The following article by Michael Webber, IWP alumnus, and Jason Williams, was published by Eurasia Review.
Technology has become ubiquitous in society and everyday lives creating conveniences and efficiencies that could have never been imagined thirty years ago. How people communicate, shop, work, and live in their homes has become defined by technology. The evolution of sensors is revolutionizing how energy is used, gives homeowners the ability to monitor the physical security of their homes from anywhere, and is changing how information is shared and privacy is viewed. Everyday creative new ways to utilize technology are being tested. The positive effects of technology on individual’s lives and society seem at first look to outweigh any negative effects.
Yet for all the benefits of technology, as the world barrels headlong into the era of technological change, there is little discussion of the negative effects that technology can have on society or the potential danger to individual’s privacy and civil liberties. How do we protect our identities, secure intellectual property, balance privacy, and safeguard critical infrastructure in a world where the trend is to connect and share everything online? These issues need to be considered carefully. Once a particular technology becomes widely commercially available at an affordable price, the economic considerations must also be weighed against the convenience and efficiency the technology provides, as well as privacy and protection of proprietary information from theft among other potential effects on society. Technology has created conditions for human progress beyond imagination. However, negative trends that have become prevalent must also be considered which could cause harm to individuals and society.