Technology, Society and Culture: Wireless Electricity – Term Paper Sample
Technological developments have been a constant feature of human civilization which introduced the world to the basis of this study itself – the invention of electricity. The essence of evolution rests on the endeavor to improve upon available resources and ingenuity through use of technology which has, and is leading to the fast transformation of the known world. As the study has been focused on the concept of wireless electricity, it is imperative to establish direction at this point in terms of where to concentrate the study next. As is the case with the development and implementation of any advancement, it is absolutely essential to assess the ethical implications of the same. As a result, the focus of this presentation will be on ascertaining the impacts and implications of implementing wireless technology in social, economic, political, health and environmental factors.
Factors identified in the development of Wireless Electricity
The objective of the preceding study till now was to highlight the overall technological mechanism of the way wireless electricity can be developed and implemented. To recap, it is now known that wireless electricity involves transformation of electricity from the source to the intended recipient without the use of wires (Zhang, F., Hackworth, S. A., Fu, W., Li, C., Mao, Z. and Sun, M., 2011). The technological idea behind the development is that of transmission of electrical power over short distances using microwave or electromagnetic induction which ideally will not involve any medium for transmission – cables or wires. Essentially, a magnetic coil is used to generate electromagnetic waves which will travel over a short distance without wires to a receiver coil, which will produce voltage for consumption. It also needs to be highlighted that this technology is already prevalent and is present in the mechanism whereby appliances connected wirelessly to wireless stands function, and is also used for cardiac pacemakers and insulin pumps. The important factor to observe here is that the frequency will be dependent on the placement and distance between the magnetic coil and receiver coil. The very important criterion for the transmission of energy is the presence and manipulation of oscillating magnetic fields (Zhang, F., Hackworth, S. A., Fu, W., Li, C., Mao, Z. and Sun, M., 2011).
Therefore, in order to make wireless electricity a success in any place, clearly there will be an impact on the ecology, economy (from costs), society and also health of not only humans but also other living beings coming within the range of oscillating magnetic fields. From an economic and worldwide perspective, the impact on developing and under developed nations will be greater as compared to developing nations due to infrastructure. These are the aspects which need to be considered in order to evaluate the ethical implications, and the same have been dissected in the section to follow.
Ethical Considerations – social, health and economic implications
With respect to ethical considerations involving wireless electricity, perhaps the most common component which comes to the mind is cost. It goes without saying that such an endeavor will involve significant expenses, especially when the focus is on large scale implementations. From the point of view of this study, focus needs to be given on the cost of implementation of the technology – not solely on monetary terms but also in social, health and economic terms. Each of these perspectives has been addressed in the paragraphs to follow.
The first aspect needs to be on the cost of development of the technology itself. It is a known fact that for the last century or so, the most common source of generation of electricity all around the world has been either burning of fossil fuels (coal), or generation of electricity from running water or wind (Agrawal, D.P., 2010). In case the new development in wireless electricity is to be implemented, the cost involved in bringing about the implementation will be quite great. It is due to the fact that the systems of generation of electricity as well as transmission of the same will witness a major change from the traditional ones in existence today. The transgression of society from one dependent on wires and cables to another which is to be wireless will involve costs.
The first change will involve removal of the wires and cables and utilization of magnetic coils for the transmission of power utilizing magnetic fields. The limitation in this case is that this mechanism is suitable for transmission of power over relatively short distances. It implies the more is the intended coverage of wireless electric power transmission, greater needs to be the frequency of presence of magnetic fields in the area. It will call for the construction of more set-ups which are capable of producing and transmitting electric power which is an important economic factor. In this particular case, countries whose government is able to rapidly embrace the development and change will be more capable of implementing wireless technology than those nations which are not.
Particularly for developing nations and under-developed countries this is going to be a major challenge – considering the fact that in remote areas of these nations even normal electricity is not available due to poor infrastructure. Even if all of the nations do possess the capability to initiate and implement the change, considerations need to be made on how the industry will respond to it. Definitely, the focus will shift to producing goods and commodities which will be tuned to consumption and utilization of wireless electricity. When the infrastructure for production and provision of wireless electricity changes, so will the industrial perception as more and more goods which can be charged using receiver coils will be focused upon (Schlegel, R.E., Grant, F.H., Raman, S., and D. Reynolds, D., 2008).
The implication of this point is that gradually even households will require replacement of appliances which depended on electricity transmitted through wires and cables. The critical point to take into consideration here is the fact that the technological development only focuses on bringing a change in the manner of electricity transmission. It does not specify what would be the difference in generating the electricity in the first place.
If generation of electricity is still dependent on the same sources as mentioned earlier, only changing the means of transmission of the same will only increase the cost of the commodity. So technically, mankind will have to bear two primary costs – the expenses incurred in changing the electricity distribution system to a wireless one and also the cost involved in replacing existing appliances and machines with those which are suited for wireless electricity. Such costs, even though significant can still be borne by government and citizens of developed nations.
