There is no doubt that the internet has been instrumental in changing the world in so many ways since it was first dreamed up, over 30 years ago. It has impacted so many different areas of life and in the following blog post, we are going to have a look at what some of them are. The year 2020 has seen many people unexpectedly having place even more reliance on the internet in all sorts of different areas of their lives. From time to time, it is worth looking back at our lives to see just how significantly they have been impacted by the advent of the internet. So, that is exactly what this article seeks to do.
Many of us rely so heavily on search engines these days for answering all of our most important questions, as well as helping us to find products and services. In days gone by, you would have needed many physical books to access the same type of information. Perhaps you would have used a yellow pages to search for local businesses or a catalogue to look up products! If you wanted to find anything out, you would need an encyclopaedia. Nowadays, it is so quick and easy to pull our phones out to investigate anything that we forget when all the information in the world wasn’t available at our fingertips. Search engines process billions of requests on a daily basis and there is no doubt that they have played their part in shaping and changing the world around us.
The world of shopping is one that has been shifting online for several years now, but this has certainly accelerated over the past year in particular. Online shopping has made such a wide range of products readily available for delivery within an incredibly short space of time. While many businesses have been somewhat slow to keep up, plenty have decided to set up an ecommerce arm of their own in 2020. There has been an increase in trust in online businesses over this time as well. While there are still risks involved with certain disreputable retailers, there is also much more reliability in others. The ability to order a product with a single click of a button or voice command would have seemed like an impossible magic trick not so many years ago. Nowadays, it is an integral part of our lives, and one which many of us couldn’t do without. It is also important to recognise how much more accessible that makes products and services to people who might not have been able to access the physical shop.
We couldn’t write an article about how the internet has changed the world without mentioning social media. In the early days, everything reported about it was quite positive. However, this has certainly changed in recent times, with the detrimental impact it can have on people’s lives highlighted. Nevertheless, it has been integral to ushering in a communication revolution. People now have a platform that allows them to amplify their voice and share their thoughts not only with the people closest to them, but with the world as a whole. This is an incredible tool that we take for granted these days, but just think how difficult it would have been to get your voice heard on such a wide scale in the past. It is also amazing to think that you can contact people anywhere they are located in the world. In days gone by, this would have required the slow process of letter writing or a highly expensive long distance phone call. Nowadays, this can be done at the touch of a few buttons. Progress!
This article tells you more about artificial intelligence and what a significant impact it has had on the world around us, but just think about it for a minute. How many tasks are now automated when they would have once taken an age to complete? The advancement of smartphone technology also shows how indivisible our living environments are from the internet as a whole. We can now control everything from our home security to our appliances using a simple voice command. In truth, we are still in the early days of smart technology integration into our homes. In all likelihood, this will continue to advance and develop in the months and years ahead of us.
Our Working Lives
Again, it has perhaps taken 2020 to really demonstrate how the internet can play a significant role in shaking up workplaces. It had already increased computer usage in a vast array of jobs within an office environment and beyond. These days, more and more people are at least doing part of their job from home. So many tools are at the disposal of the modern computer, and people can communicate much more easily through videoconferencing software. This shift to working from home is likely to be one that is difficult to switch back again quickly. It is said that the internet marks a second industrial revolution and there is no doubt that many jobs will disappear as a direct result of it. At the same time, there are also plenty of jobs that will adapt, and others which will spring up as well.
Dating and Meeting People
We are quickly moving towards a future in which the majority of people meet online. The consequences of this are likely to be far-reaching, and it is probably still early days to draw conclusions about this phenomenon. On the positive side, it has made the world of dating much more accessible to a wider group of people than ever before. For those who found it hard to meet others, a whole world has been opened up as a result. At the same time, the wide availability of potential partners has meant that relationships can end up being devalued and people are more highly selective in their choice. Still, we know for certain that the internet is causing all sorts of people to cross paths who would have never found each other before and this is bound to have consequences – both positive and negative – to the world as a whole.
Another part of the world to be transformed by the internet is that of entertainment. Instead of only having access to a limited number of movies, TV shows, albums and books, we can access all of them thanks to various streaming services. No longer are our entertainment options restricted to what we physically own. Nowadays, so much is located in the cloud, which has given a world of possibility at our fingertips. This is not to mention all of the content that is regularly uploaded to blogging websites and video sharing platforms. Essentially, we are at the stage where there is more content uploaded in a single day than we could get through in an entire lifetime!
We already covered communication a little when we discussed the advancements of social media, but another aspect of the internet that came even earlier and changed our lives is emailing. Previously, you would have had to wait for a significant period of time to hear from loved ones – particularly if they were located in a different country. However, emailing came along and changed all this. What’s more, it made communication accessible for everyone in that nobody has to pay to have an account. One of the great aspects of emailing is its widespread accessibility. Whereas other areas of the internet require a little more technical skill, this is not really the case for sending and receiving emails. The internet has become an even more important way of staying in touch with those around us – particularly in an age when we cannot see people face to face quite as readily as we once did.
The internet has simplified financial transactions in a big way. Once upon a time people needed to visit their banks to deposit money, make transfers, pay bills and so on. With the advancement of banking apps this has become much more straightforward and people can move around vast sums of money with just a few clicks. Another impact of this has been a major reduction in the use of cash, which has steadily been reduced by contactless and smartphone payments. We are becoming used to the idea that money is based on numbers on a screen rather than what is physically in front of us.
As you can see from just this list of reasons alone, the internet has had a huge transformative impact on the world around us in ways that we can often overlook and take for granted. A lot of these changes have brought advancements that would have once been thought of as impossible or from a science fiction movie and it is certainly worth thinking about this from time to time. It is also worth questioning our reliance on the internet and considering whether we sometimes take it for granted too much. Just think about how helpless you feel when your Wi-Fi connection goes down for example!