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Technology Development

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This paper seeks to explore the concept of technology as a disruption. There are many different definitions that can be used for what constitutes as disruptive technology. These types of disruptions can occur in average everyday life as well as occur on a larger scale within businesses and other larger work fields. As technology continues to advance, it can be said that we will begin to see more disruptions as time goes on. Additionally, it is important for us to be able to utilize these various definitions of disruptive technology so that we are able to see when technology may be considered a possible threat. In looking at the idea of disruptive technology, we can see disruptions already occurring within products that are being replaced by new companies, cell phones in our day to day lives, and even as a potential emerging disruption in the medical field.

The Disruptive Technology of Artificial Intelligence Technology has completely changed the world and the way that we live in it. It has never been easier to complete tasks as it is now in this technologically advanced world in which we find ourselves. People are able to search for information with the touch of a simple button and interact with fully automated services or machines in different aspects of our lives. So much of what we do within the world is based on technology. However, while nearly all of this technology is extremely helpful and ever present in our day to day lives, there comes a point where technology can be disruptive. One may ask the following questions, “When does this helpful technology start becoming disruptive?” “Where is the line drawn between that and being helpful?” It is important to recognize where technology begins to become disruptive, even within technology that appears to be helpful, such as artificial intelligence.

The idea of technology being disruptive to our day to day lives first stemmed back in 1997 with Clayton Christensen’s thesis based on the matter. The actual definition of what makes disruptive technology disruptive is considered to be ambiguous, as there is no concrete definition for it. Christensen believes that the theory of disruptive technology stems from a new technology undermining another, a more dominant form, until it can eventually replace the original method (Tellis, 2006). In 2015, scholars revisited the thesis presented by Christensen in order to see if it still holds up in today’s ever-expanding society and state of technological growth. They determined that what makes these newer companies, or technologies, so powerful and able to takeover older standards is the fact that they target segments of a company model or product that lacks something that a customer needs (Christensen, et Al., 2015). This shows that these technological advances are far more superior than one may first believe, because they are marketing themselves in a way that proves they are needed and that the older method is outdated and not good. Their marketing techniques are so successful and powerful, because they persuade consumers into believing that they don’t only ‘want’ the product- but need it.

However, as previously mentioned, disruptive technology is something that cannot be easily defined. This is because what causes disruption to one person is going to be different from what causes disruption to another. For example, while Christensen defines disruptive technology as something that takes away from something else, such as a company or outdated product, it could also be said that this type of technology is taking away from living one’s own life. For example, before cell phones were invented, people used to spend a lot of quality time together. Nowadays, it is unfortunately more common to see a group of teenagers or young adults that are sitting in a room together, with their faces on their phones and not interacting with one another. Personally, I believe that is something that can be defined as being disruptive technology, because it is disrupting the average sort of day that we used to be able to always have.

I believe that it is excellent to have these multiple and different definitions of what is considered to be disruptive technology, because it allows people to look at it from different vantage points. While one person sees that cellphones are taking away from social interaction on an in-person level, another could find that technology is taking away from the concept of being able to do things by yourself. For instance, it can be said that some people more than others often rely too heavily on technology in their everyday life. Sometimes people become too dependent upon technology and are incapable of doing activities without the use of technology. This could also be said of something even just as simple as calculators. Now that we have them easily accessible on our phones, we are more reliant on pulling our phones out to type in our calculations- rather than taking the time to figure the math out on our own. Similarly, the same can be said with answers to simple questions that we can easily just google. This can also even apply to the notion or idea that more advanced technology can also be considered disruptive. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the ever-expanding market of artificial intelligence, and if such intelligence is disruptive, is one of those controversial matters.

Similar to most technologies, people can easily find artificial intelligence within their everyday lives. It was once a concept that was so far advanced, that it only existed in science fiction, before becoming reality in the world of science and medicine. Since then, we have also expanded to be able to each have our own personal artificial intelligence within our pockets, easily accessible on our cellphones. This type of artificial intelligence is constantly controversial, because people often wonder how much of their daily lives are being picked up by the software that uses the technology. It can also be argued that this technology is disruptive, because people choose to rely on it, similar to everything else. Following the visitation back to Christensen’s thesis in 2015, one scholar chose to make the bold statement that artificial intelligence will lead to the next wave of technological disruption!

Chad Pankewitz notes how artificial intelligence, coupled along with automation and robots, are transforming the technological world in a way that is beginning to show a pattern of even potential future disruption. It is important to note that he points out that this disruption will not only affect businesses, such as in Christensen’s initial thesis, but that it can disrupt the lives of even average people as well. He begs the question of what artificial intelligence is capable of when paired with the idea of automation and robots, and points out that many jobs could easily be replaced by this type of system. This can be seen as extremely disruptive, being that it could leave thousands of people out of work; he also points out that it can affect any type of business, of any size, and at any time (Pankewitz, 2016).

While Pankewitz notes that this disruption can affect any sort of business, and that this disruption can already be seen as being in its beginning stages of doing so within the medical world. Recently, it has additionally been pointed out that artificial intelligence may be proven to be a threat to radiologists. It has become more and more prominent that artificial intelligence could make its way into that field. It has been noted that this artificial intelligence can help provide support in less severe cases, in an effort to aid radiologists delegate their time more efficiently. This is so that they can put their main focus on the more challenging tasks and interact with patients better (Mazurowski, 2019). While some individuals are enthusiastic about this prospect, there are many other individuals who feel that this is not a great idea and are more anxious about this.

Mazurowski provides examples of arguments as to why artificial intelligence will not prove to be a disruption to this workforce, but it is clear that he does not believe these arguments to be completely true. He believes that allowing artificial intelligence to take over a large portion of the reading usually delegated to the radiologists is a threat to their overall job despite the fact that their work is more than just interpreting images (Mazurowski). He notes that there is no sufficient or significant evidence that this disruption will not occur. He believes that the future is uncertain and that there is a likelihood that the field of radiology could adapt to this rapidly changing technology in a way that would disrupt the normal lives of these radiologists.

Another way that artificial intelligence will be positively disruptive, is in the cybersecurity field, by providing stronger cybersecurity. There have been around 707 million cybersecurity breaches in 2015, and 554 million in the first half of 2016. It is rather difficult for companies to be ahead of the hackers and their minds. Scholars have been estimating that with the help of artificial intelligence, their private data can be more affordably protected- and can keep people safer.

Another positive way this technology will be disruptive, is with vital tasks. Older people have hard times reaching objects on high shelves, and overall living at home alone. With the help of artificial intelligence, assistants will “safely reach objects on high shelves, and monitor movement” (5 Ways Artificial Intelligence will Change the World by 2050).

Technology as a disruption is as ambiguous as defining such disruptive technology itself. What is considered disruptive to average individuals, is not going to be disruptive to individuals facing the threat of their jobs being replaced by artificial intelligence, within businesses or the radiology field. This can also be said to go the other way. Overall, it is important for us to have an idea of what disruptive technology is and how it begins to form. By emerging from a simple need that a client or customer has, and focusing on this weakness, makes it easier for technological advances to not only make a name for themselves as an emerging fad or item, but to become a threat that may replace the original. As Mazurowksi stated, it is inevitable for these disruptions to occur, as the world constantly advances around us. The next stage of this evolving technology could see artificial intelligence interact with robots or automation in some way that may replace more jobs than we ever thought possible before.

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