Thanks to its obvious benefits, technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in the last few decades. People are going through a global digital transformation and embracing all the good this digitization has to offer. But the shiny discoveries can often overshadow the looming threats.
In this blog, I discuss 3 such technological risks the world faces today. When used with malicious intent, it can impact society, the economy, and geopolitical relations. As we are almost dependent on these technologies, terminating these services altogether is not an option. So, we must be aware of the threats to prepare ourselves against them.
1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is the face of emerging technologies in terms of impact, be it for its unmatched contribution toward social and economic growth or its capacity to cause irreversible damage to society. Once a highly complex computer science field beyond the grasp of the mainstream population is now a part of our regular lives. But its massive reach and no ethical boundary or legal repercussions mean it can affect billions of lives, intentionally or unintentionally.
It utilizes the vast pool of online data to rapidly increase its efficiency and scale, which poses a significant threat to data security. No accountability in data usage can also cause algorithmic discrimination and biases. It can even impersonate anyone by highly intuitive forgery of photos, videos, and audio, also known as deepfakes.
2. Cloud computing
The entire world is connected today. News, knowledge, entertainment, and a large part of ourselves are available with just a click. And this big world of the web is built by a common thread — cloud computing. Though not a newbie in the digital world, cloud computing’s popularity has expanded significantly post the spread of COVID-19. Everyone now relies on this technology — from giant corporations to home-based enterprises. Lucrative pricing and convenient usage make it absolutely indispensable.
As more and more software and services store their data in the cloud, the possibility of digital theft rises. Apart from risking the security and privacy of your data, it can also cause data leakage and loss. The cost and hassle of switching service providers also result in the issue of vendor lock-in when using clouds.
3. Automation and robotics
Automation and robotics are definitely future-proof and here to stay. Their clever usage of information technology promises more efficiency, speed, and performance than manually completed tasks. From the industrial process and space research to military applications, everyone is keen on taking advantage of the strength of automation and robotics, which also increases their potential to cause damage on a global scale.
While the margin of error significantly reduces by handing over the responsibility to automated processes, it also makes it easier to manipulate the process by hijacking the system with few simple credentials. Computerized systems are usually connected to a network, leaving connected systems of the same network vulnerable. Not having any accountability also means there is no easy way to prevent such attacks.
These issues are only the tip of the iceberg. We must discuss these threats among ourselves, not to make individuals panic but to alert them. As with every technological advancement, the intention is a critical factor in how it can be used. Nuclear fission can be used for producing nuclear energy, or it can lead to the destruction of civilizations based on the user’s intention. Emerging technologies follow a similar path.
Despite these alarming risks, the positive aspects of technology outweigh the negatives. So, while being cautious, we must utilize its benefits to enhance the quality of our lives in every way possible.
Which one is the greatest threat according to you? To discover more such new content, listen to my podcast Figuring Out.