Yesterday we told you your online activities have likely been monitored and your information already gleaned. But with some simple checks and measures in place you can reduce your risk.
Aside from The Dark Web, the shadowy underworld of online activity, there are some other aspects of technology that you need to concern yourself with.
Take for instance our ever increasing knowledge of the human genome and the current work to map the neurones and connections of the brain. This will help take the world forward in neuroscience and our understanding of human biology. It will also help us develop computer and artificial intelligence systems to improve the efficiencies of the world.
Don’t Think About It, It Might Land You in the Slammer
But of course there is a dark side to all this. What if particular brain activity and genes that you had meant that were potentially a psychopath, or a career criminal?
Think about it. What if because of your DNA, and your brainwaves, scientists could predict that you were more likely to commit crime in your life?
What if they had the power to lock you up…even before you’d actually committed a crime? And who’s to say you would ever commit a crime? Because science also says environmental factors play a significant role in criminal activity.
We all know governments love to find a way to control citizens and they always find a way to take an authoritarian approach to crime. With the use of powerful supercomputers, algorithms, molecular and neuroscience maybe the next step in fighting crime is to predict it. It’s already happening.
Scientists in New Mexico are already using brain scans to predict criminal behaviour,
‘The scientists studied the brains of 3,000 convicted criminals using magnetic resonance imaging. They specifically studied the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC), a brain region associated with error processing. What they found is that inmates with low ACC activity were twice as likely to commit crimes within four years of being released as those with high ACC activity.‘
And if the study of the brain goes a way to predicting criminal behaviour, what if even before a child is born genetics will be able to determine criminal traits?
With readily available technology you could manipulate the unborn child’s genes to silence the unwanted genes, breeding crime out of future generations.
Not only does that kind of genetic manipulation throw up a whole range of ethical issues, but it also goes a long way towards generations of genetically modified children. Is that wrong? Or is that the inevitable way of the future?
That’s a whole different discussion which we won’t delve into now. But one thing’s for sure, molecular technology will have a big impact on the lives of generations now and generations that aren’t even born yet.
Iraq, Iran…What About Albert Park?
Finally one of the more underground elements of the dark side of technology is accessibility of illegal things to everyone.
With the internet effectively connecting everyone it means more and more people have the resources available to take part in illegal activity.
Put it this way. Right now without too much stress we could anonymously get online, find our way through to a black market website and purchase guns, high powered lasers or illegal substances. It’s as easy as shopping on Catch of The Day or eBay.
And if you’re a smart kid, with an interest in science, there’s opportunity (with the wrong influences) to start down a path that leads to some pretty terrifying stuff. Michio Kaku, a famous Theoretical Physicist, describes the potential dark side technology has for the generations to come,
‘You can create a laser beam, a laser beam with exactly the energy of the difference between these two [Uranium, U235 and U238] so that you can activate one but not the other. In other words laser beams can be used to zap these atoms and separate out U235 from U238. Well this means in some sense somebody in their basement at some point in the future might be able to build a separation device to create U235. That’s a nightmare we don’t have yet, but it’s a nightmare we will have in the coming years as the price of laser enrichment of uranium goes down.‘
What Kaku is describing is the potential for someone with access to the right tools in the near future to create enriched uranium. In other words weapons grade uranium. Forget Iraq and Iran, it might mean weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) next door!
The building works across from our office looks to have a suspiciously fortified basement being constructed…maybe it’ll be a secret science lab? A nuclear test facility? It’s unlikely, but it’s possible in the near future. Who really knows what goes on in the neighbour’s basement science lab?
It’s a pretty extreme example of the kind of dark activity technology provides access to. But you need to understand that it’s something that will always lurk around the corner in the shadows. The dark side of technology is always going to be complimentary to the positive advances it brings.
The best way to combat the dark side of technology is to understand it and don’t get paranoid about it. By getting a grasp of the things that are possible, and the likelihood of things actually occurring, you will have a better understanding of how to deal with it.
Yes you will likely be hit with a virus of malware, yes your information at some point will likely be used without permission and yes your neighbour will likely make some homemade rockets (WMD’s are unlikely). But don’t get paranoid about it. There are more positives to take out of technology than bad points.
Just be smart. Have secure passwords, don’t divulge with information so freely, be aware of your surroundings and take care online just like you would if you were walking the streets at night on your own.
When you see the warning signs, when you notice something is awry in your bank account, when you read that Nigerian email, or notice your son is spending way too much time in the basement with his lasers, you’ll be able to take action.
As we all have a greater understanding of technology, the good and the bad, we will be able to help shape the future to ensure good technology always outstrips the dark side.
Technology Analyst, Revolutionary Tech Investor
From the Archives…
Why Invest ‘Hard’ When You Can Invest ‘Easy’?
19-07-2013 – Kris Sayce
Read This Before You Buy Another Stock or Bond…
18-07-2013 – Murray Dawes
Could Uranium be the Best Investment in 2013?
17-07-2013 – Dr Alex Cowie
Asteroid Mining and the Commercialisation of Space
16-07-2013 – Sam Volkering
Why the Australian Share Market is Heading Even Higher
15-07-2013 – Kris Sayce