GRE Issue Essay 96

“Contemporary technology makes available many small pieces of factual information. As a result, people have become so preoccupied with bits of fragmented information that they pay too little attention to the larger issues and overall perspectives.”

The present era has been rightly termed as the information age since ‘information’ is increasingly becoming pivotal in influencing decisions in all spheres of our daily lives. Consequently, the tools for dissemination of information have also progressed riding on the back of the technological advances. Our increasing reliance on the internet, television, 24×7 radio channels, convergence of technologies on our mobile handsets and the omnipresent advertisements provide information about almost everything that one can imagine. The bottom-line is that people no longer have the time to pay attention to the larger issues and overall perspectives. However, this surplus availability of information also raises questions as to whether most of us really need all this information. Moreover, is the information provided complete in every respect and have there been no deliberate attempts to present the information in a particular way or to propagate a particular viewpoint?

Today, the abundance of information is in essence creating a haze in the minds of people leaving them more confused as they gather different versions of the same information. Buying a television or a camera has become a tough ordeal as every manufacturer tries to create an impression of superiority. However, if one tries to enquire about the finer details of the technology used, it would either be denied on proprietary issues or large amount of technical jargon will be thrown at him which he would be unable to decipher. Thus, modern technologies can be termed as magical black boxes which we do not want to open and even if we tried, they would continue to remain a mystery, thereby restricting people to understand the larger perspectives.

Therefore, when someone decides to buy a mobile handset, the deciding factor is not whether it should be GSM or CDMA based, as he would be confused enough about the other features available in the handset. This information fatigue forces us to install software and games on our computers without even reading terms and conditions that are associated with it, thus exposing us to unknown dangers. Similarly, most of us enjoy the convenience of internet banking without making an effort to understand the risks. Fancy advertisements persuade us to buy products that we may not actually need. The biggest beneficiary of the information age and technological advances has been the media, especially the electronic media, which has acquired a gigantic reach to influence the opinion of people and consequently emerge as a potent force. However, the need to provide information often forces them to exaggerate and sensationalize an issue out of proportions. Hence, a viewer is made to believe what is being presented to him and he remains oblivious to the actual reality which may be a larger issue.

In conclusion, we can say that today there is an abundance of information and it is being thrown at you irrespective of whether you may want it or not. The information is being provided in a manner that suits the originator of the information and the important pieces may be hidden behind the patents and proprietary issues. Therefore, a common man does not have the time to get into the details of everything that is being presented to him. Therefore, he grasps what is being made available to him and how it is being projected. In today’s world, when information is power, he continues to follow the saying: “The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing,” without bothering much about the larger issues and overall perspectives.