Monday, February 12, 2007

Technological Advancements: Should All Technology Be Trusted?

Although we are a highly innovative society and strive to find ways in which to make everything easier, there are certain limits to how far we “should” exploit today’s technology. In a recent
Press release from the Max Planck Institute (8 Feb), researchers have discovered a way to determine people’s intentions from patterns of brain activity. Although it seems like a great tool there are certain concerns that should be taken into consideration before putting to use such highly advanced and technical tool. Another highly sophisticated device that people of all ages have become very familiar with is the Internet. Yet, although its purpose is to serve as a life facilitator, predators have, in some cases, turned it into a weapon. Thus, making the cyber realm a place to enter with caution. This may account for Internet anxiety disorder, an illness that has recently manifested itself on some part of the population. The following are my comments on blogs I found pertaining to both these issues.

1st Comment: Revealing Secret Intentions of the Brain
Being able to tap into someone’s mind is an incredible scientific breakthrough. Technology has really come far. However, to say that hidden intentions can be read with looking at patterns of brain activity raises red flags in a skeptics mind. If, like you mention, in the future this tool may be used in criminal interrogations, how sure can we be that this technology will not yield the same results the lie detector test did? A human mind is very complicated and to think that a machine could tell you what a person is going to do before he or she does it is very difficult to determine. From personal experience I can say that my intentions are many, however my actions are often times completely different than what my initial intentions were. This poses the question of accuracy and reliability. The lie detector test is currently not admissible in many court rooms due to the great percentage of false positives it yields, it seems that technology of this capacity would produce the same results. And the last thing we need is more innocent people in jail.

2nd Comment: What Is Internet Anxiety?
When used wisely and carefully the Internet is great tool and resource. It almost seems like life before the Internet should be defined as a prehistoric age, a time where “doing research” probably meant spending days in a row looking through book stacks at library basements. Mastery of the Internet can definitely be helpful in facilitating less stressful, more convenient, do it all from your own home lives, but of course, there is a dark side. Perhaps this Internet anxiety people demonstrate is rooted from the horrible news reports we so often hear about internet predators. The horror stories so common to the public about scams and deadly encounters with strangers (through chatting devices like the one in the picture to the right) can bring some to fear and become anxious when using the Internet. However, Internet anxiety should not be labeled a “disorder”. I think its more reasonable to inform people on how to take necessary precautions when using this resource than to solve the problem by classifying it a disorder. We have plenty of serious illnesses to worry about, Internet anxiety disorder seems like something that can very easily be treated.