The Security for All “Twelve Days of Christmas” series continues.
On the fifth day of Christmas…
Five scary technologies
Technology makes our lives better. You’re enjoying your new high-definition television, and have your work and personal appointments organized on your computer. You pay your bills electronically and save time and money. That’s fine and dandy, until someone takes out the electronic banking system and the machines take over the planet.
Sounds crazy? Perhaps. None of the technologies we included in our top 5 are guaranteed to rain death and destruction on our little planet. Some of them are a little weird, others are frustrating and a few have the potential to cause real harm.
5. Hearing Voices at the Store
This may not sound so scary, and once you know what’s going on, it isn’t. But it might be a little unsettling to be walking in a store and hearing voices asking you to buy things. If you look around, you won’t see anyone speaking, and none of the other shoppers will seem alarmed — no one else can hear it but you.
4. Law Enforcement Takes Your Laptop
If you travel with your laptop or BlackBerry, listen up. According to the 9th Circuit Court, it is perfectly legal for Federal Customs and Border Patrol agents to seize your technological devices when you enter the United States. You might not have anything illegal on your computer’s hard drive, but even if you’re just carrying your personal computer and you have all your kids’ vacation pictures on there, there’s no telling when — or if — you’ll get your machine back.
Imagine a war fought completely by computer. No, we’re not talking about a scene out of the movie WarGames, we’re talking an all-out attack on a nation’s electronic infrastructure. What’s that, you may ask? Those are the systems that control emergency response services, banks and other electronic commerce, the systems that run the electrical grid, water and fuel pipeline controls, communications networks, and oh, yeah: defense weaponry. A well-executed attack could cause serious disruption and open the populace up to physical threats.
2. The Technological Singularity
Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way since computers first made the scene. Yet we’re not at the edge of a dystopian society in which the machines run amok and humankind fights for its survival. At least, not yet.
1. The Large Hadron Collider
The Large Hadron Collider is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator ever built. It’s designed to smash tiny particles into tinier ones to find out the stuff from which the universe is made. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that built the collider, are optimistic that their experiments will help them find the elusive Higgs boson particle or evidence that string theory exists.
But somehow we’re still here and well. The economy notwithstanding.