat the same actions again and again whether or not they were having fun. Video games have evolved recently, where before they didn’t care how long we played. But now the more we play these games the more likely we are to spend more than just the $ 50 for the game rather we would buy 3 more map or expansion packs and such costing equivalent to the game itself. The idea of the Skinner box came from testing lab rats where the rats we given a challenge then once complete the rat would be rewarded with food. This is what happens in the games for us, after we work hard at completing a mission on call of duty or getting a certain number of kills we are then rewarded with some imaginary achievement.
Another way we are lured into playing these games is from more design techniques where the point of the game becomes for us to obtain achievements instead of just have fun playing a game. There are a few ways we are enticed by these games. First they ease us into the achievements by giving us lots of achievements and rewards early on in the game then between levels the time and effort required to continue receiving these achievements increases exponentially. The next step that video game designers’ use is the elimination of stopping points so that you have to keep playing. Also now in many games there are punishments if you don’t acquire your achievement(s) in an allotted time.
The real problem now is that games are so intricate that instead of just playing the game once then getting bored of it we keep coming back.
There have been a few new communication technologies that have provided us with an increased quality of work. One I have had the privilege to be a part of is the new Google Wave.
This technology is very unique because it provides a free service where a group of people can collaborate on a document or idea with the aid of maps videos and photos along with text. The most important thing about this technology is that it does not decrease the quality of the final outcome of the project or idea. Furthermore, it allows the participants to work wherever they are most comfortable whether it be in the library or on a couch at home. Multiple people can work on a single document in real-time and you can play a timeline of what happened when and who did or changed what.
The use of this technology can counteract some other technologies that diminish the quality of work. It’s important right now to note that a happy worker is a productive worker. That being said, the first thing that comes to mind is the diminishing quality of work due to transportation. Many people have to spend an hour a day travelling to work or a 12-hour plane ride to collaborate with other people. This technology eliminates the necessity for us to travel and subsequently eliminates the fading quality of work caused by the invention of these transportation technologies that allow us to work so far away from home.
I really do think that this is a new trend and one example is facebook. I know that some people have become addicted to facebook but the communication and networking aspect has allowed the planning of events with regards to invitations a simple task. As we progress I could see many different new technologies be developed to cater to specific situations.
Another new example of this is in healthcare where now it is not required that a hospital have a radiologist in house. Now hospitals can send their X-Rays, CT and MRI scans to a radiologist and he can compile a report and return it to the hospital.
I think these technologies can have a positive impact on the environment increase the quality of service and work.