It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Do we put too much trust in computers and technology?

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 08:54 PM
I'm interested in finding out how many members feel that we put too much trust in computers and technology in general. We've all seen the stories about the computerized screen voting machines, we've all dealt with the problems of the automated telephone "help systems"
, but do you think we are depending too much on technology to help solve the world's problems?
I'm very interested in any work-related issues you may have, for instance, in the medical field, the legal field, or computer-assisted systems.
I'm also interested in any experiences that you have had, where technology has CAUSED problems that had to be fixed by humans. Do any members have any experiences where people were harmed or even worse killed, because of a technology problem?

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:07 PM
I moved house 6 months ago, and was without internet for 10 days.

It was a very painful experience. Even when my router goes down for a few hours (on the odd occasion) I feel somewhat cut off from the world. Then again, my laptop is my phone, so that could account for it.

I rely on it far too much, but I feel lost/bored without it.

Make sense?

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:20 PM
The commission found that a single nuclear weapon, delivered by a ballistic missile to an altitude of a few hundred miles over the United States, would be "capable of causing catastrophe for the nation."

How is that possible? By precipitating a lethal electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.

In 2000, concerned about EMP technology, Congress created the "Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack" (the EMP Threat Commission, for short). In its final report, presented in summer 2004, the panel warned that terrorists could indeed execute such an attack by launching a small nuclear armed missile from a freighter off the coast of the United States.

The ingredients for an EMP attack may be already within reach.

Al-Qaeda is known to have a fleet of freighters.

One of those freighters could easily be outfitted with a short- range ballistic missile capable of getting a nuclear weapon to almost any point in the airspace above our country.

Thousands of Scud missiles exist around the world, and they are said to cost less than $100,000 to purchase from willing suppliers like North Korea. (In December 2002, a North Korean ship was intercepted, temporarily, as it prepared to deliver twelve Scud missiles to Yemen.)

North Korea has also declared its willingness to sell nuclear weapons to terrorists.

Iran has demonstrated it has the capability to launch a Scud missile from a vessel at sea.

Ship-launched ballistic missiles have a special advantage. The "return address" of the attacker may be difficult to determine, especially if the missile is a generic Scud type weapon, found in many countries' arsenals.

But even though all the tools needed for this nightmare scenario could be in the hands of terrorists already, and even though a high altitude EMP attack could be considered the ultimate "weapon of mass destruction," little has changed in our level of preparedness or even our policy debates. EMP is still rarely mentioned in discussions of the WMDs we need to worry about.

We need to start worrying.

An Atmospheric Tsunami

A nuclear weapon produces several different effects. The best known are the intense heat and hyperpressures associated with the fireball and the accompanying blast.

But a nuclear explosion also generates massive outputs of other kinds of energy. These include the creation of intense streams of x-rays and gamma-rays. If those are unleashed outside the earth's atmosphere, some of them will interact with the air molecules of the upper atmosphere.

The result is an enormous pulsed current of high energy electrons that will interact, in turn, with the earth's magnetic field.

In an instant, an invisible radio frequency wave is produced — a wave of almost unimaginably immense intensity, approximately a million times as strong as the most powerful radio signals on the earth. The energy of this pulse would reach everything in line of sight of the detonation. And it would do so at the speed of light.

The higher the altitude of the weapon's detonation, the larger the affected area would be. At a height of three hundred miles, for example, the entire continental United States would be exposed, along with parts of Canada and Mexico.

As the fireball expands in space, it would also generate electrical currents on earth — ultra high-speed electromagnetic "shock waves" that would endanger much of our technological infrastructure. Such high speed currents would disable, temporarily or permanently,

extended electrical conductors, such as the electricity transmission lines that make up our power grid.

any unprotected computers and microchips.

all the systems that depend on electricity and electronics, from medical instruments to military communications.

As the EMP Threat Commission put it: The electromagnetic fields produced by weapons designed and deployed with the intent to produce EMP have a high likelihood of damaging electrical power systems, electronics, and information systems upon which American society depends. Their effects on dependent systems and infrastructures could be sufficient to qualify as catastrophic to the nation. [Emphasis added.]

The systems at risk from EMP include:

electronic control, sensor, and protective systems of all kinds

computers and cell phones

cars, boats, airplanes, and trains

the infrastructures for handling electric power, telecommunications, transportation, fuel and energy, banking and finance, emergency services, and even food and water.

