By Robert Fox, VP Emerging Technologies, Liaison Technologies
Or more appropriately named – ‘Technology Mess’.
This installment of my blog is to explore how advances in technology aren’t always what they seem. We as a society still need to be responsible ethically, environmentally, and in general use common sense.
Los Angeles last week announced a new parking meter system that will solve downtown parking issues. At the heart is the ability for people to use a smartphone to see on a map where available spots are. They can also use the smartphone to pay for the spot as well. Problem is – if you are driving around looking for a parking spot, you can be fined, or worse – get into an accident. So did the city create this dilemma as a way of adding more revenue streams? Or were they simply short-sited in how the technology will be used once put into production? Oh, and these meters automatically reset when you drive away from them – I do find that part clever.
Recently, I saw an iPhone app become available which adds a new twist on GPS turn-by-turn navigation. It shows you other drivers on the road who are using the same application and even allows you the ability to message them – while driving – is this a good idea?
In 1962, Silent Spring by American biologist Rachel Carson was published. The book catalogued the environmental impacts of the indiscriminate spraying of DDT in the US and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the environment without fully understanding their effects on ecology or human health. In the great late Carl Sagan’s book, Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science, Sagan reminds us of the social responsibility we have to thoroughly test and understand the ramifications of a technical advancement and also cites the same DDT example.
There are currently huge moral debates surrounding genetic engineering .
Looking at the current social media frenzy, we can see more patterns of concern. In light of rampant personal identity theft and credit card fraud, is it really a good idea to post everything about you openly on the internet? I see it daily – we get very comfortable with the technology. “Hey world – I’m off to Africa for a month, please feel free to come break in and take whatever you want from my house – I won’t be around”. Do you really know who the friends of your friends are on Facebook for example? Or if you really have got those ‘privacy settings’ correct?
Anyhow, the point is, we still need to be responsible and careful, regardless of the technical “breakthrough”.
And by the way, as far as you are concerned, I am never on vacation.