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Technology: Cure or Curse

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Cyberspace is the new townsquare.  Does the change from a physical space to a digital space spell doom and destruction or growth and prosperity.

    “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” - Bill Gates. This village connects everybody together. In the past, people would say, “Hey, want to catch up at so-and-so’s house or a restaurant?”, however, now someone might say, “Hey, want to catch up later on Destiny or Call of Duty?”  


This allows people to communicate with others they normally might not be able to interact with, it also allows people to join together and make new friends. Ergo, this technology simulates a town square. However, human error and evil are a big factor in deciding whether technology is used for good or bad. 


Nevertheless, humans are using technology for good, such as building spinal implants and self-driving cars. If this trend continues, who knows what can be accomplished. There will be a need to develop security to protect this cyber community from hackers and other forms of terrorism. Humans can benefit from advanced technology and its effects. 


The internet is arguably the most important technology that exists in this current era. Technology is leading human society on a positive path; all technology being invented from here-on-out will be built around the internet, including driverless cars, and spinal implants to better people’s lives.


    Consider this, the internet is an extremely fast wireless connection between one device and another device, such as wireless cars. Many car developers are designing cars that wirelessly connect with other cars, pedestrians’ phones, and cyclists’ bikes. For example at CES15, “The Ericsson booth had a number of examples of novel connected devices. The company partnered with POC, a Swedish sports gear manufacturer, to create a connected bicycle helmet. Connected cars can sense the bike and automatically hit the brakes to avoid a collision.”(Roger Cheng). 


The cars would even be able to limit the chance of a collision with another car. The cars might even be able to pull over when an emergency vehicle is approaching. Google's driverless cars wouldn’t be able to communicate and share data with each other (They have collected over 40 years of driving experience so far) without the internet. The internet not only could make cars safer but for example, it could also allow a brain surgeon in America to perform surgery on a patient in France via robot arms and live video feed. 


Already the internet allows people to communicate with others around the world, work on group projects from different computers, listen to music, play games, send notifications about special events, find and use learning materials, research topics, connects wireless cars to avoid accidents, and has many many many more uses.


Another field that has benefited from high-tech applications is the medical field. Research at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland has shown positive results with e-Dura (Electronic Dura mater). For example, Jake was riding his bicycle and he gets hit by a car. He is thrown into the air. Jake lands on a bench and severely injures his back. He is now paralyzed from his waist down for the rest of his life. One day he is waiting at his home for his favourite TV show to come on when he sees a news-report about e-Dura. He researches e-Dura on the internet, calls the company and asks if he can be a test subject in a trial. He is flown to Switzerland and they perform the operation of placing the e-Dura on his spine. 


The test is a success and now Jake can walk again. e-Dura “is designed to be implanted directly into the brain or spinal cord, underneath the Dura mater, the membrane that encloses the brain and spinal cord. Its mechanical properties -- flexible and stretchy -- are almost identical to those of the living tissue enclosing it, vastly reducing the risk of inflammation, friction and abrasion.”(Stéphanie Lacour) The implant can essentially help people walk again. "This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury."(Michelle Starr). Testing on paralyzed mice has shown that the device works, human trials are scheduled to start as early as June this year. When this technology is finally released it will definitely benefit many paralyzed people just like Jake.


While there are many positives to technology, the public tends to focus on the negatives; many people think that the internet, self-driving cars, and high-tech implants are going to create security hazards or terrorists like Terminators and other human killing robots. Critics argue that the Google cars will be more aggressive to other drivers, which may cause accidents. Other might say that the spinal implants could kill someone because this technology is new. And still more may say the internet makes identity theft easier. 


However, each of these technologies can be controlled and monitored, unlike human behaviour. “In the US, 30,000 people die from automobile accidents every year. Traffic crashes are the primary cause of death worldwide for people aged 15-24, and during a crash, 40% of drivers never even hit the brakes.” (Matthew Inman). 


With Google’s cars, they drive like “a nervous student driver”, this means they drive slower and are more cautious and aware of their surroundings. The cars with the aggressive driving would not be much different from human drivers on the roads today, the implants have been tested many times and will be tested many more times before they are put on the market, and identity theft has always existed. However, with the internet now there are programs that alert the person if they find something fishy happening with their credit cards. With all of these benefits outweighing the negatives, technology obviously will improve society rather than destroy it.


In the end, with the benefits that technology has provided, it clearly shows the good that can ultimately come from it. “The village of the internet” has become a reality with advancements in technology. These technologies not only help people stay safe, they can assist others to rehabilitate and communicate. Humanity walks on the positive path to more a connected utopia. Cyberspace HAS become the town square of the village known as the internet. As time goes on…. hopefully this village stays safe from hackers and other forms of terrorists.



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