The major advantages of digital technology over traditional media are automation, communication speed, better social interaction, security of data and quick access to information.
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The social and economic impact of digital technology can be felt from the following additional benefits of digital technology.
- increased access to education
- higher productivity levels
- more efficient communication
- ease of networking
- faster dissemination of news
- ease of information storage
- expansion in job opportunities
- higher incomes
- freed time for entertainment and leisure
- improvements in governance
- better law enforcement
- improvements in the health delivery system
- faster economic development and
- an unprecedented increase in overall economic development and standards of living.
But there are a lot more.
This post is a sample essay on the advantages of digital technology. We shall explore the importance of digital technology in education and training, business, communication, job creation, and international relations, leisure and entertainment among many others.
Our purpose for this essay on the advantages of digital technology is to find out the social and economic impact of digital technology compared to traditional or older forms of technology.
What is Digital Technology?
Before tackling the advantages of digital technology, we need to start with a brief definition of digital technology.
According to PCMag.com, digital technology is ‘an umbrella term for computer-based products and solutions’.
With high school learners in mind, Dictionary.com, on the other hand, defines digital technology by looking at the term from three different angles.
- Digital technology is the ‘branch of scientific or engineering knowledge that deals with the creation and practical use of digital or computerized devices, methods, systems, etc.’
- The term is also used to refer to ‘a device, method, system, etc. created by using this knowledge
- Another way to look at digital technology is to consider it as ‘the application of this knowledge for practical ends, as in digital communications and social media’.
As you can see, the term ‘digital technology’ may mean a slightly different thing to you depending on what you are interested in. To summarize, digital technology could be any or all of the following.
- A branch of academic study and knowledge
- The tools that are created by applying that knowledge
- How the knowledge is applied to meet our everyday needs.
Clearly, the last two are what PCMag simplifies when it says that digital technology is an ‘umbrella term for computer-based products and solutions.
Examples of Digital Technology
All electronic devices, tools, systems and resources that facilitate the processing and transmission of information come under digital technology. Here are some specific examples of digital technology.
- Social Media. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest are good examples.
- Productivity and security apps such as Google Docs, WordPress Plugins, Hive and Todoist
- Multimedia systems such as DVDs, CD-ROM, Multimedia Encyclopaedia, Electronic Games and Interactive Movies
- Online Games
- Mobile Phones
- Content Management Systems. Examples are WordPress and Joomla
- Personal Computers and Laptops
- Mini computers such as calculators and smartwatches
- Video cameras
- Ecommerce Software such as Shopify, Woocommerce, BigCommerce, Wix and Amazon
- Educational software such as BrainPOP, PBS Kids Games, Quizlet and Evernote
- The internet as a whole
It is important to bear in mind that no matter how big it has become in our lives, the internet is only an aspect of the much bigger world of digital technology.
What is the Main Purpose of Digital Technology?
The ultimate goal of digital technology is to make life easier by applying scientific and engineering knowledge in the field of digital or computerized systems to deal with everyday practical issues.
Thus, digital technology has brought improvements in all areas of life including learning, business, banking and finance, shopping, health and wellness, communication, social interaction, entertainment as well as governance and politics.
Digital technology is able to achieve these goals because it allows for the compression, storage and preservation of vast amounts of data on devices for easy transmission to the target end user.
This is how digital technology has brought about a massive transformation in the way we work, learn and interact with one another today.
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Advantages of Digital Technology
It is now time for us to deal with the main issue. Are you ready to discover as much as you need to know about the advantages of digital technology?
Then come with me as I take you through the essential points for an essay on the social and economic impact of the advent of digital technology.
1. Ease of Access to Information
One positive effect of digital technology is that we now have more effective and faster means of communication. The internet, for example, allows us to communicate with greater speed over long distances.
Email, instant text messaging, video and voice calls with affordable mobile phones now enable anybody to communicate more easily with others no matter their geographical location.
The opening of speedy communication channels has allowed major local and international news to reach us more easily.
Again, there is no end to all forms of information coming from both private and public sources. Whatever the nature of information one needs it is readily available via search engines like Google, Bing and Baidu. Blogs and social media outlets are other sources of faster news and information in the world today.
Below are some major transmission channels along today’s information superhighway.
- Email services such as Gmail and Yahoo
- Video links on platforms like Zoom, Google Duo and WhatsApp
Clearly, the digital technology revolution has opened endless options for accessing local and international news, around-the-clock news and entertainment on the internet. It has become possible to have quick access to information in real-time.
With the increasing access to internet connectivity coupled with rapid advances in the sector, communication speeds are expected to increase significantly in the near future.
2. Writing, Editing and Publishing
Technology has made the writing and editing of documents less tiring and significantly more efficient.
Productivity apps in the digital publishing industry that have made this possible include Grammarly, Wordtune, ProWritingAid, White Smote, Sentence Checkup and Reverso.
