Ethics: Social effects of technology

“Smart” cities are on the horizon. Just like people have “smart” houses now, with thermostats and refrigerators that can communicate and be controlled through the Internet, entire cities will be digitally connected in the future – “smart” hospitals, “smart” schools… but what will living in that kind environment be like? This writer says it will be lonely. Research is showing that the mere presence of a smart phone affects relationships in a negative way. If so, what will an entirely connected city be like?

Question to discuss with students:

Is technology contributing to loneliness? Can you give some examples of when technology has changed how you communicate with others? What can we do to make sure that technology is not becoming a barrier to connecting with people, especially our loved ones?