How Will the Internet Influence Our Future? Theories on Society, Security, and

We aren’t so far removed from a world full of smart homes with voice-controlled home appliances as we might think. We live in a world where, already, the adoption of new technology happens in a whirlwind-where gratification derived from one technological is short-lived. We are constantly demanding new levels of convenience. Today’s generation is becoming increasingly obsessed with the notion of “do-it-for-me.” People line up at stores hours before the doors open to buy the latest smartphones on release dates, just to be the considered a part of the select few early adopters-to be the first to own-trying to proclaim themselves as trendsetters. Technology sets the stage for what is considered cool and hip. Our infatuation for what’s next is simply unquenchable-it fuels the ever-accelerating drive of industrial innovation.

But one thing people always seem to overlook is security. People have been conditioned to believe that new technology means less vulnerabilities, errors, and defects, when in reality, it is the other way around. The media promises that the new and improved solves the issues of the previous version. They tout faster speeds, sleeker looks, and performance enhancements, and while on the surface all this may be true, a lot of these new features have gone untested. For technology to be considered new, something must be added to whatever the previous standard was. Added complexity usually means more imperfections, unexplored weaknesses, and unknown loopholes, and this is what cybercriminals live to find out and exploit. This “gadget rush” of a world we live in is full of people who rush for the glittery commodities, letting their obsession override the necessity of assessing the risks.

The internet has added vast amounts of potential to futuristic technology. Virtually anything can be connected to a network. Imagine being able to log into a home network from your tablet device, and connecting to your refrigerator, for instance, to peek inside and make a list for grocery shopping on the way home from work. Imagine being able to preheat your oven from your phone minutes before you arrive home to expedite dinner preparations. Someday, our own phones could soon be internet providers, remotely controlling everything connected to it within our homes, and people would love that. They would jump at something so innovative, without ever raising an eyebrow about the safety of these new possibilities. Because the products are so new and perform such cool new things that never cease to amaze, we assume they are safe. Again, we believe someone else, and not us, is responsible for our security. Cybercrime is so farfetched to us. If we’re talking about a new car or house, then the concept of crime and safety registers, because these are things we’ve seen people penetrate and steal. But when we’re talking about a computer or a smartphone, crime doesn’t immediately come to mind. The crime of this sphere is of a nature we cannot see or identify with. We don’t immediately think of these things as capable of being hacked and controlled by people other than ourselves. We underestimate the dangers of the internet, because we believe hackers are such minute group of individuals. We think that they belong in some Sci-Fi TV series, and not the real world.

Sometime in the near future, more of the things we rely upon will be connected to the internet, like voice-operated home appliances. And just like our computers, these things will make for more territories that cyber criminals can prowl. The more we coordinate so much of our lives with the digital realm, the more insecurity we invite into them. Imagine having your entire home and its operability completely shut down at the hands of an anonymous hacker-everything from your air conditioner, the faucet, the dishwasher, and even your garage door under the control of someone you don’t know, and to get it back, they command a ransom. Think about how this type of technology redefines what we think of as “home.” If cyber criminals can already remotely control our computers and steal our information, the hackers of tomorrow will be able to penetrate deeper into our homes and infringe upon the boundaries of our privacy even further, creating more financial losses for us. As a generation so obsessed with the acceleration of technology, perhaps we should stop and ask the question, “Will we be able to live without it if something goes horribly wrong?” Will we be able to fall back or revert to a less sophisticated, but safer version of equipment if need be?

New technology is great. Everyone loves to experience a new level of convenience. Tech fans are enthralled by new features and specs that constantly redefine the limits of what our devices are capable of. will continue to be accepted and embedded into our everyday lives, creating new standards of living with each pioneering innovation. But it’s always important for us to remember that when it comes to leveraging technology, there are good guys and bad guys. As one side produces new, smarter inventions for the greater good, the intents of the other half become cleverer as they misappropriate these new devices to uncover more weaknesses to exploit. Be careful when utilizing technology, and be wary of where you place your information. Always register products and download security updates regularly. Never hesitate to pay mind to the security of whatever technical equipment you choose to adopt in the future, because somewhere, someone is certainly going to be looking to steal.