10 Reasons To Fear Technology

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” Robert Oppenheimer thought of these words as he witnessed the first detonation of an atomic bomb on the 16th July, 1945

In that moment, he knew the true power and terrible potential of technological ingenuity Three quarters of Americans are scared of what technology means for humanity Here are 10 reasons their fears may be right 10 Machines Will Replace You In the early 1800s, English workers known as Luddites smashed machines in cotton and woollen mills, because these new contraptions put them out of work Since the industrial revolution, automation has continued unabated, replacing human workers and leaving them in the lurch to either learn fast or live frugally Defenders of the process say that new jobs are created to replace the old ones Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, co-director of the Oxford Martin programme on technology and employment at Oxford university, admits that automation gets rid of lower-skilled work

But he also argues technology has increased the range of tasks skilled workers can perform “You would have assumed bank tellers would have been replaced by ATMs, but there are now more branch relationship managers, so jobs change” Frey estimates that, in cities like London, every new tech job adds five jobs to the local economy, as demand increases for services like hairdressing and retail Yet his own programme’s studies show that n the 1980s, 82% of the US workforce moved into careers associated with new technologies

In the 1990s, just 44% did the same In the 2000s, it was half a percent 9 Robots If technology does literally replace humans, it’ll most likely be in the form of robots

The word “robot” comes from the Czech word “robota” meaning “slavery” It was coined for writer Karel Capek’s 1920 play Rossum’s Universal Robots In the play, a sophisticated robot workforce rises up to destroy humanity Analysts predict the global market for robotics will be worth over $100 billion by 2025 This means autonomous machines – in our homes, in our shops, on our roads and in the sky – could be everywhere

However, lawyer Nick Rogers points out that robot technology has developed ahead of any regulations The potential capabilities and sentience of robots are currently limitless Tech research analyst Jack Karsten and political scientist Darrell M West warn that, “It will be increasingly important for policymakers to take an active role in ensuring that robots… evolve in a way that is only beneficial to humanity” 8

Cyberterrorism The Oxford English Dictionary defines cyberterrorism as “the unlawful (and often politically motivated) use of computers or information technology to cause disruption, fear, or financial loss” This could apply to cyberattacks against power grids, factories, or financial institutions like Wall Street According to Ross Rustici, senior director at cyber security firm Cybereason, cyber warfare is a real threat because the internet and reliance on web-connected systems is “simply the new reality” What’s more, he says, “These systems are poorly defended and have the largest capacity for real world effects right now there isn’t a single country that has sufficient defences to prevent a determined adversary from being successful” Already, Russian hackers have been accused of attacking utilities in the Ukraine in 2015 and the USA in 2017 Such coordinated attacks on a nation’s infrastructure could cause blackouts by cutting the power grid, or floods by reversing sewage pumps, or even explosions by overloading power plants Experts predict it will become a new standard way of waging war

7 Surveillance People are captured on CCTV up to one hundred times a day It’s a measure of security everyone tolerates – or at least seems to tolerate, because it’s hard to say if ordinary citizens are aware of the deliberately clandestine placement of literally millions of CCTV cameras Closed Circuit Television might seem secure and grainy enough to preserve your privacy, but police can get authority to examine anyone’s CCTV Moreover, facial recognition software is now so sophisticated they can match ID photos to CCTV frames

In addition to that, some satellites in space can provide remarkably high definition imaging of your house, your garden… though luckily not inside your room or car Instead, microphones and cameras built into PCs, tablets and mobile phones can be used to monitor your most intimate daily activities Even encrypted messaging services aren’t as secure as you think: in 2016 the British government granted itself the power to force tech companies to remove encryption from messaging apps Other governments are passing similar powers, all in the name of protecting us, and the 2013 Edward Snowden leaks proved that our communications are being monitored by the most powerful intelligence services in the world But how much privacy are we willing to sacrifice for our own protection? 6

Weapons of Mass Destruction Humanity has lived under the shadow of WMDs since the term was coined in 1937 Back then, the phrase described mass raids of bomber aircraft It soon applied to the awesome power of the atomic bomb, which at the time seemed unsurpassable in its destructive potential Since then, a bomb has been built with nearly 4 thousand times the power of the first atom bombs There are now thousands of nuclear weapons around the world, enough to destroy all the planet’s major cities

