If we accept that the US government do not do enough to change their laws to combat social conduct, then it is important to understand a corporeal example of this. Perhaps one of the most relevant is the rise of cyber bullying, which sees young and vulnerable individuals threatened and abused by anonymous offenders. It has come to prominence in the wake of increased technological advancement and the unlimited access that individuals have to it, and has afforded bullies the opportunity to operate remotely and beneath the guise of anonymity.
A recent case in North Andover has exemplified this perfectly. A young girl who had both suffered from and beaten cancer before the age of 11, she began to receive texts and emails which threatened both her mental and physical well being. After missing a period of school and finding herself cowed by fear, she eventually discussed the situation with her parents and dismissed their fears that she was once more unwell. After reporting the details to the police, an investigation revealed that the perpetrator was one of the victims closest friends, who had used technology to disguise her contact details to harass and intimidate her.
A New Threat to Personal Security
This is a prime example of a relatively new but significant threat to individual safety and well being, and one that has no accepted precedent as a consequence. In this particular case, the perpetrator received a course of counselling and a set amount of community service, although this has been dismissed by the parents of the victim as inadequate and derisory. Regardless, a clear and stringent consequence for those found guilty of cyber bullying must be implemented, both to protect potential victims and act as a deterrent to those who look to perpetrate it.
Regardless of its original purpose or aspirations, there is no doubt that social media has changed the landscape of social and political activism. As its popularity has grown amongst both renowned and everyday users, so too it has developed a wider range of tools to assist professional and organized applications rather than the mere basics of social interaction. This evolution has seen social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter become perfectly placed for those without authority to voice their opinions and plan group collaborations and organized protests.
From Humble Origins
Undoubtedly, Facebook has set the prevailing trends in social media, and is the model from which other similar outlets take their leave. From its clear and humble origins as a social mediator and connector of faded friendships, it has mastered the tools of remote interaction before stepping authoritatively into the interwoven worlds of business and politics. Considering that it has only existed for over 5 years, this evolution of its services has been both swift and exceptionally well directed.
Twitter has adopted a similar patter on growth, and has broadened its appeal both in terms of available services and its user demographics. While initially considered something as a novelty consideration endorsed chiefly by celebrities and renowned entities, it has become a viable medium for the whole of society to share their thoughts, activities and concepts of enterprise. Twitter, like Facebook, has taken great strides to lend itself to the needs of corporate and political groups, and now forms the basis of many successful business marketing and government campaigns.
To some, technological progression is integral to the development of society and the continued aspiration to improve our general standard of living. In conjunction with scientific evolution, advanced technology and its applications can create opportunities for great enhancement with regards to everyday existence, gradually helping to prolong life and improve its overall quality. Opinion varies still further with regards to how far technology may evolve in the future, especially as its pace of progress continues to intensify through the advancement of time.
However, there are others who would cite caution with regards to technological progress, especially due to our overwhelming reliance upon it and its increasing prominence in our everyday lives. Not only this, but there are additional concerns regarding each individual’s safety and vulnerability to the intricacies of online media, as every advancement in software and digital applications creates additional threats of identity theft. Technology has played a significant part in creating a whole new methodology of fraudulent theft and crime, offering perpetrators anonymity as they commit their offences.
A New Threat to Online Security
This week, the news broke that Google were finalizing an application that would allow face recognition from a simple photograph, and offer the facility for users to access the captured individuals personal information. The application is supposedly at an advanced and well developed stage, although a release date has not been announced as yet by the organization. While there are some existing development issues to resolve, there are further delays concerning the nature of how the application will work without compromising users safety or security.
As we currently live in an age of unchecked technological advancement, it is hard for us to comprehend the speed at which particular developments occur. While we appreciate the changes that are influential in our own daily existences, the larger picture remains somewhat vague and distorted, and it is only if you analyze them from afar that you realize the vast nature of metamorphosis. Then, you see a subtle but significant increase in the speed of change over a consistent period of time, with the result that we may soon entering an epoch of time where nature is overwhelmed by technology.
This may seem farfetched, but it is a theory which is well considered in academic circles. Professor Ray Kurzweil has made this study his life’s work, and he believes that machines and computers will soon be completely superior to human entities, leading into the emergence of artificial intelligence and the coalition of mankind and technology within a single being. Given the already significant and appreciable speed at which technology continues to advance, it is argued that by as early as 2050, human beings may be able to shape shift, control their nutrition and life free from disease for as long as they desire.
The Concept of Singularity and Rapid Technological Growth
The reason put forward for this is referred to as Singularity, which describes a single moment of time whereby machines advance beyond their human creators and into the ascendancy. This is based on a theory of accelerating returns, which states that technology has been developing at a steadily increasing rate since the beginnings of time, and is set to explode out of all accepted proportion in the coming years. This will see technological advances spiral beyond any semblance of human control, and eradicate the steady and linear lines of progression expected by social analysts and economists.