How To Teach 2019, The Year We Started To See Technology As The Enemy Better Than Anyone Else
Year We Started To See Technology If at some point we saw technology as a symptom of progress, today it is already easier to relate it to the loss of privacy, manipulation and economic failure. The aura of triumphalism that usually surrounds Silicon Valley has broken down in 2019. A few days after At the end of the year, it seems clear that it will not be remembered for successes and surprising innovations in products and services but rather for its failures.
It seems that the world has finally realized that the emperor is naked, that the price for many of the services we use is too high – especially in the free ones – and that we have created with them a Clearly dysfunctional society. Internet promised to free us and make the world a better place. In 2019 it is hard to maintain optimism. It seems he has only done it differently.
One of the most famous cases of misuse of technology in our country has been the case of the official La Liga app, which among other things, served to hear if a bar was playing football, geolocate the local aforementioned and, already posts, use that information provided by users to know if the issuance license is being paid.
You can imagine that this has given a lot to talk, both because everything is clearly indicated in the conditions of use of the app and because they have been fined 250,000 euros from the Spanish Agency for Data Protection for its operation. And although most of the examples of this trend revolve in the US orbit, in Spain we have also had similar cases and that leave us again with the feeling of being too close to the plot of an episode of the Black Mirror series.
The most evident is that of the study of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), which last November analyzed the mobility data of citizens based on mobile phones using data from Movistar, Vodafone and Orange. Although the initial observation period is over, the INE will add new data collected on designated days, such as Christmas, to get an idea of the Spanish mobility patterns.
All these data, says the Institute, will be provided anonymously, without individual identification data and in accordance with the obligations established by the Data Protection Law. The experience of recent years in the world of technology, however, give more than enough reasons to, at least, distrust.
Twitter and Facebook, in a strange exercise of transparency, made public which state actors had used their platforms to send misinformation. Imagine the surprise when it turns out that one of these was the Popular Party, which through false accounts and profiles that were posing as ordinary people tried to extend their political messages in a way that these platforms do not allow, at least without paying. The result was simple and straightforward: these fake profiles were closed and the problem was over, for now. But this brings us to the next point on the list …
The mix of politics and technology, however, does not end in the economic sphere. The role that Facebook or Twitter have played in key electoral processes in recent years, such as the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom or the 2016 US presidential elections, has changed the way we view social networks and their power to viralize fake news and propaganda .
In 2019, this growing distrust of the social has ended up crystallizing in the demand for greater controls and measures against the abuse of audiences, although not all social networks have responded equally to the pressure. While Twitter has banned election announcements on its platform, Facebook maintains them and will not verify that the information presented on them is true.
Seeing the serious problem that political spam could be through WhatsApp, those responsible for the application made a decisive decision: nothing to send messages to users no matter how much they have given up their phone for advertising purposes on political platforms.
Has this served for anything? One issue is the information that users can send, which of course can be political, and a very different one is the use of the platform for mass and automatic sending from the same source, which is what we wanted to avoid and has avoided, at least, in our last elections (for the moment).
This feeling of defeat is palpable everywhere, even on Wall Street. This was the year in which several key companies in the digital economy were going to make the leap to the stock market. Uber, without a doubt, was the most anticipated. The rounds of financing with private capital had given the company a value in excess of $ 100,000 million. Today it is worth half, after several severe falls in the price of the share, partly because of the problems that the company is finding to operate in some markets, such as London.
His direct rival, Lyft, who started trading on the stock market this year without success is no better. And it is not an exclusive problem of transport companies. The organization tool Slack or the manufacturer of intelligent sports machines Peloton also debuted in the stock market with high hopes only to see how the price of the stock collapsed in subsequent weeks.
Use 2019, The Year We Started To See Technology As The Enemy To Make Someone Fall In Love With You
Keeping the economic focus, although away from Wall Street, 2019 has been an especially intense year for some Chinese brands because of Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policy. Huawei undoubtedly stands out among them.US government He looked at the company with suspicion for years but the tense climate has skyrocketed following the executive order of May that forced American companies to request a license to be able to maintain business relations with the telecommunications equipment manufacturer.
Since Google or Qualcomm are American companies and both are almost essential today in the world of mobile telephony, the order has put the Asian company in a break. Mate 30, presented in September, is the company’s first mobile affected by the measure. No trade agreement between the US and China in sight, may not be the only one.
This lack of control and apparent indifference to the problem of false information circulating through the networks is especially worrying when thinking about the rise of Deepfakes, those fake but convincing videos created with machine learning techniques and sophisticated algorithms of indicted.
Many are clearly identifiable jokes, other serious attacks on the dignity of people – such as pornographic videos in which the face of the actress is changed to that of another person – but the realism that is possible to achieve today with these videos begins to also worry political analysts, who warn of a wave of fake videos in future elections, a weapon against which we will be poorly protected.
It is not that the big names of technology have made a great effort to gain our trust this year, really. The great scandal of the listening of virtual assistants is a good example. Those of us who used Alexa, Assistant and Siri did it thinking that this type of assistant was just a piece of software, a program on a remote server responsible for deciphering our orders. And they are, but those responsible have had to recognize that sometimes those voice commands we issue can end up in human ears, specifically in the quality control teams responsible for improving the responses of these digital entities.
The way in which the processes that these companies use to do so have been discovered has contributed to generate even more distrust towards services that already left us a little restless with each response. The story is one more in the long list of abuses committed by large companies that culminates this year (let’s touch wood) with Google’s confession of users’ explicit access without permission to medical data of tens of millions of Americans, a project baptized as Nightingale that aims to create a medical diagnostic software capable of suggesting treatments.
Google accessed the data through an agreement with the medical company Ascension and among them were medical diagnoses, laboratory test results and hospitalization records. Neither patients nor doctors were notified of the exchange. According to Google, the project complied with federal laws on protection of medical data, but accentuates the antagonistic positions that these companies are taking more and more frequently in front of their users.