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(File pix) Evolution of technology will continue, it’s up to us to manage and use it wisely. Pix by Mohd Rafi Mamat

TECHNOLOGY has obviously brought endless benefits to mankind. It has advanced with years and has changed the way we live, work and play. It makes life better, allows us to work more efficiently, and add more fun and colour to our leisure pursuits.

When the Internet became mainstream, it was hailed as one of the best technological advancements with its ability to break down geographical barriers, and more importantly bring change. Its derivatives such as social media and Internet of Things (IoT) are further testimony of technology’s positive impact on our lives.

But, over time, with more innovations and advancements, we are also beginning to see the dark side of technology. In fact, we have already been given previews of what technology catastrophic consequences could be in the future through post-apocalyptic and dystopian science fiction movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Terminator, and more.

We all like to believe that technology was created with virtuous intentions. but not all are what it seems. Its virtuousness lies in the fact that not everyone who uses technology, uses it for the right reasons. The fact that one can find anything and everything on the Internet can make it a double-edged sword.

It makes us more knowledgeable about everything and yet knowing too much may not be a good thing for some people. Anyone, anywhere can now just go online to search for information. While it’s at our convenience now, it does cut off our social interactions, since we do not have to physically connect with others to do research.

Besides the lack of social interactions, other Internet abuse include cyber-bullying, malware, spam advertising, identity theft, hacking, bootlegging and more. The list is added every year when people with bad intentions become more creative with the Internet.

The technology itself is harmless since it only carries out what it is programmed to do. However, it offers a big black hole for people to direct its possibilities to negative uses.

The world had only just recovered from the WannaCry ransomeware attack in May this year, only to be hit by another one named Bad Rabbit that spread to a few European countries in July. Since it was relatively on a smaller scale, it didn’t get much attention until it hit a Ukrainian international airport and three Russian media outlets in October. Bad Rabbit literally caused all the airport information systems to stop functioning, causing major chaos for travelers.

These crimes that leverage on technology increase each year, and pose a big challenge for enforcement agencies to nab the culprits who always seem to be one step ahead. We certainly didn’t see all these coming when the Internet came into the picture. In fact, many had wished the technology had come one or two decades earlier, for all the conveniences it brings.

And, only recently, the country experienced one of the largest data breaches when approximately 46.2 million mobile phone numbers with local telecommunications and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) were said to be compromised. These are personal data that can be misused to initiate multiple attacks to users, and can cause very real consequences to privacy such as identity theft.

We can go on with a long list of the negative effects of technology. But, as it has been reiterated, technology isn’t the culprit. Evolution and innovation of technology will continue. It’s up to use to manage and us technology wisely and direct it to a good and positive dire action. The solution is quite obvious as every one of us owns the responsibility to choose how to put technology to good use.

The path we choose determines the good, bad and ugly of technology. “Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master”— Norwegian historian and political scientist, Christian Lous Lange.

Ahmad Kushairi is editor of BOTs, the weekly tech section in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his problem-solving skills with writing about how tech has helped to transform the world for the better.

kushairi@mediaprima.com.my