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By: Rob Hardy
With society having been in the digital age for about two decades now, we are not unschooled in the many problems that technology can bring, along with its purported conveniences. But with the explosive outreach of global communication and new smartphone apps every day, old problems are multiplying and morphing, while new ones are also rearing their ugly heads.
Viruses, Malware and Spyware are expanding their reach
It might seem all dandy that we have a plethora of tech options these days but the more avenues for digital plug-ins, the more opportunities for malicious programs to reach us. And with the number of devices most people have today, these problems now also easily spread to all of them, forcing us to debug not just our computers but phones and tablets as well.
Everything is becoming “linked in”
It feels convenient to have your Facebook linked to your email linked to your phone linked to everything else. But when our goals are to diligently divide our casual selves from a more cultivated professional image, sharing anything can cross paths and wind up on the wrong platform, clashing disastrously.
More automation means more to manage
Things going online have become a no-brainer that has made life convenient — until everything else did as well. Accessing your bank account, messages and grad school application on-the-go is a breeze, but multiply these online accounts by ten and suddenly having dozens of passwords, secret questions and website policies to keep up with is anything but effortless.
Even toasters are about to go digital
It's being sold as wonderful that we can now run our heating and home-security systems by using a smartphone. As the presence of these devices in our homes becomes normalizes, we are not paying enough attention to the security and privacy issues that arise. And fixing them will be hopelessly more elusive when they break down, as their very functionality depends on their electronic rather than mechanical components.
Meeting people often happens online
Gone are the days when we always met people face to face. Whether we are looking for employees or dating partners, we now demand to screen profiles so that abstract judgments can be made on whether to bother meeting for real. In this way, the days of scary science fiction have arrived. Don't like that “creepy” person on the bus? Just pretend that you need to text. It's a neat way to avoid unwanted interactions until you find yourself on the receiving end.
Advanced technology is disposable
It's ironic that with all the technological advances, things last for a much shorter time. And when even “advanced warranties” lapse after a few short years, it's clear the company is telling you that whatever you are buying will break very quickly. Television sets used to last for 30 years — I still have one that works great. The future, however, is a landfill overflowing with broken electronics we have to perpetually replace, if we can even afford to do so.