THE LEGENDARY: Should we be afraid of emerging technologies?

Since the dawn of civilization, technology has been something that we as humans have grasped and manipulated in order to evolve into the species that we are today. We always manage to find ways to make our live easier by applying scientific knowledge to everyday life. Technology has become so advanced that we don’t even consider the things we use everyday as pieces of technology, because in modern day, it is a requirement. For example, could you imagine how we would be functioning today without something as simple as light bulbs or toilets? Is it hard for you to make it through a single day without your smartphone, looking at tv or using a computer? It has become such a norm, that we take it for granted and we automatically know that there will something better to replace it in the near future.

Technology is more than just gadgets. It is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Many of the world’s greatest creations can be considered technological advances such as plumbing for our sewer systems and water irrigation on large farms. But as time progressed, so did our need to make our lives easier. Fifty years ago, no one would have ever imagined that smartphones, flat screen tvs, internet, email, and electric cars would every be a thing. Where it was once a thing to store your food in an ice box, we now live in a world where the temperature of your stove or oven can be controlled by voice activation. Amazing, isn’t it?! Many of us have not even lived to see how life was before the internet became “a thing”.

As generations have passed, human knowledge has grown. Humans are smart enough to build technology that thinks for itself. That goes back to how it was started to make our lives easier, so if what we build has minds of its own, it takes us less effort to manipulate it. This allows humans of all intelligence levels to be able to utilize the technology that is created for society. But have you ever stopped to think like, “Wow! How did we do this? How did we make such a great camera out of a tiny lens?” Is technology advancing too fast? Was technology every supposed to be smarter than us?

Have you every once thought that the tech that is available today is outsmarting us? I mean, I’m not trying to spook you out, but just think, if tech continues to advance, have you ever considered that we could be living in iRobot? I’m not intentionally trying to spook you out, but it is kinda spooky when you think about it, ain’t it? Will the advancement of technology indeed make our lives easier or does it just make us more lazy?

Studies by the Pew Research Center in 2015 indicated that 21% of Americans are online constantly, while 42% of Americans are online several times a day. Are we so thirsty for information and it is now so easy to obtain that we can avoid putting down our smartphones? This causes health issues as we are using the internet more than we sleep and exercise, so in a way, it does make us lazy. But honestly, this is not technology’s fault, because all it takes is your own self-discipline. If you know that you are screening yourself too much, then use it less. Get some damn exercise or read a book instead of scrolling down Instagram all night when you should be sleeping anyway.

But other than making us half lazy, technology provokes fearful thoughts in other ways. For example, many U.S. fast food and service workers have been striking because they feel as though the federal minimum wage should be $15 per hour considering the hard work they do. This is true. Service work can be very stressful, hard on the feet, and you have to take crap for absolutely everyone, so yes, I can see why many believe they deserve at least $15 per hour. But at the same time, they are not skilled workers and can be easily replaced for people who will do the work without complaining about the wage and also because of the surge in technology.

Customers using kiosks in McDonald’s to place their orders

As a business or franchise owner, why would I pay 10 employees $15 per hour, who are going to get sick, call off from work, be late, complain about their pay and the work and so forth, when I can just make a one time investment in a POS system and I can avoid all those problems and I not have to pay the computers $15 per hour plus benefits? I just provided an example of how many of the hardest workers are going to lose their jobs to technology and that can be a scary thing if you work full-time with benefits and have a spouse and children to care for. Honestly, I think this is where individuals are going to have to step in and work harder for themselves as well as the government. We can’t stop the inevitable, and the inevitable is that tech is going to replace many unskilled jobs like cashiers, but we are going to have to push harder to make sure that our children are getting the education they need and they can at least graduate from high school and ultimately learn how to run the technology that will make these jobs obsolete in the future. The government needs to create more opportunities for students to learn how to work with new tech and also creating more jobs that require skill but not masters degree skill level jobs.

My fear isn’t that we are going to lose jobs to tech or get so lazy that we will be letting our gadgets do everything for us instead or doing it ourselves. My fear is that the technology we build is going to be so smart that it will begin to outsmart the users and be able to manipulate any situation. We’re already halfway there… smart tech is now inside our homes starting with the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

There have been many reports that say that smart devices are listening and recording what you are saying even when you are not speaking directly to it; in other words, they can eavesdrop. Good technology malfunctions all the time so who’s to say that it’s not doing something that will haunt me later. For example, if you think you paid your insurance payment online or through an automated phone system and it gives you a confirmation of you payment but later you find out that the payment was never actually processed and it causes you to lose your insurance. Would you rather make that payment with a live person to ensure that there is no error? Maybe I am sounding a bit paranoid, but it could happen. I know you may be thinking thinking that you would trust a computer over a human who is far more capable of making errors than a computer any day, but even computers make mistakes and malfunction. Could we rely on computers and tech so much that we allow them to take over and control our livelihoods?

But it’s not even just that which concerns me about emerging technology. I love tech. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. It’s cool and I think man has been able to do so much by improving technology throughout generations. Like who needs VCRs anymore when we can easily stream through OnDemand, Netflix, Hulu, Chromecast or Roku? Diseases like polio have been cured because of the advancements in medicine, which can be considered a technological advancement as well. And it just goes back to what I said earlier, it makes you like, “Wow, that’s amazing! Look how far we’ve come!” But what about our privacy? Is there really a such thing as privacy anymore?

I ask that question because we have become accustomed to our lives being so public on websites and apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we have become accustomed to how these companies obtain information about us. You search so much on Google that it knows what kind of content you read or search regularly so it’s finding information before you finish typing it in. You like so much content on Facebook that they know exactly which advertisements to place on your news feed. It’s becoming where the internet know more about us than we know about ourselves. It’s spooky for Google to recommend something for dinner as soon as I go on my Google Now and I have not even began searching for a restaurant that I would like to eat at or what I want to cook.

Is that spooky to you? Do you like technology knowing everything about you so hat you don’t even have to think for yourself? What was your favorite piece of tech from the past and what is your favorite tech now? Are we still using your favorite tech or has it become obsolete? Have you gotten accustomed to it and it has never crossed your mind? Is it helpful to you or is it just something new that you have to learn all the time that gets annoying? How do you feel about how far technology has come over the generations? Where do you see humans and our interactions with technology in the future?

Watch the video below from Adam Ruins Everything and you will have a better understanding of my concern for privacy.

Adam Conover from Adam Ruins Everything explains how sites like Facebook and Google take their users’ information and sell it to advertisers.

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think!

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