Technology exists for a singular purpose – to assist humans in doing things beyond our innate, natural capabilities. As has been mentioned in the past, this can cut both ways as the less scrupulous among us find ways to exploit technology to take advantage of our limitations. As online shopping has become the norm, even on hallowed consumption days like Black Friday, the rise of shopping bots has caught the eye of legislators in the US, who are aiming to ban them from online retailer sites, especially around the holidays where their use is particularly Grinch-like.
What this means for you
At first blush, you might be inclined to think that surely our lawmakers have more pressing issues to address beyond algorithms programmed to snap up discounted PlayStations for scalpers, and I might even be inclined to agree with you. I called out this bit of news fluff to shine a light on the dark side of technology again, and how simple it is to exploit it in a way that only serves to line the pockets of the ethically-challenged. One might argue that enterprising capitalists are just using the tools available to get a leg up on the competition, but the shoe is suddenly on the other foot when you realize the same concept (do things faster online) is being used to crank out scammy extortion or phishing emails by the millions every single day. Just because something is possible does not mean that it is ethical, and technology is putting more of these types of decisions in front of humans at a bewildering rate. As our usage of technology grows, we must be extremely careful to not set aside our humanity just to be faster, better or richer.
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