A One Two Three Punch

Following rapidly on this electromagnetic tsunami, there would be a "medium speed component" of EMP. It would cover roughly the same geographic area as the first, "high- speed" component, though its peak power level would be much less.

This medium-speed component follows the high speed component by merely a fraction of a second. It further damages the electric systems that are already impaired and exposed by the initial electromagnetic impact.

And finally, there is a third wave of EMP attack, the "slow component" produced by the continuing expansion of the fireball in the earth's magnetic field. This slow component — a pulse that may last just seconds or minutes — creates disruptive currents in electricity transmission lines, damaging the surviving electrical supply and distribution systems.

he EMP Threat Today

The EMP Threat Commission conducted a worldwide survey of foreign scientific and military literature to assess the knowledge and intentions of foreign states regarding an EMP attack. The survey confirmed that both the physics and the military potential of EMP are indeed widely understood in the international community.

The commission survey found that the following nations were knowledgeable about EMP: China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia.

The commission also learned that some foreign military experts regard EMP attack as a form of electronic or information warfare, not primarily as a form of nuclear war. One of China's leading military theorists has written:

Information war and traditional war have one thing in common, namely that the country which possesses the critical weapons such as atomic bombs will have "first strike" and "second strike retaliation" capabilities . . . .

As soon as its computer networks come under attack and are destroyed, the country will slip into a state of paralysis and the lives of its people will grind to a halt.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by infolurker


Excellent post, with great information. I thank you for that. This is exactly the kind of responses I'm looking for. A star for your post.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:23 PM
I say we do. People freak when they don't have their phone. The BCS depends on it to determine what football team ranks higher than others.When the electricity went out here during the hurricanes, the biggest deal here was when they were going to hook the internet back up. Computer and technology has become a big part of our life. Lord helps me if a debit card machine quits working at a store because I don't carry cash.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:32 PM
This is a major problem that most people do not know about. Basicly, If implemented properly, we would not be able to restore the power grid for an estimated 30 years.... yeah, 30 years. We would go from what we have today back to the 1800's overnight (except a few govt hardened structures of course).

No food, no power..... Game Over

[edit on 7-12-2008 by infolurker]

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:43 PM
No. Not enough trust on computers; they don't make errors. Shield them from EMP and use an ABM shield to destroy the missiles, or even coast guard / intelligence to stop them from even getting close.

What else can I say? I like technology.

[edit on 7/12/2008 by C0bzz]

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:48 PM
reply to post by ProfEmeritus

Heck ya, we all reply on computer. I mean not just us people but schools, businesses, accountants.


I will say this if you hack your colleges database and change your grade they won't know of such a change unless it's very obious.

I mean your professor... ocunsilor don't know who you are or anything. what they do ask your name .... and then they search their database for your name to bring up your grades and other stuff you done ect. This is how they act omg wow you did good in ...some class. They act like wow I knew you for a year or 2 lol .

If something happend to those databases and no backups guess what they will be in the dark.

That just shows how much humans reply on computers.

It's part of our life. We can't live without it and also we can't do our jobs without it.

I know I am majoring in accounting and the computer makes accounting much less painful then if done by hand.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 09:57 PM
Technology will be the death of human instinct. We already show signs of weakness without it. This will lead to chip implants and humans will become walking laptop computers.

No one person will be smarter than another, just faster at finding the answer/information based on the age of our implanted processors.

Go Go Gadget, Google!

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 10:03 PM
reply to post by computerwiz32

I mean your professor... ocunsilor don't know who you are or anything. what they do ask your name .... and then they search their database for your name to bring up your grades and other stuff you done ect. This is how they act omg wow you did good in ...some class. They act like wow I knew you for a year or 2 lol .

Actually, that's one of the reasons I also kept a manual grade book. Furthermore, most of the information you mentioned is backed up, and reflected in many other files and DBs'. In addition, virtually all grades are spun off into other files for things such as failure analysis, lists of warnings that go out to failing students, etc. Colleges and Universities smartened up a long time ago, and the only thing hacking into your grades would do, is get you a free trip to jail. Yes, there probably are a few smaller institutions where they don't have safeguards, but they are the exception today.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 10:08 PM
reply to post by jam321

The BCS depends on it to determine what football team ranks higher than others

Now there's a point that will, I'm sure cause some unfavorable responses about computer rankings, from people in Texas, or fans of Boise State and Utah!

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 10:12 PM
reply to post by C0bzz

No. Not enough trust on computers; they don't make errors. Shield them from EMP and use an ABM shield

You also might want to shield them from women wearing silk stockings.

