Forum: Are tech advances always for the better?

Posed photo of a person using a smartphone. PHOTO: PEXELS

Technology is omnipresent. It has changed the way we live, work and play. But is it always for the better?

Marrying capacity and computational speed of computers has resulted in intelligence far surpassing man. Artificial intelligence, the technology behind facial recognition, rides on this prowess in establishing relations. It identifies people quickly without contact or input from subjects. But it can also track our movements. Do we feel intruded upon with this unwitting monitoring? Have we been asked if we like to be monitored?

We now rely on remote cloud storage facilities to access our data when we want it. But how safe is this? Once data is out of our hands, who has control over it?

Mobile phones have become a part of us. Apps provide convenience. But many apps demand access to the camera and contact list on our phones. Are we a source of mailing lists, complete with photographs, to over-zealous digital marketers?

With the Internet of Things, we can turn on gadgets remotely before reaching home. Can someone do the same and unlock our doors?

Increasingly, do we have a choice as consumers? The default set by software suppliers is automatic renewal unless the consumer unsubscribes. Many will stay beyond the initial subscription period because it requires effort to discontinue.

More importantly, without electricity, can we do anything in this digital age?

We may be close to singularity, the point when machine triumphs over man. But are these innovations always beneficial to mankind?

Lee Teck Chuan

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