How dangerous is digitization?
How dangerous is digitization?
When was the last time you picked up bank statements from the bank? How long has it been since you bought a train ticket at the counter? How often do you use a streaming service to watch your favorite TV shows? And how many times a month does the courier ring to deliver an order from Amazon or Zalando?
Digitization has permanently changed people’s lives and the process continues at a high speed. We are living in a turning point in time, and digitalization is both a driving force for the future and a growth driver. However, there are also downsides that, despite all the joy of technical progress, must always be brought into focus.
Transparent people through digitization
Probably the greatest danger posed by digitization is the misuse of the gigantic amounts of data that arise during this process. The use of apps, digital applications and online services, as well as recordings of driving behaviour in autonomous driver assistance systems in the car and camera surveillance in public spaces, creates huge amounts of data. From these, behavioral and movement profiles can be created for each person. There is a latent danger of being monitored and manipulated. The fact is: The protection of personal data is becoming increasingly difficult with increasing digitization.
Danger from cyber attacks
Smart kitchen appliances, door locks controlled by apps, connected cars - wherever digitization permeates everyday life, the risk of hacker attacks increases. If a cyberattack causes a widespread blackout, the entire public life comes to a standstill. ATMs no longer spit out cash, gas stations and supermarkets have to close and the heating no longer works. After a certain time, drinking water no longer flows from the tap and toilets no longer flush because the waterworks' pumps are electrically operated.
Upheavals in the industry
It is not without reason that digitization is referred to as the "Fourth Industrial Revolution". It is a radical upheaval that can simply sweep away traditional companies and cause upheavals in entire industries.
The upheavals in industry do not remain without consequences for workers and employees. As with the mechanization of manual labor by machines during the First Industrial Revolution in 19th century England, workers see their traditional jobs threatened. The consequences are fear, frustration, overstrain and stress, and in the worst case the events lead to mental illness.
Development of behavioral problems
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others have changed the way people live together. Not only to the positive, as the recently identified FOMO syndrome proves. FOMO ("Fear Of Missing Out") describes the fear of missing something, be it a friend’s latest post, the latest holiday picture of a Facebook acquaintance or the latest weather update.
Another behavioral anomaly that can be traced back to digitization is constant accessibility. Some smartphone owners can't separate themselves from their digital end device for a minute a day and leave the cell phone switched on 24 hours a day. Even at night, the smartphone is just an arm's length away on the nightstand.
Constant availability of digital services
Playing a quick game of Candy Crush on the commuter train, watching a Netflix series during the lunch break, streaming music on Spotify while jogging, and quickly placing an order on Amazon in the evening: Constant availability is changing people's attitudes toward the value of products and services. The next reward (in the form of consumption) is always just a click or a swipe away on the smartphone display.
Conclusion: Digitization is a process that has revolutionized people’s lives. This process is irreversible and brings a number of benefits to each individual. Nevertheless, despite all the convenience, the dangers posed by technological development must never be ignored.