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Digital Complexity

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Digital complexity is something that I find that’s constantly preached about in the numerous IS and CS courses that I’ve taken in the past. Digital complexity is, by definition, or at least my understanding of it, is the amount of processes made to reach an end goal within an Information System or software program. The concept of digital complexity can also be applied to real-world situations. For example, look at how much the world has changed over the last couple of decades.

Before, forms used to be carried out with carbon-copies. People carried around beepers and pagers as a means of communications. When you went to purchase items at the store, you had to get the sku numbers punched in. When you traveled, you had to use a road map and reference your position with mile markers on the the interstate. Your basic means of communication was ghasp! your voice–meaning you had to meet people in person to talk with them, or initiate communication over the phone tied to your wall.

Now we have inventions like xerox machines, mobile phones–even smartphones that act similar to fully-blown computer systems, UPC scanners and RFID readers, GPS systems, and various channels of communications (i.e. SMS and MMS, Tweet, Status update/post, Email, VIOP, and telecommunications via web and televised media; to name a few). All of these advancements-inventions were created for the sake of simplifying our lives and increasing the quality in which we live lives, but what they have really done is added a layer of complexity to our society. We cut ourselves off from the definite reality and allow ourselves to become distracted with our digital representations because that is what they are–objects in cyberspace/digital world/computing; whatever you call it, are nothing but abstract representations of objects in reality. We let ourselves become distracted by the illusion of a virtual world.

I speak from experience. I used to engorge myself in the reality of a false existence: I was a gamer–moreso, I was an addict in many ways. Spending weekend nights on a server wasting away through numerous fragfests was typical throughout my adolescent life. I was obsessed with a PC game called Halo: Combat Evolved. It offered an escape from a boring mundane reality and through it, I was able to hold onto the last vestiges I had of creative imagination–or so I thought. I wasted countless hours searching through message boards, tutorials, leaderboards and it was all to no personal advancement.

Later, I explored the vast intricacies of Social Networking. I discovered in status posts, there was a drama unfolding in real-time. People talked about their lives–the events that were unfolding. There were also games, like farmville.

The last examination I had, was in mobile phones. They are becoming increasingly like computers. The might even be the successors to computers in the near future. They provided a problem though, they make people more accessible which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Having status updates, messages, email, tweets, web, scheduling, and even gaming plagued me with various problems. At some point, I felt that I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

As an experiment, I stopped carrying my phone, I minimized my interaction with computers, and I essentially isolated myself from technology. The technical isolation was a sobering experience. Life became simple. There was no more drama. The problems I had were nearly eradicated. I became more outgoing and laid-back. Everything that was thrown on my plate as far as workloads and tasks became easier. I adapted to rely on my personal ability to do things. It felt like taking off a blindfold.

Now as the author of this work, know that I am not against technology as a whole. I appreciate what it can do, given the circumstances, but at the same time, I believe everyone needs a break. I challenge you to close your notebook computer and put it with your 3G or 4G smartphone in the closet and take a step outside and enjoy the sunlight. There’s nothing better than the experience you get when you LIVE your life.

“Everybody dies, but not everyone lives

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