We must be aware of potential negative effects and misuse of technology as we explore new frontiers using the latest technology trends. These are seven of most dangerous trends in technology:
1. Drone Swarms
The United States, China, and Britain are testing the interconnectedness of cooperative drones in military operations. Drone swarms were created from a group of insects. They could be used to disrupt future conflicts by either encroaching on enemy sensors or covering large areas for search-and rescue missions. Swarms differ from drones used by the military to achieve a specific goal. The swarm can organize itself according to the circumstances and interact with one another. Although this technology is still being developed, it is becoming more common for a swarm to be able to organize itself based on its surroundings and interact with each other to achieve a goal. Drone swarms can reduce casualties (at least for the offense) and help achieve a search and rescue objective more efficiently. However, the idea of drones that are equipped with weapons of mass destruction being able “think” for itself is a nightmare. Despite all the potential dangers, it seems certain that swarm military technology is going to be used in future conflicts.
2. Monitoring Smart Home Devices
Smart home devices must be listening to and recording information about you and your daily habits in order to respond to questions and provide useful and relevant answers. You also gave permission for a spy access to your home by adding the Echo to your room to act as an alarm clock and radio, or any other smart device that is connected to the Internet. The cloud stores all information that smart devices gather about you, such as what you’ve watched on Netflix and where you live so Google can help you avoid traffic jams; when you arrive home and what time it is so your smart thermostat can set the right temperature in your home. This information can be misused, though it makes your life easier. Virtual assistants listen for “wake words” before activating, but it is possible that it may think you have said the wake word, and start recording. Your personal data could be abused by any smart device, such as gaming consoles or smart TVs. While there are some defense strategies, such as hiding cameras and turning off devices when they are not needed, or muting microphones, none of these are foolproof.
3. Facial Recognition
Although facial recognition has many useful applications, it can also be used to commit crimes. China is accused of using facial identification technology to monitor and create racial profiles. China’s cameras not only spot jaywalkers but also monitor and control Uighur Muslims living in the country. Russia’s cameras monitor the streets looking for “people of concern” and reports indicate that Israel is tracking Palestinians in the West Bank. Facial recognition can also be used to track people without their knowledge. An algorithm that is trained on a limited dataset will be less accurate and more likely to misidentify people.
4. Artificial Intelligence Cloning
All that is required to create an clone of someone’s voice using artificial intelligence (AI) is a small amount of audio. AI can also create a completely new cloned video of an individual by taking several photos and videos. Artificial intelligence can create a fake YOU. It is easy to do this. Deepfake technology used to be more common in celebrities because they had access to a lot of audio and video of them. The technology has improved to the point where it doesn’t need as much data to make a convincing fake movie. There are also a lot of images and videos from everyday people on the internet and other social media channels that can be used.
5. Ransomware, AI-enabled Blackmailing and Hacking with Bots
High-powered technology can be used to commit criminal, immoral and malicious acts. Artificial intelligence can automate tasks and make them more efficient. The negative effects of tasks such as spearphishing that involve sending out fake emails to trick people to give up their private data could be severe. The software can be used to perform the same task repeatedly once it is finished. AI is able to hack into systems and blackmail people quickly and effectively. While AI plays a major role in combating malware and other threats it is also being used to commit crimes by cybercriminals.
6. Smart Dust
Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), the size of a grain of salt, have sensors, communication mechanisms, autonomous power supplies, and cameras in them. This smart powder, also known as motes, has many positive uses in security, healthcare, and other areas. However, it would be difficult to control if it was used for evil purposes. Although spying could be done on an enemy using smart dust, it would not be possible to invade a private citizen’s privacy.
7. Fake News Bots
GROVER can create fake news articles from a headline. AI systems like GROVER make articles more convincing than human writers. OpenAI, a non-profit company supported by Elon Musk, developed “deepfakes of text” which produces news stories and fictions so well that the organization initially decided to not release the research public to avoid misuse. Fake articles can be promoted and shared as truthful by individuals, businesses and governments.
While there are many positive aspects to technology today, it is also very dangerous if used improperly.