We are the Outsiders

…with a fresh perspective

When we speak about “technology” today, it’s completely different than the technology from only decades ago. As a result, there are so many technological advances that often have implications that we do not realize until years later. We have witnessed how social media plays a role in protest, including the Arab Spring in 2011. Protestors were able to use social media to their advantage even as more authoritarian governments attempted to block websites and platforms. Now it has a huge role in politics around the world, including the 2016 United States election, Brexit in the United Kingdom, and right here in Canada in our provincial and upcoming federal elections.

Today, social media and technology can give people more power than ever. People can take to social media to voice their concerns and question authority. Technology has also created cryptocurrency, which makes it easier and faster to send money across borders without relying on banks. The fact that Facebook is creating its own cryptocurrency is a sign that it might actually lead to mass adoption, with millions of people sending and receiving cryptocurrency instead of utilizing traditional financial institutions.

However, technology gives governments and organizations the ability to impose more control. A notable example is the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal that is thought to have affected voter results in the U.S. and U.K. Similarly, technology also allows China to advance a social credit system that many believe is cruel, in that it allows the Chinese government to punish and demean citizens based on a social credit score. For example, a Chinese citizen’s social credit score might fall simply due to them buying a certain amount of video games. And, with the rise of deepfakes, can we ever really believe our own senses when we watch videos and listen to recordings?

Our lives might be easier when it comes to certain tasks but it also might be more complicated than ever. Our Instagram feeds are often designed to advertise certain products in ways that target our desires and insecurities. At the same time, we consistently are using technology to find new clients, communicate with old friends, order products/services, and express ourselves.

There are many questions that have yet to be answered about the way that we can and will use new technologies, from smartphones to sophisticated AI. We can praise technology for the fact that Netflix can recommend us the right movie, but many of us would have reservations if our identities were doxxed. We might appreciate the fact that technology allows us to wear headphones and listen to the music that we enjoy, but hate that Instagram may sell our data to advertisers. No matter what your opinions are about technology, it is here, it is evolving, and we need to think about how we will react, adapt, and use it for years to come.

Make it a great day.

Ryan Vestby, CEO, CompuVision

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