The technological revolution has given rise to the development of many complex gadgets and devices which, 100 years ago, no one could have ever predicted. Lifestyles of the 20th and 21st century couldn’t be more different. Technology has allowed humans to overcome the obstacles of time and space, in order to achieve tasks that were previously deemed impossible. Not only can we contact anyone on the face of the Earth, we can extend people’s lives with organ transplants and we have even put man on the moon. It seems as though there is nothing that can come in our way; as a race, we have become unstoppable. Or have we? Unfortunately, every advantage comes with a disadvantage and as technology is hugely advantageous to us, we can only expect the drawbacks to be just as bad. Yes, technology has saved more lives than it has taken, but, its implications are largely mental, and irreversible.
Nowadays, we are almost completely dependent on technology. A life without it is inconceivable, especially for millennials who haven’t had to endure living in such a world. Technology has helped to increase economic growth in countries where automation has brought about a rise in productivity and efficiency of the workforce. The end of low-wage, menial labour has come, and we are now able to focus on the jobs that really matter. However, the way in which we are all connected in this virtual world has meant that the attack surface of technology is huge. There is 1 defect in every 2 thousand, five hundred lines of code which may not seem like much, but it’s enough for hackers to have an enormous impact. To put this into perspective, the Google search engine compromises of roughly 2 billion lines of code, this means that there are 8 hundred thousand defects. That’s 8 hundred thousand chances hackers have to exploit Google search engine users and cause harm.
In addition, technology experts haven’t really had enough time to fully master their skills in cyber security as technology is, of course, a relatively new phenomenon. This means that we haven’t had the experience of defending against different types of threats. Once an attack occurs, it’s extremely difficult for government agencies to locate the people responsible. This could be led by the fact that technology is becoming increasingly complex and ever-changing so it might be difficult for everyone to catch up. Furthermore, the growing internet of things is not only making things more convenient for us, but it is also exposing more of our vulnerabilities. We need to take caution when posting personal information online because poor security accompanied by careless actions can lead to disastrous consequences.
Moreover, the recent culture shift towards a hyper connected society is a bold and dangerous move. Right now, there are at least a billion people using Facebook alone. It’s clear that we rely on connectivity more than ever and we could never imagine a world where it didn’t exist. I have the ability to contact my cousins in India, or America, and receive a response instantly; in fact, we can all do this and sometimes I feel as though we take it for granted. Effectively, anyone with a gadget connected to the internet is never alone, they have access to over 40% of the world’s population – that’s more than 3 billion people! In 1995, less than 1% of the world’s population had this privilege. Isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come? We need to preserve this legacy and protect humankind by ensuring that technology, as much as it helps us, doesn’t disrupt our lives.
Disclaimer: I hope that this post doesn’t make you think I’m a technophobe because I definitely support and embrace technological advancements! I just think that it’s easy to get carried away with only considering the good that technology brings, and ignoring the bad.