One has only to start their car, purchase an item online, complete a banking transaction, or complete a homework assignment to see the positive impact that software has on society. There is not an industry that has not been impacted in a positive way by software in the last twenty-five years. From accounting software, to speech and language software in schools, to 3-D imaging software in hospitals, people in all walks of life have witnessed the positive effect that computer software has on daily life. We are able to track a package from the time we make an online purchase to the minute it is delivered at our doorstep by logging into the software used by logistics companies. When we visit a doctor, from our check-in at the front desk, to our medical records, to our prescription refills, to our payment, all are recorded in real time thanks to software programs that are easily understood, economically viable, and end-user friendly. Remote software allows doctors to consult and operate in real-time around the world and in areas where medical access is negligible. Classrooms around the world converse with each other making cultural diversity and traditions seem like the norm instead of the difference. If you watch the news on a daily basis, you realize how small the world has become as news reports are produced from your neighborhood to some of the most remote area of the world and are brought to your home, laptop, phone, or other mobile device by live streaming software. Society no longer has to wait until the closing bell to examine how stocks and commodities are trading at home and in international markets; software makes it available with the a tap on the screen. Banking, education, government agencies, retailers, businesses large and small use software on a daily basis without thinking about it until it becomes inaccessible
When there is a glitch in software, production at a large manufacturing facility can grind to a halt. If hospitals’, government agencies’ or retailers’ databases are hacked into exposing private information the negative side of software use becomes very real on a personal level. Another negative aspect of software is its use for subversive activities by people who are intent on causing harm to others by tapping into security entities around the world. Drones, which are software driven, can maneuver in places that are secure such as airplane flight paths, and can photograph sensitive, secure military outposts. Economic means produces a great divide in software accessibility. When people do not have the means to provide the basics, computers and software are not available, but could be key in social mobility.
These are some of the positive and negative impacts of software on society. The positive impacts lead to improved lifestyles and opportunities, while the negative impacts lead to threats, disadvantage and reduction of privacy and safety.