FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 01, 2004

More on the "Dangers" of Tech

The ever-perceptive Smart Mobs blog notes two cautionary articles about technology. The first is a Washington Post piece citing a study that found "scant evidence" of young children benefitting from electronic technology, and urging a moratorium on further introduction of technology in the classroom. This has been a concern at least for the past decade, especially for very small children who still need to develop basic skills. But older children -- teenagers especially -- need technical skills in order to function in the modern workplace. Many kids pick this up naturally, but those coming from underprivileged backgrounds rely on school-based resources more so than their more affluent counterparts. In fact, at the high school level, I believe that students should be able to show a baseline level of computer and Internet proficiency to graduate.

The second piece comes from our neighbors to the north. An official with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police cites text messaging as a future source of civil disorder, noting that even in democratic nations such as Britain, police have been confiscating cell phones of political demonstrators to break up smart mobs. This seems to be an affirmation that smart mobs are being seen as a very real threat by authorities. Indeed, protesters in the Phillipines used cell phones and text messaging to overthrow the government... and technology doesn't get more disruptive than that!