Then the nuclear fallout would happen Most technology would be lost to the electromagnetic pulses of the bombs A nuclear winter would plunge the Earth into darkness and cause widespread famine as crops failed Scientists predict even a small scale nuclear war would kill one billion people A full scale nuclear war would wipe out the entire human race

And that’s before the radiation sickness kicks in Speaking of sickness, WMDs also include biological weapons like engineered diseases, and chemical weapons that need only be released into the atmosphere 5 The End of Knowledge Smarthomes, autocorrect, GPS navigation… Are humans becoming over reliant on technology? Studies show that the long term memory of younger generations is growing shorter thanks to their dependence on websearch engines, electronic phonebooks and calendar reminders, and so on One day, all data may become digital

No written records, no books, just information stored in binary code However, this decays and is vulnerable to being hacked and expunged, or even accidentally deleted As technology marches on, storage methods can become outdated very quickly Floppy disks and cassettes are obsolete, and data stored on them is virtually lost unless it was transferred to newer storage hardware before the technological transition was complete Flash drives and cloud storage will undergo a similar process, and much faster

If a disaster occurred – whether through cyberterrorism, the EMP fallout of a WMD, or the extinction of old tech – experts predict we would enter a new Dark Age of disorder, ignorance and, if society deteriorated far enough, perhaps even an era of desperate survival 4 Mass Eugenics/Genetic Engineering In 2016 the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, or HFEA, approved the experimental use of the DNA editing process CRISPR to switch genes on and off in a newly fertilised egg In humans, it could potentially correct genetic mutations or deactivate genes that cause diseases like sickle cell anaemia, HIV or certain cancers However, no one has resolved the ethical dilemma of whether or not we should edit human sex cells or embryos to remove inherited diseases or cancer predispositions

Human trials are already taking place in China, and caused a lot of controversy in other nations This is because manipulation of the human genome could have terrifying implications for any person or government wanting to create supersoldiers or commit to a eugenics programme Similar things have been attempted before, long before the technology was invented Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School, says global regulatory models, like the HFEA, would be beneficial but hard to enforce “If we can’t agree between countries, how can we agree as the human race to a set of shared ethical standards?” 3

Unintended Side Effects In 1979 Robert Williams, a Michigan Ford car worker, entered the Guinness World Records for becoming the first person to be killed by an industrial robot In 2018, Elaine Herzberg became the first recorded person to be killed by a self-driving car Vivek Wadhwa warns that “Every technology has a dark side” There are many consequences to new technology that even experts cannot predict For over one hundred years, humans have relied on cars, despite the deadly effects of air pollution and the many fatal accidents that occur every day

Inventors and scientists innovate with the best intentions But the more revolutionary the technology, the bigger its impact on the world… The Grey Goo scenario is just such a prediction If self-replicating nanobots were created, they would reproduce in nature by devouring raw materials Yet they would reproduce exponentially, too fast for any remedy to be developed by scientists They would only stop reproducing when they ran out of raw materials to feed on

In short, they would eat the Earth – and everything in it – within a day or so 2 Artificial Intelligence Physicist Stephen Hawking warned that artificial general intelligence “could spell the end of the human race” He’s not the only influential mind to think so Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk also fear artificial intelligence

In 1951, AI pioneer Alan Turing predicted it would “outstrip our feeble powers [and] take control” In 1965, Irving Good noted that “the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided [it tells] us how to keep it under control” In particular, they fear the technological singularity: the point at which A

I will be able to improve itself so rapidly, it will form a superintelligence that is greater than all humanity This could mark the beginning of the end for us It would certainly change the world beyond recognition, hopefully for the better Although the development of full artificial intelligence has been much slower than expected, experts now agree it will be achieved in 2047

1 Data Breaches So far, this video has listed potential or hypothetical technological threats In the digital age, data breaches occur every day, to individuals or communities The startling fact is that huge corporations hold information on so many people, that hackers can and have perpetrated truly huge data breaches In 2013, they stole the data of 3 billion Yahoo customers

In 2016, they stole the data of over 400 million Adult Friend Finder users The confirmed number of victims of the 2017 Equifax data breach continues to rise, on its way to 200 million Around the world, governments estimate that private individuals lose billions of dollars every year through data breaches (Australia: $22 billion) In 2012 former FBI Director Robert Mueller said: “I am convinced that there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be

And even they are converging into one category: companies that have been hacked and will be hacked again” If you think your personal information is safe, think again

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