The internet allows us to reach out to other families, experts, get news and be part of a community that is not limited by geography.
We can instantly share the quirky — or sometimes way more than quirky — activities of our son with people who know if they should laugh or say they are sorry. An assistant professor said, "I have collected about 50, scientific files related to cosmos, life and consciousness to prepare a book. Bob Frankston , a technologist based in North America, said, "I once I had a rash and my GP [doctor in general practice] wanted to look it at. Fortunately we had a friend in common who was able to forward a simple digital picture I took and quickly resolved the issue. It's a reminder that digital health doesn't have to be complex and expensive.
Sending a picture is simple and inexpensive yet can make a big difference — a huge benefit vs. We need to appreciate the value of the mundane rather than focusing on the flashy stories. Frank Feather , a business futurist and strategist with a focus on digital transformation, commented, "Technology allowed me to quit commuting — which is asinine in this era — to quit my career job, and to become a full-time consultant, thus allowing me to help far more organizations on a freelance-anywhere basis.
This has been most fulfilling. Similarly, my children have built worldwide networks of friends and fellow students. We have two adopted daughters, and the internet has allowed one of them to find and connect with her birth family in China. None of this would be possible without the internet.
The internet unifies people and combines ideas very easily. A researcher based in Europe wrote, "I live in Hungary and my daughter was working in the United States several years ago. She called me and explained exactly where she was walking and in which shops she was shopping.
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I opened Google Earth and tracked her trajectory where she was walking in Galveston, Texas. I saw the streets, corners and buildings. It was almost exactly as if I was shopping with her — on the other side of the globe, in real time, but while sitting in my chair in Hungary. The whole thing was real fun for us.
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A business leader based in North America wrote, "I live a bi-coastal life and I am able to review health records, renew RXs, communicate with my doctor, request a non-urgent service, all from 3, miles away without having to rebuild new caregiver relationships or lose care continuity. Relationships with friends whom I see only occasionally — maybe annually in person at conferences, continue throughout the year.
I now know many business acquaintances on a deeper level and have better relationships as a result. When circumstances such as travel, weather, disability or distance create the opportunities for sustained loneliness to happen, the digital world bridges some of the gap. In my case, sustained periods on the road in airports and hotel rooms are greatly ameliorated by connecting with friends.
A research associate at a major university in Africa commented, "Being able to conduct business from a location of choice is to me the most important improvement. I deal regularly with the aged and was terrified that I too would become so dependent on the goodwill of strangers when I have to move to an old age home until I realized that I would already be able to order and have delivered anything from food to medical equipment — as long as I am connected via the internet.
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A retired professor emeritus said, "I am seeing a larger integration and extension of human-digital synergy. Yoram Kalman , an associate professor at the Open University of Israel, wrote, "Digital technology freed me from having to spend all of my work hours in the office. I have been tele-commuting and working from home at least part of the week since the late 90s. That would not have been possible without the advent of digital communication. It allowed me to better integrate work, family commitments, leisure, health challenges of self, of children and of elderly parents, social commitments, etc.
Consequently, my work is more productive. Furthermore, the ability to work across geographical and national borders opened new opportunities that made my work more exciting and fulfilling.
Throughout this time, I had to learn and relearn how to use communication technologies in ways that empower me, and how to minimize the harm they cause. It is an ongoing learning challenge. Deborah Hensler , professor of law at Stanford University, wrote, "On a personal level, digital technology enables me to work more productively from any place in the world.
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It provides access to a vast store of information and research data. It has enabled me to collaborate with academic colleagues in many different parts of the world, which has been an incredibly generative experience. In my personal life, it connects me to far-flung family and friends. It also connects me to people who share my political views which gives me some hope — perhaps foolish — that working with them I can shift the political discourse. A professor of computer science wrote, "Shortly after getting my first smartphone quite a number of years ago now , I managed to receive and respond to an important email during a break in the middle of a four-hour car trip.
It was valuable to be able to be able to be responsive to an important funder. This cemented the value of having a smartphone. I'm building a database of destroyed cemeteries where I live. I can research the records online and publish them online; something I could not have done 20 years ago easily.
I got an email from a man whose great grandfather died in the flu epidemic in Wilmington, North Carolina — a Merchant Marine sailor — who was buried in one of these cemeteries. The family knew he had died, but did not know when or where. He thanked me very much for finding his great grandfather. The family felt relief after years.
Without digital records to compile this and digital platforms to share it, it would not have happened. Kathryn Campbell , a digital experience design consultant, said, "I have a young friend who lives in another state in a rural area. I am so grateful to have been included in this revelation so I can offer my unconditional love and support.
And I am even more grateful that a person who in the past would have felt isolated, unnatural, and broken now knows that they are in fact part of a global community. I believe this will probably save lives. This keeps friends and families united. We can share our workplace problems and be more productive.
Online education resources and digital resources bring value to the classroom. Students become more involved and knowledgeable. Narelle Clark , deputy CEO of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said, "As an Australian, the tyranny of distance has previously meant that family, friends and colleagues have been acutely aware of the difficulties of staying in touch and abreast of the events in the rest of the country and the world.
Our contemporary hyperconnectedness means that we can remain tightly connected at the professional and personal level despite being on opposite sides of the world. Srinivasan Ramani , a retired research scientist and professor, said, "It was in My daughter left school in Bombay and moved to college in the U.
Telecommunication in India was quite bad in those days. The number of telephones, both landline and cellular, was about 3 million.
Compare with the billion or so cell phones we have in the same country now! I knew it would be difficult for my daughter to call us back soon after arrival at the college, and so had asked her to get access to internet on campus and contact us through email and chat. She did that within hours of arrival. My wife had, to that point, carefully stayed away from the dial-up terminal I had on my study table at home for years. Now, she suddenly demanded to be introduced to the system.
She demonstrated that given the right motivation, people can learn to use a dial-up terminal for email and internet chat in two days at the most! Our daughter was, for the next four years, our daughter on the Net! Charlie Firestone , executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, said, "I run an office of seven people.
I was able to move from Washington, DC, to California with little detriment, mostly due to video-conferencing.