From the late 19th century invention of the lightbulb to the more recent creation of self balancing “hover board” scooters, we have made great strides in technology. It helps to make our lives more efficient at work, more comfortable at home, and more fun at play. The problem lies when people use technology for malicious intent.
If you were a fan of Dick Tracy, The Jetsons, Star Trek (TV series), Star Wars (episodes IV, V, & VI), or Back to the Future, you will know that what has been predicted on the small and large screens decades ago are now common household items. Smart watches, home automation, Bluetooth headsets, video conferencing, and voice command are just a few examples of how life is good with technology.
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~ Albert Einstein
But malware and identity theft makes no fans of its victims. No one wants to see exorbitant credit card charges mysteriously appear on their account after they’ve ordered an item online. And something as simple as *67 to block the caller’s ID gives bullies the ability to threaten someone anonymously on the phone. These are examples of how people can turn technology into a nightmare.
Princeton Public Schools have been targeted with senseless swatting over the past two years. This has made our students a bit anxious, and they have missed out on valuable instruction time. These panic-ridden interruptions could’ve been avoided if the calls could’ve been traced. The calls are believed to have come from the electronic gaming community, whose participants are competing in a contest to score the highest points for causing the most chaos. They have created a real-life video game at our expense. This has occurred across the nation at various institutions, including hospitals. They were apparently made through a VoIP account, i.e. Skype. This is how technology rears its ugly head.
Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
George Orwell’s dystopian science-fiction novel 1984 claimed that “Big Brother” was watching its civilians. In the 21st century, the National Security Agency (NSA) goes beyond domestic information gathering (spying), monitoring the world, but that’s not where it ends. Today, hackers spy on us through our webcams, or use software (spyware) to capture sensitive information from your computers. Drones fly overhead recording everything in their paths, including your personal moments. Random people on the street can record a video of you and post it on YouTube, Instagram, or SnapChat. Friends take photos of you at a party after a couple of drinks, post them on Facebook and tag you without permission. That means even if they don’t know your friends, your friends will have the opportunity to see that photo. These are not the best reasons for using technology.
Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world. ~ Jimmy Carter
Japan has the world’s third largest economy, and is known for their technology. However, those outside of the country don’t realize that they are reluctant to use information technology, which includes computers and the internet. The fear is using technology in their homes or offices will bring on the same problems to their country that the rest of the world is experiencing. Many Japanese small businesses are sending hand-written faxes, and don’t use Skype in their offices. They also don’t use cloud storage for sharing documents. Email and internal communication is text-only at some companies, where they are allowed a small amount of server space. They go to great lengths to avoid having their computers hacked.
Princeton is filled with academics and brilliant young minds who are no strangers to technology. Students must take the PARCC exam, which requires them to use a computer to input all answers, so even elementary school kids must be a computer savvy. Princeton Public Schools help prepare students pursuing STEM careers. John Witherspoon Middle School recently opened its media center with an auxiliary computer lab, plus they offer exploratory subjects, i.e. Tech Prep, Computer Lab, STEM Robotics, and Programming in 3D. Princeton High School offers high level courses, such as Multi-Variable Calculus and Physics C to its advanced students who are interested in pursuing STEM majors at college. After they have exhausted the PHS curriculum, with approval, they can take courses at Princeton University (for high school credit). We need these brilliant young minds to fill the abundant STEM jobs available in the U.S. to further advance technology in all the right ways.
Tech is amazing until someone crosses over to the dark side. Princetonians shouldn’t live in fear of it, as are some Japanese citizens, because most technology is good. Let’s just hope that we can put swatting behind us, and look forward to the near further of using some remarkable tech items shown on large and small screens less than a decade ago that will make our lives more efficient, comfortable, and fun.