Innovative, or Just Plain Creepy?

The 8 pieces of tech that need some investigating…

As the world advances, technological devices and surveillance equipment are transforming increasingly from the keeping-us-safe-and-benefiting-us side of things to the creepy-our-every-move-is-being-watched side of things…

You’ve all heard the rumours, mainstream sites such as Facebook and Google collecting all of our personal data, sucking it up and using it for their own purposes – but it’s far from limited to just them.

While the outrageous scandals that have been exposed during the past year have finally given Europe the push to begin grappling with data privacy rules and regs through a new GDPR Regulation – there’s still a looooot of shady stuff going on out there that you all need to know about.

Here’s what we’ll be on high alert for this year:

1)      In-device Camera Hacking

2018 was a year absolutely filled with accusations, rumours, and theories about being watched by the government via cameras and microphones on our personal devices – and it looks like it’s going to be a major concern of 2019, too.

As confirmed by WikiLeaks, the Central Intelligence Agency actually can, and do, hack into the public’s devices – without us ever being aware of it. It’s actually happening. Creeped out yet?

Apparently, the government has the ability to turn on cameras and microphones on mobile phones, laptops, and even smart TVs.


2)      Drones

We’ve all seen drones in use before.

Surveying criminals in police shows, in military use for warfare, capturing incredible video shots for YouTube videos, not to forget the Great Gatwick scandal of 2018 – but it could get a whole lot more personal for us in 2019.

While drones are a great piece of surveillance tech for the police force in terms of tracking criminals and suspects – the increasingly common usage of the devices and the rate in which they are developing means that there’s an almost definite chance that one day in the near future, they will be used to cross the line into a device that can freely spy on all of us, almost undetectable from the sky…


3)      Facial Recognition Software

Facial Recognition is becoming more and more integrated into our every-day lives. Our phones, our homes, airports, clubs… The list goes on.

And it leaves us with questions. Who has the rights to our face?

While the idea of using facial recognition to catch criminals and protect our data is great, with the software even starting to be used by major celebrities like Taylor Swift, and huge retailers in order to identify their VIP customers – you’ve got to start wondering, at what point does it get a little too invasive?

Some of the more sceptical out there even believe that Facebook’s wildly popular #tenyearchallenge is just a ruse created by the government in order to collect facial data on masses of the population. Wow…


4)      DNA Hacking

Recent developments in genetic research have led to something called CRISPR which is basically a cheap way to edit someone’s genetic code. In a way, one could say it’s like photoshop for inside the human body.

While it’s been said to be an incredible innovation that will improve human’s health, there are also some very questionable factors.

Chinese scientist He Jiankui has recently been placed on house-arrest following his implantation of gene-edited embryos in two women, without fully conducted research or any governmental approval.

While it was a major controversy, who knows what this development will lead to? Will our kids or grand-kids be growing up with edited-children?


5)      Digital People

Over the past couple of years, the takeover of digital humans has slowly started to become a part of our reality. Take the Instagram account of Lil Miquela, for example. For the last two years, she’s been confusing everyone – Is she real? Is it some kind of experiment? What is her purpose?

It hasn’t stopped there, though. Now, we have these digital-robot-humans doing things like waitressing, television presenting – fully intelligent, talking and moving, all at an unbelievably human ability.

Will there be a day when we’ll be living amongst robots? And if so, who are they being controlled by?


6)      Home Surveillance

2018 brought on an onslaught of new technologies specifically developed for at-home usage, for example, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and the Apple Homepod.

While these smart-devices are supposedly only ever recording audio when activated by their ‘wake’ word, they have habitually been found to turn on sporadically or at the sound of similar words – transmitting all recorded audio to the cloud, even your private conversations.

It gets creepier, too. Apparently, some of these devices are now being developed with cameras…


7)       Deep Fakes

As technology improves, so does the ability to fake and simulate events – making viewers believe something has happened, that actually hasn’t happened at all.

A deep fake, in simple terms, is a ‘computer-generated replication of a person’ – there’s even a machine learning technique called GAN that ‘algorithmically generates new types of data out of existing data sets.’

While the prospect is undeniably cool, the better that these ‘fakes’ get could lead to it being absolutely indistinguishable between what is and isn’t real – even allowing for fraudulent activities and documents.


8)      Targeted Ads

Over the past year and specifically of late, more and more people are airing their concerns over ads that have started randomly popping up, specifically targeted at things they had spoken about earlier. That’s right, not searched for… spoken about.

We’ve become accumulated to things that we’ve searched for on Google popping up as a Facebook or Instagram ad later on, but is your phone – or more specifically, apps like Facebook, listening in to your conversations?

While Facebook denies this, a gaming software named Alphonso actually admitted to listening in to the conversations of people who had downloaded their apps. While they claim to only listen to things helpful to them, to increase their sales and profit, the idea in itself is absolutely terrifying!


What do you think, creeped out yet?


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