The Dangers of Technology


The Dangers of Technology

There is a new book out called The Long Tail: How the New Web is Killing the Entrepreneur and Hiring the Best Minds (and Why it Should Be). This book is a little different from what most would expect, in that it looks not only at current trends and usage of technology, but also at the history of how people use technology, and the dangers that come with it. Authors Brad Callen and Mike Koenigs take a closer look at what dangers we face when we use technology to our own detriment, rather than for the benefit that it affords us. There is plenty of techno-panic currently, but The Long Tail delves into the real issues, and the potential problems that lie beneath the scare-value. As a result, it’s a must-read for anyone who’s concerned about the future of the Internet, its place in the wider global context, and the eventual collapse of human thinking.

Technologys Dangers


First, The Long Tail conceives of the Internet as an emergent cultural phenomena. The book describes how people from all walks of life, of all cultures and countries are using the Internet, and, as a result, we have entered into a new era. Just as the evolution of language transformed the Western world, so too has the use of technology impacted the entire globe, and is still changing the way we live day by day. Just consider how the explosion of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn have altered business and personal networking. The book examines how these changes came about, why they are changing the face of business and personal communications, and what this means for the future.


As the book discusses, there is a darker side to the potential of this emergent technological platform, one that could potentially destroy our social fabric. As computers and other high tech gadgets become more readily available to the general public, those with powerful, intuitive minds could abuse their power by exploiting social networks to gain wealth, fame, and influence. Just consider what the recent Sony scandal is telling us about how people can use their power to hurt others, when there are no consequences for such behavior.


In light of this situation, it is important to remember that everyone has a right to speak freely, express themselves and engage in the political process. Still, there are certain boundaries that cannot be crossed when it comes to privacy, particularly if the information is not coming from a trusted source. This is where the danger comes in, when the lines between private and public spaces start to blur. The most famous case involves journalists digging up dirt on celebrities that they are not legally permitted to have given the information to the public.


While we might think of the Internet as safe from these potential dangers, there are some areas of the internet that carry their own unique dangers. For example, there is always the possibility of viruses being spread through email attachments. When using cell phones, kids are even more susceptible to predators. The one area in which there seems to be little danger is search engine optimization (SEO). This is a process that helps search engines “crawl” the web, looking for certain keywords and indexing them, so that when someone types those words into the search bar, their site can show up.


Children are extremely vulnerable to this process, because they have a natural desire to click on links. This means that, while adults may be able to resist the urge to click on a strange link, children will often do so. Even though they might not think it to be dangerous, the fact is that they are exposing themselves to potentially harmful software. Many of these unscrupulous websites use computers to login to the site, which leaves all of the children at risk.


Of course, another of technology’s dangers is from viruses and other malware. This is one that is likely to remain on the horizon for a long time, given the pace of technology. As more information is stored online, the risks become greater. Those who surf the internet may not realize that their security is being compromised. Even those who use “chat” programs may not be aware that they are putting their computer at risk by divulging too much personal information. The only way to be truly safe is to use strong passwords and be aware of phishing scams.


Technology’s dangers are real, and they will continue to pose a threat to children for many years to come. It is up to parents and teachers to work together to make sure that children are protected. Educators and parents should consider adding a program to their computer systems that allows children to chat in safety, and to work with kids to avoid exposure to internet predators.

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