Major word processing and text editing tools like OpenOffice, Libre, and Microsoft Office now make it easy for anyone with the right skills to produce and publish information with cheeky ease.
It is an undeniable fact that not all these tools are open source. But even the premium or paid word processing software on the market is affordable enough.
Compared to traditional media, advances in digital technology have led to more efficient and accurate duplication of official documents. The latest printing, photocopying and scanning machines continue to produce amazing results.
Again, it is now easier to publish documents with optimized graphics that are a delight to watch. Among the best-known apps that are leading in the graphic design industry are Canva, Snappa, Pablo and Crello.
Pablo is, in fact, a Google Chrome extension.
The mind-blowing content creation revolution is not limited to text. Digital technology has made the transmission of large data files so easy that video and audio content creation is on the rise.
At the time of writing this article, popular video editing and production software that have become household names include Invideo, Filmora, Kapwing and animation apps like Doodley.
Text-to-voice technology is also on the rise. Speechello is one such technology.
3. Information Management
Third among the benefits of digital technology is the way it has transformed the storage and management of information.
Technology has provided more efficient ways of not only producing information but also preserving and transmitting it. While there are avenues for saving data on computer hardware such as hard drives, external drives, DVDs and pen drives, the drive to storing data exclusively in the cloud is gaining momentum.
Thus bulky physical cabinets for managing office files are becoming a thing of the past.
4. Data Security
For those blogging on the WordPress platform, security plugins have been able to prevent content theft and other serious breaches in many instances.
Also, there are backup tools that make it easy to ensure the safety of information whether online or offline. Google Drive or Google Docs and Dropbox are examples of computer applications that have helped in this regard.
Automation is one of the best benefits of digital technology. It has brought greater efficiency to the workplace. Processes are now systematized to run on autopilot even in the absence of the person involved.
Areas that have benefited immensely from automation include email marketing, data entry, customer service, order processing and accounting.
Furthermore, the use of artificial intelligence in the production process is on the rise. The overall effect of automation is an increase in productivity. Consequently, there have been improved GDP rates in many economies.
Social and Economic Impact of Digital Technology
The above-mentioned direct advantages of digital technology have undoubtedly had a tremendous social and economic impact on all peoples of the world.
These are, more or less, the indirect advantages or positive effects of digital technology on the global economy and humanity as a whole.
From now on, we shall discuss how the direct advantages of digital technology have resulted in many indirect social, economic and political benefits.
6. Education and Training
Education is one important area where digital technology has played a significant role in transforming lives across the world.
The positive role digital technology continues to play in the educational sector cannot be overemphasized. Technology has opened the gates for increased access to education.
Knowledge and skills acquisition has become easier thanks to a wide variety of free online courses and tutorials. People are able to choose the kind of e-learning platform they deem fit for their educational and career goals.
There are countless opportunities to study online for a certificate, diploma or college degree right in the comfort of your home. It starts with an online registration process and ends with an award of a certificate of achievement.
Virtual classrooms, digital libraries, webinars, and free digital downloads are just a few of the tools that aid the online learning process.
7. Ease of Social Interaction
Social media platforms, in particular, have brought about a complete change in the way people interact with one another. It has become easier to make friends with total strangers from anywhere on earth.
With a Facebook personal account, for example, one can communicate directly with friends, chat in groups and share videos with the whole world.
Thus, digital technology has helped bring all the people of the world closer to one another.
8. Banking and Finance
The banking and finance sectors have derived important benefits from the rapid development of digital technology.
Making savings deposits need not be carried out with physical cash anymore. Because most banks have introduced online banking or e-banking products and services to their customers.
Again, the cost of establishing and running a bank is helped by the reduced need for physical buildings and workers. As a result, the banking industry is booming as new entrants are attracted to the sector.
The resulting increase in competition could benefit customers in terms of higher quality services and lower lending rates, all things being equal.
Another major development in the banking and finance sector is the emergence of cryptocurrency. An increasing number of people are adopting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency companies like Blockchain.com make it easier for interested people to buy, sell and trade crypto.
One advantage of cryptocurrency is that it takes money and decisions about the national and global monetary system away from the control of state actors and hands it over to a more democratic, impersonal system.
Keegan Francis, writing for Nasdaq, asserts that the question is not if mass global adoption of cryptocurrency will happen but when it will.
9. Business and Marketing
Businesses have benefitted immensely from the advances made in digital technology. The cost of doing business, for example, has become less expensive with the coming of the internet.
Notable developments that have made it easier for entrepreneurs to fund their business startups are the following.
Lower Costs of Doing Business
In the wholesale and retail sectors, for example, it is much cheaper to start an online store than a physical one. Ecommerce software such as Shopify, Woocomerce and BigCommerce have made this possible. And they almost invariably offer much higher ROI than you will see with traditional physical shops.
