We Are Detrimentally Dependent on Technology
October 13, 2010
Abstract Technology comes in many forms and no aspect of our lives is untouched by some form of technology or another. Technology is deﬁned as “the practical application of science to commerce or industry”. Technological development into present day has been meteoric to say the least. With the advancements of nearly every aspect of human life having some tie with technology, one might start to see a synergistic relationship between humans and technology. However, while some would believe this relationship has been beneﬁcial for us, we believe there have been detrimental effects from our growing dependence on technology.
For example, even though the exact reason is still disputed, London Stock Exchange (LSE) had to stop trading on the 8th September 2008. The two main reasons were due to the network software issues that link data from many programs1 as explained by LSE while the other was due to a buggy software
This essay was submitted for assessment in the subject 433-343 Professional Issues in Computing, in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, The University of Melbourne, 2010. The authors retain copyright (2010) of this essay. Permission is granted for non-commercial copying. The University of Melbourne is permitted to publish this essay in electronic or hard copy form. 1 http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/it-business/10947/london-stock-exchange-in-denial-over-system-outage/
upgrade as speculated by external professionals 2 . This had left traders unable to conduct any business which intriguingly could have been one of the best days for markets around the world after a bail out of two large United States mortgage lenders. Reliability of technology cannot be guaranteed at all times. Technology crashes can also cause big companies to lose billions of dollars. An example event known as the “Flash Crash”  on 6th May 2010 illustrates this point. Just hours before the market closed, the market plunged drastically by an average of 5.7% causing major markets around the world to go into a state of panic anticipating an imminent European ﬁnancial crisis and caused great loses to companies. An investigation was done by Nanex  stating that the crash may be due to a software design ﬂaw in time-stamping procedures that accumulated to become a problem. Backlogged requests caused a long queue in the computer server and produced non consistent results to the requester. This further evidenced that such a dependency on technology is detrimental to the society as sudden reliability issues can create chaos all around the world or even cripple an economy. The integration of technology in commerce has also opened many opportunities to unscrupulous criminals causing ﬁnancial harm to the population. The increase in ATM crime has raised concerns as criminals become more and more sophisticated. The use of spy cameras, fake machines and more sophisticated card skimming increased by 149% year on year in 2008 . In addition, burglaries and physical attacks on ATM have also seen a similar upward trend. Our over dependence on these machines made ATMs look very attractive to criminals as they contain bank notes and access to customers sensitive bank information. Conversely, one may also argue that technology has hugely aided the pace of economy. Our modern society is able to process any amounts of money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to the advancements in online banking. Online banking allows people to make transactions any time of the day at their own convenience more efﬁciently and effectively, without going through the hassle of...