The Dark Side of Smart Technology
As we begin to rely more and more on smart technology in our day to day lives, many people are posing the question “How smart is too smart?”. There are of course multiple reasons to believe that our ability to control everything from our finances to our exam results with the click of a button is a good thing…but is it always the best thing?
Are there some things which would be better being dealt with in the old fashioned way? George Orwell first predicted a society rather similar to that in which we’re currently living in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four. Written in 1949, the story predicted a frightening future in which mind control and an ever-present elite government (Big Brother) were able to spy on even the most secret thoughts of individuals and in which crime was impossible.
Today this novel might seem extreme but are we that far from the realities of a “Big Brother”? Certainly our every move outside our own homes is recorded and viewed via security cameras and many people are easily tracked via their mobile phones or other devices…our shopping habits, our incomes and even our class are tracked by our online movements and purchases and this information is stored by supermarkets and then used to ensure that they’re targeting the right people with the right products in advertisements.
In some retail establishments it is already possible to pay for goods via our mobile phones…swiping bar codes with them in the supermarket is becoming the norm and cash is fast becoming obsolete. Is this a bad thing? Can it ever be good for any currency to be controlled via computer systems entirely?
There are other worrying trends coming to the fore at the moment and perhaps one of the biggest is that of security drones. Already in use within the military, drones are soon to be in regular use by private companies for a variety of purposes. Amazon recently hinted that they’d be using drones to deliver items in the future to much derision… but Japanese company Secom is already rolling out drones for hire; they look like bugs and are essentially flying robots; what they’re capable of at the moment seems to be mainly identifying and following individuals who are in areas they shouldn’t be; what they will be capable of in the future remains anyone’s guess.
Hackers have spoken out against drones and also demonstrated how easily they can be hacked and controlled remotely with very little equipment indeed. So for the moment although technology moves alarmingly speedily and some of it might not be welcomed by everyone, it’s good to remember that there will always be the young, bright computer whizz kids who are one step ahead of the designers working for major corporations. We don’t need to panic yet…technology isn’t about to change so drastically that we’re not safe.
As with all inventions and all discoveries, there is a positive and a negative…some people will always seek to focus on the negative; the positives of smart technology far outweigh the negatives at the moment and let’s hope it stays that way for many years to come!