Labour costs have also reduced in many businesses with an increase in the number of freelancers and other remote workers coming. Outsourcing cheap labour from less advanced economies has become a common business practice.
Additionally, thanks to automation, businesses need not employ a large labour force to get the job done.
Moreover, the emergence of digital publishing tools has reduced the cost of advertising. Compared to traditional modes of advertising, content marketing, email marketing and social media marketing are less expensive forms of business promotion these days.
The widespread use of Artificial Intelligence has resulted in greater efficiency in advertising with jaw-dropping results.
Today, ad networks like Google Ads or Adsense, Ezoic, PropellerAds, Mediavine, Adspushup and AdThrive use artificial intelligence to produce results in business promotion never seen before.
PRO TIP. For the best display ad revenue for your website or blog, I strongly suggest that you monetize with Ezoic or PropellerAds. Publishers who work with Ezoic, for example, are reporting a massive boost in their earnings.
Easier Ways of Raising Startup Capital
Another way in which the digital revolution has positively impacted the business and marketing sector is the relatively quicker ways of raising business capital. It is no longer necessary to wait in queue for bank loans with exorbitant interest rates.
Here are some common means of accessing startup capital with the help of digital technology.
- Peer-to-peer lending
- Quick online loans via mobile devices
- Affordable e-commerce platforms, websites and blogs instead of brick-and-mortar business premises
- Raising business capital on a less intimidating Stock Exchange via online venture capital platforms and stock brokers.
The advantages of digital technology have been felt in the transport industry as well.
Today, the use of more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles is increasing. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made possible use of self-driven cars. Major car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Tesla and BMW have transformed their processes on a scale never seen before.
We can observe similar developments in the air travel sector as well.
Major advances have been made not only in transportation here on earth but also in space travel as well. So far, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has led the dream of making space travel and exploration easier, faster and affordable.
Above all, we must not lose sight of the greater efficiency with which documentation and processing of travel arrangements are now handled. Examples abound in such areas as the issue of train tickets, passports, and hotel bookings most of which are now done online with unprecedented speed.
11. Commerce and International Payments
Digital technology has equally brought major improvements in commercial transactions and the international payments system.
Online shopping is fast becoming a mainstream activity. Here are some breathtaking e-commerce statistics from Cloudwards.net.
- Global e-commerce sales are expected to hit $5.5 trillion in 2022.
- Around 76% of US adults shop online.
- Smartphones are slowly becoming the preferred way to order goods and services online.
Again, more convenient ways of making payments for goods and services have emerged with the rapid growth of the application software industry. Paypal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, Payoneer, Wise, Western Union and Mpesa are just a few of the international payments gateways that have taken the world by storm.
Mobile telecommunication companies like MTN and Vodafone have made it very simple for people in most parts of Africa to transfer money to relatives and businesses with relative ease.
12. Law Enforcement and Security
Computer and information technology has brought in its wake improved methods in law enforcement and the provision of private and public security.
Advanced crime detection technologies have emerged. CCTVs, DNA test machines and Digital Forensic Tools have greatly contributed to law enforcement.
Today, personnel in the police department use more sophisticated communication equipment to help protect life and property.
13. Economic Development With New Opportunities
So what has been the impact of the advances made in digital technology on economic growth?
The overall effect of the positive developments brought by the technology we have so far identified is sustained economic growth and development in many countries.
According to a report of a study conducted by ScienceDirect.com, there has been a positive impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on economic growth.
However, their research findings suggest that this impact is more visible in the advanced European and North American economies than in the less developed parts of the world.
All the same, there is enough anecdotal evidence that points to the fact that large parts of Africa, Asia and South America have started enjoying the benefits of technological advancement.
In fact, the advent of digital technology has created unprecedented economic opportunities for all.
How Digital Technology Has Impacted Economic Growth and Development
See below the key indicators of how the world’s economy had benefitted from the digital technology revolution sweeping across the world today.
- Integration of the formal and informal sectors of the economy
- Elimination of expensive and time-wasting production processes leads to greater efficiency and increased productivity
- More efficient economic research and data collection methods. e.g. Population census statistics
- Expanded participation of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in the economy
- Improvements in agricultural output through high-yielding crops and livestock, more reliable weather forecasting and improved disease and pest control measures.
- Better food processing, packaging, storage and preservation technologies and machinery result in greater food security in many countries.
- Expansion in the service sector e.g. hotel and tourism, banking, online teaching, coaching etc resulting in increased employment opportunities
- Lower costs of production and affordable prices result from the availability of relatively cheap labour, employment of Artificial Intelligence and the use of more efficient production methods and equipment.
- Growth in the insurance industry
- Globalization results in growth in the travel and tourism sectors. The expansion in opportunities for remote work has produced a new type of international tourist known as digital nomads. These are mostly bloggers, video content creators and freelancers that have embraced the emerging laptop lifestyle coming on the heels of the internet revolution.
