Most of us regard technology as a time- and labor-saving boon and the path to a happier, more convenient and more carefree life. But are there causes for concern? In fact, can technological advances sometimes be downright scary? That depends.
We are all different, and what frightens one person raises nary a hair on the neck of another. We think most fears about technology probably fall into a few broad categories—the threat of identity theft, fears of terrorism, privacy invasions and the loss of our independence. There is another big category that is probably generational. That’s the idea of being overwhelmed and afraid that it’s all just too much to keep up with.
Whatever scares—or doesn’t—scare you about technology, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at a few facts about technology some may find a little creepy. So here’s our selection, just in time for Halloween.
Voices in the grocery aisle. Something called Audio Spotlight from Holosonics is able to concentrate sound in an extremely narrow beam through tiny speakers. Although the sound can’t be heard by the human ear, traveling through the air distorts it and makes it audible. So what does all this mean? According to the advertising industry, this technology offers the ability to target a single individual with a sales message. Maybe that box of cookies really was calling your name!
Machines becoming our masters. Okay, so the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) advancing to the point where it enables machines to take over the world seems really scary. Not to mention highly unlikely. Still, if you want to keep yourself awake at night, ponder this one a bit.
Eyes upon you. Google Glass, the geeky specs from Google with a built-in camera ushers in all kinds of objections and fears about privacy. Then there is tracking technology (not yet a part of Google Glass) that permits the recording of what ads you look at. Imagine what advertisers could do with that.
Silver and Gold. Americans throw away $60 million worth of gold and silver every year as they ditch their old phones. Cell phones contain bits of these precious metals. When we discard them because of cracked screens or water damage, we’re also throwing out millions of dollars worth of gold and silver.
3-D modeling. It’s fun to think that 3-D printing allows you to create a custom Lego piece or even your own jewelry, but did you know you could also create a workable gun with 3-D printing technology? This one goes well beyond creepy into the realm of serious scary. While this remarkable technology could be a boon to manufacturing and medical science, it has frightful implications in the wrong hands.
Driverless cars. Some harried commuters may be willing to say yes to anything that eases the stress of their morning and evening ordeals. But a car that drives itself?
Does the very thought of that make rush hour even scarier? While it may seem unlikely or at least far off in the future, there are robotic cars already on the road in California and Nevada.
Geoengineering. This one is really creepy because it is based on efforts to change the nature of mother nature herself. Although such ideas are well-intentioned strategies to counteract global warming in the face of our sluggish pace toward reducing greenhouse emissions, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Don’t be afraid
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