It’s not easy predicting the future of technology. In the fifties it seemed a pretty much foregone conclusion that by 2015 we would all be commuting to the moon in our flying cars. Yet here we are, still making a living on earth and still driving around on four wheels.
Today, predicting the direction in which technology is heading is a lot easier than it was 65 years ago. Unfortunately, these advancements don’t always have the potential to benefit mankind, sometimes the opposite is true. Is our way of life, or indeed all of humanity, at risk from these dangers? Or are these predictions just as outlandish as those made in 1950?
There are plenty of people who would argue that this isn’t a problem posed by future technology, but one which is already here. After the recent revelations that Samsung’s range of new smart TVs may be recording users private conversations and sharing the details with third parties, the fear that our home appliances may be spying on us is becoming less sci-fi paranoia and more a real concern.
So where will this end? Will the rush to embrace the digital era mean us waving goodbye to our privacy forever? The worry is that a day may come where every single aspect of our lives is monitored and recorded by governments who want to know what we’re up to, conglomerates investigating our spending habits, or even banks making sure we aren’t living above our means.
The often repeated line from those wishing to take our privacy away from us is that it is for our own protection. That if we’re so concerned about our privacy, then we must have something to hide; so stop closing the bathroom door when you go to the toilet, it makes you look suspicious.
Those of a certain age may remember a time when standard working hours consisted of Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. When you got home, work was mostly forgot about until the next day or after the weekend; it’s now pretty rare to find any occupation where this is still the case. As society as a whole becomes even more connected, we can expect work to intrude ever more into our home and family lives.
How would this be a danger? For a start there’s the possibility of companies ruling every aspect of an employees life, knowing where they are and what they’re doing at any given time. There’s also the potential workaholic lifestyle stifling human creativity. Even today most Americans spend an extra day a week working after hours, this is only like to increase in the future, leading to a multitude of health (death from overworking isn’t uncommon) and social problems.