Technological development changed the way people used to communicate before and how they communicate now. It offers new possibilities to make people’s daily lives more healthy, safe, understandable, independent, fun and comfortable. Due to new technologies we found energy-friendly and sustainable solutions to improve the environment in which we live as well as tools for elderly people to live longer on their own. Furthermore, new technologies provide us with new means of communication and new ways of entertainment. For example, in the past people used mobile phones only for talking and texting but now smart phones opened up various ways to communicate and entertain ourselves. Online shopping made our life more convenient where we can buy things from home and save time. Renewable energy technologies like hydrogen technology and biomass are also something very important for saving environment. Moreover, the cloud has completely changed how accessible everything in our digital lives can be. Our files, data, applications and security are all managed by the cloud. There is less use of traditional filling cabinets, other hardwares or devices to store our personal and business data. This also invades our more traditional digital media assets such as our music, movies and photos.
Technology has had a profound impact on what it means to be social. In a society where people have become quite mobile and family and friends are often geographically separated, it is convenient to keep in touch through technology. Overcoming a sense of isolation is one of the greatest features of online communities and virtual worlds. Social Networks like Facebook and YouTube, both exceeding a billion monthly active users, have completely redefined the way we build and maintain relationships. We are both addicted to our mobile device and dependent on them. The possibility of high quality communication from anywhere in the world to anywhere else at low costs has led to a marked decline in face-to-face communications and to an increased reliance on verbal and written communication over electronic mediums. The proliferation of online forums, live coverage of news, and other such media-related initiatives have resulted in world wide access and participation in news and information for almost everyone.
In the future new technologies would get even better. Smartphones, cloud computing and multi-touch tablets are just the beginning. There will be wearable technology where we will be able to view social media feeds, text, maps, as well as navigate with GPS and take photos. 3D printers would introduce the luxury of producing our own prototypes where every individual professional has the capability to mass produce their own creative physical products without limitation. Virtual Reality gaming could turn the head around with ultra-low latency to view the world in high resolution display. Gesture recognition will allow us to scroll the web page, zoom in the map and photos, sign documents and even play a first person shooter game with only hand and finger movements. Not only that but also eye tracking systems will allow us to control our tablet, play flight simulators, and even slice fruits in Fruit Ninja only with our eye movements. With smart objects we can get our smoke alarms, humidity, pressure and vibration sensors to detect changes in our house and it can alert us through the smartphone. We could even track who’s been inside our house, turn on the lights while we’re entering a room, shut windows and doors when we leave the house.
Australians are among the highest users of technology, and e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste. As our desire for personal gadgets grows, we end up with more and more electronics in incinerators or landfills. These old electronic gadgets contain many components that have hazardous elements and chemicals like mercury, beryllium, arsenic, lead and cadmium. These hazardous elements and toxins end up polluting the eco-system and human health, and create a toxic legacy for future generations. For example, when lamps are crushed as part of waste transfer processes the elemental form of mercury is easily transferred into local environments. Once in landfill and combined with organics, anaerobic breakdown takes place leading to the production of highly toxic methyl-mercury. Electronic Waste (ewaste) recycling is more than just reusing materials. Recycling ewaste not only diverts toxic metals from landfill but it also means many valuable materials can be reused. There is a massive energy saving when creating secondary raw materials compared to primary raw materials. A report prepared by The Total Environment Centre and Environment Victoria predicts that without an introduction of an ewaste recycling programme, the amount of ewaste in Australian landfills will treble by 2020 and be close to 700 million items.
For the future generations there would be a great impact on how we use technology and utilize e-waste. Advancement in technology is changing the definition of not only the workplace but also our everyday life. More use of technology means more e-waste. Technology invention made our life easier so we have to handle the consequences of using technology. Beside predicting new technology and more improvement in human communication tools we can facilitate recycling e-waste. Facebook, Instagram, twitter and other social networking sites can be used to promote recycling of e-waste. Electronic products should be diverted from landfill to prevent toxic materials from contaminating ecosystems, to slow the depletion of non-renewable resources, reduce greenhouse emissions and reduce pressure on landfills. The correct disposal of ewaste is of vital importance to being able to achieve a sustainable future. E-waste can be used to build refurbished phones and computers. Also it can create various pieces of jewellery, artworks and notebooks out of circuit boards. Australian government should establish more efficient e-waste policy, as part of a Sustainable Procurement Policy and budget for disposal of e-waste during the procurement process.