Back in the 1960's, when IBM produced their first large multi-purpose computer- the IBM 360 series, every time a women in high heels and stockings would walk past the console, system would go haywire. After considerable studies, they found that it was static electricity that was causing the problem. However, you can imagine some of the cracks that were made during that time period.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 11:03 PM
May not see it in my lifetime but having cybernetic implants would be nice. Accessing the internet without a computer, communicate directly with another, watching videos, internal heads up displays, internal chronographs, etc. would be wonderful. Maybe to the point of downloading others knowledge and experiences.

So, no from my point of view we don't depend on them too much right now because we still have to do too many things in a mundane way.

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 11:11 PM
I had the net for about 6 years and then for one whole year I forced myself off it just to see how I would do, and I must say I read about twice as many books as a result and I have not had any TV for almost ten years now. So I have to say I enjoy it, but there are many reasons and way to live otherwise and to slow yourself down. One might say that it kind of maybe a good thing to do for a change of perspective. There are some books worth reading on the subject such as

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 11:14 PM
reply to post by Velvet Death

May not see it in my lifetime but having cybernetic implants would be nice. Accessing the internet without a computer, communicate directly with another, watching videos, internal heads up displays, internal chronographs, etc. would be wonderful. Maybe to the point of downloading others knowledge and experiences.

It's already been a movie called the Matrix. At that point, wouldn't it be hard to distinguish reality from cyberspace?

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 11:31 PM
I think the great thing about technology today is it is actually really starting to work it's self into our lives properly, I feel we've gone through the major part of the growing pains so far as the basic standards go ie. we hardly ever store data in analogue format on tapes now, processors and memory have balanced out in the vs performance IMO, software is still overpriced, but for everything you pay for there is usually a free alternative and everything can (almost) interface with something else easily when needed. In short tech is now truly for the masses - who really cares how it works? It just works.

So to answer the OP's question, I think it's potentially the biggest 'double edged sword' ever!

If everybody's I-pods across the country stopped working similarity that would cause a lot of tears... But life will go on. Thing is the thing that made those i-pods stop is likely to affect many many other things that affect our health and safety. Basic heat and light springs to mind, but really that's only the start... And a more minor prob compared to drinking water which could quite easily get contaminated with heavy doses of the various chemicals that are used to treat it - all the automatic monitoring is electronic you know - and impossible to shield in most cases.

And I can also see a point in the near future where our reliance on technology is such that we would be under almost complete control without really realising it - kind of your ultimate stun coller... Where not quite there yet, we are fettering on the brink though. Maybe an event such the correct type of solar flare might not be such a bad thing

btw I just bashed that out - apologies if it incoherent dribble

posted on Dec, 7 2008 @ 11:43 PM
reply to post by ProfEmeritus

I was thinking more like "The Vertebrane System" talked about in Chapter 7 of Marshall Brain's Manna story.

But that kind of technology is a ways off.

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 12:07 AM
reply to post by Now_Then

So to answer the OP's question, I think it's potentially the biggest 'double edged sword' ever!

I agree. One of the books that I've read that shows the dark side of its use is "IBM and the Holocaust", by Edwin Black. It chronicles how IBM helped the Nazi's catalog, track, and ultimately imprison, then kill the Jews during World War II. This book was a New York Times Bestseller. It is a chilling look into how a large world-wide corporation set up dummy companies to transfer the technology and personnel to the Nazi's, even after the US made it illegal for American companies to deal with the Nazis. Watson, himself, was awarded the Nazi medal of honor by Hitler, and Watson wore it proudly, with the German eagle and two swastikas. Furthermore, Watson greatly admired Fascism and praised it often.
For those that wonder whether an NWO exists, or supports Fascism, get the book, and you will have no doubts about it.

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:08 PM
this is a good thread.

Too much trust in computers? I say no. they are a tool. I do feel however that we put too much trust in those people that use these tools.

It is like our food. How many people know where it comes from? The conditions the animals are put through and the hormones put in the food that we end up eating. Again, we are trusting people too much.

It seems people are comfortable having someone else "fix things" and those people ended up being the owners of the global banking system and the world's new GOD, which is currency.

"Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither." Ben Franklin

posted on Dec, 13 2008 @ 07:14 PM
Ive always been wondering about an EMP attack after watching Dark Angel which depicts this...Anyway,yes we are,but as humans we have always been reliant on tools....this is no different,it in our nature to rely on tools to do jobs we cant or atleast do them more efficiently

new topics

top topics

<<   2 >>

log in