Unintended Consequences Of Technology On Distance And Global Communications
from the good-and-bad dept
The second article suggests that all the modern communication equipment soldiers get to lug around these days could explain why US soldiers are having so much trouble relating to locals in Iraq and Afghanistan. The article focuses on 11 US airmen who were stranded in Borneo during World War II, without contact to the outside world. They quickly learned to adapt to their surroundings, learning the local language and communicating and respecting the local natives who then were an effective force in fighting off the Japanese on the island. The article suggests that thanks to advanced electronic communication tools, our soldiers today are always tethered back to other Americans, and never need to really get to know the people in the regions where they're fighting, meaning they're less able to relate to them or get along with them, in part as an unintended consequence of having all that communications technology available. It's not too hard to see how this could be true. It is always easier to fall back to communicating with people you know or who speak the same language you do and observe the same customs. While this certainly isn't to condemn the use of communications technology, it is worth noting the unintended consequence of it, especially in thinking about how we continue to relate to other cultures around the globe.