14. Employment and Jobs
We have already said a lot about jobs under the indicators of economic development brought about by digital technology. So let me just show you the various ways in which job creation has benefitted from these developments.
- People are more able to take up multiple jobs thereby opening up multiple streams of income for themselves and their loved ones
- The relative ease of digital publishing has opened up many self-employment opportunities for both the young and old. Examples are the millions of successful bloggers, affiliate marketers and YouTubers we see around today.
- The film and movie production industry has also received a big boost. People with the talent and desire to become professional actors have better opportunities to land their dream careers in acting.
- Other job opportunities abound in the digital economy for software developers, web designers, writers, and telecom workers.
15. Social Mobility
Yet another interesting advantage of digital technology is that it has created opportunities for people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to climb the social ladder.
For example, it is now possible to live in a less-developed country and work remotely for companies in the US, Canada, the UK and Japan. The salaries from these remote digital gigs are comparable to the average salaries in those countries.
Again, digital technology has created equal educational opportunities for all.
Thanks to online learning platforms like Alison, Udemy, Udacity and Coursera, you need not be in America, for example, to take a diploma or degree course from the best universities in the world.
These have led to steady growth in the middle class globally.
16. Tracking and Finding Addresses
It is now easier to find locations in almost every corner of the world. This has become possible with the use of apps like GPS and Google Maps.
With these modern address finder tools, one can easily locate hospitals, restaurants, gas stations and other places of interest.
Motorists and commuters no longer have a problem knowing the traffic situation and possible roadblocks and diversions ahead of them.
17. Dating and Relationship Revolution
The impact of digital technology on relationships, dating and courtship is enormous. Remote dating and interracial marriages are becoming the norm due to the proliferation of dating sites and online chatrooms.
18. Environment and Climate Change
One other point worth mentioning in this essay on the advantages of digital technology is the positive contribution it has made to environmental protection.
For instance, climate change scientists and advocates have relied on digital technologies to assess and report on the adverse effects of human activities on the environment.
This has made it easier for them to convince policymakers to adopt remedial measures to tackle the problem of climate change in order to save the earth.
19. Health and Wellness
There have been significant improvements in the health delivery system with the help of digital technology.
Let’s take a look at a few ways in which digital technology has positively affected the health sector.
- Better equipment for training health officials
- More efficient diagnosis and treatment of diseases
- Quicker global response to pandemics due to improved communication channels
- Countless free online courses for aspiring health professionals
20. Governance and Politics
Besides its massive social and economic impact, digital technology has also brought amazing transformations to the field of governance and politics.
E-governance has now become the password for participatory government. With more efficient communication systems and tools, policymakers are able to bring government to the doorstep of the masses.
Other instances of the positive effects of digital technology on governance and politics include the following.
- Ease of mass mobilizations for civic action,
- More effective political campaigns,
- Improved interaction between politicians and the electorate
- The widespread use of more efficient voting machines to promote free and fair elections
21. International Relations
Digital technology has played a major role in the promotion of international cooperation and understanding.
Virtual classrooms, video links, webinars and direct cultural exchanges have all helped to bring all peoples of the world closer together.
With foreign language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel, people are getting to learn, understand and connect with other cultures better.
The growth in the travel and tourism industry as we saw earlier has also led to greater interactions between people from different cultural backgrounds.
International diplomacy has also received a big boost through digital technology. It is now easier to establish contacts with governments in faraway parts of the globe. Instant messaging, quick video links and emailing have taken international cooperation to a whole new level.
22. Entertainment and Leisure
We cannot avoid mentioning improvements in entertainment and leisure in this discussion about the social and economic impact of digital technology.
The production of more interactive digital TVs and the emergence of the movie, sports and music streaming platforms like Netflix, SuperSport, YouTube and Showmax, have made life more entertaining for a lot of people.
Moreover, the use of artificial intelligence in homes and offices frees up time and allows for more relaxation.
The boom in the production and use of gaming and betting apps have equally made life more enjoyable for many people.
Another way in which digital technology has increased opportunities for leisure is its ability to help people create multiple sources of passive income. Automation means that one need not be physically present in order to earn an income. This is how digital technology frees up time for relaxation. Bloggers and other content creators have continued to experience this amazing benefit of digital technology.
No doubt, the digital technology revolution has had a tremendous impact on the way people work, learn and relax today. On the whole, the use of technology tools, systems and devices, has resulted in higher productivity, more convenience and improved standards of living for a large number of people in the world.
These clearly show that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of digital technology.
What other advantages of digital technology are you aware of? Have you personally felt the social and economic effects of digitization in your life or business?
You might want to read other in-depth articles and essays on business, the economy and money at Cegast Academy.
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