An important consideration that has to accompany all proposed changes and developments is that of sustainability. Clearly, with the introduction of the new envisioned system of electricity generation and provision there is bound to be changes to the entire prevailing infrastructure. In almost all of the nations of the world, there are corporations which are actively involved with the governments in the production and distribution of electrical energy. More often than not, especially in developing nations these organizations have a great influence on the establishment and implementation of policies related to production and distribution of energy. If the development and implementation of wireless electricity does not suit their needs, governments of the corresponding nations will face greater difficulty in implementing these projects.
However, one needs to consider what will happen to poor and developing countries? From the existing information available, it is really difficult to answer this particular question. Clearly, if the country is developed and capable enough to afford the costs, wireless electricity will be a possibility; not so for poor and developing countries. Even if for a moment it is accepted that all of the nations are able to afford and implement wireless electricity, the environmental implications and consequences need to be focused upon as well.
The first environmental factor which will come to mind in this case is that of utilization of resources and sustainability of the projects. It is mainly due to the fact that now corporations and organizations involved in the production and distribution of electricity will have to build up supporting set-ups, not only at the source of electricity energy creation, but also after every operating area division. The objective will be to bring into coverage as much area as possible. However, given the fact that wireless transmissions only work in a limited area, government and organizations will target increasing the number of such electricity transmitting or relaying stations.
Certainly, this is bound to not only consume available natural resources but will also interfere in the ecology of the locality. It is for certain that not every area in the United States, or other countries are devoid of flora and fauna. What will happen to the same which will be displaced by the construction of such a relaying unit? What would be the impact of intrusion of human workers in such areas? These are questions which need to be answered and not only that, the development and implementation of wireless electricity projects have to carefully ensure minimum impact on the same – which will again increase the burden of rising costs (The Art of Healing, 2012).
Another important consideration to take here is the impact of distorted magnetic fields and wireless signals on life itself. Mobile towers and wireless signals have been well to known to have an impact on not only health of humans but also on wildlife as well. For example, birds navigate using their sense of presence of electromagnetic fields and so do other animals of flight. The presence of wireless electricity and interference will clearly have an impact on the surrounding environment and wildlife. In humans, prolonged exposure to wireless devices is often linked to a number of disease and health conditions, and children are especially vulnerable to the same. Deafness and increased vulnerability to cancer are some of the alleged harmful impacts of exposure to wireless frequencies (Ko, M., 2001). However, in this case it needs to be highlighted that this is based on the present situation – whereby vicinity to wireless devices is more or less a matter of choice. Considering the fact that in the future mankind will be exposed to wireless and electromagnetic frequencies almost everywhere, it is difficult to abstain from having reservations against wireless electricity.
It would not be justified if focus is only given to the factors to be aware of about wireless electricity, and not on the aspects which make it a boon to society. Within the limited range, wireless signals are highly effective and so is expected to be the case for wireless electricity as well. The main idea of wireless electricity comes from the trouble the society faces in present times due to the presence of too many wires all around. It severely limits movement, construction and livewires particularly pose a great risk to life and property. With the presence of wireless electricity, these limitations can be eliminated. Also, with allocation of electricity on a signal-point based system will reduce wastage, pilferage and other such malpractices to a great extent.
Introduction and implementation of wireless electricity in society is no stranger to ethical considerations. Even though ethical considerations might help in weighing the advantages against the disadvantages, it can never be recommended to follow through even if there is a single impact on the society and life as a whole. Through the study, it is observed that even though the perceived impact on nature and human life is still subject to confirmed findings, the fact that introduction and implementation of wireless electricity holistically at an international level is not possible places it at somewhat of a disadvantage. However, this reflection is only based on present times and evaluation of the preparedness of all of humanity, from both rich and developed countries to poor and underdeveloped ones. It is strongly believed that the not so distant future will be very much different from present times and wireless electricity will become a reality, everywhere.
Agrawal, D.P. (2010). Introduction to wireless and mobile systems. New York, NY: Wadsworth.
Ko, M. (2001). Boon or brain-killer? News Magazine (Alberta Edition) , 28 (15), 50.
Schlegel, R.E., Grant, F.H., Raman, S., and D. Reynolds, D. (2008). Electromagnetic Compatibility Study of the In-vitro Interaction of Wireless Phones with Cardiac Pacemakers. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology , 32 (6), 645-655.
The Art of Healing. (2012). The Economist’s inaccurate coverage of cell phone and wireless risk. The Art of Healing , 38 (1), 17.
Zhang, F., Hackworth, S. A., Fu, W., Li, C., Mao, Z. and Sun, M. (2011). Relay effect of wireless power transfer using strongly coupled magnetic resonances. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics , 47 (5), 1478-1481.