Covenant with the devil — Technology versus Human (Part 1)

By

Akintola Ashraf Akintayo

Evolution (not the monkey to human type –; another article entirely) is a natural phenomenon that man has been conditioned to undergo. The gradual change in all aspects of our life- education, politics, food, culture, science, technology, government e.t.c is the very essence of our existence. We just cannot afford to be on a single position for long without changing. Biologically, we see that in the form of a fetus, to a baby, to adolescence, adulthood, and our eventual death. Even at death, our bodies decay, become manure for the soil and from there plants grow and benefit those alive and the cycle continues. Our souls on the other hand set out on another sojourn of eternity. Politically, we have witnessed the stack difference in the style of governance our forefathers deployed and what governance is all about in our present time and age. Socially, no Englishman even wants to dress like what it used to be in vogue in Shakespearean or Victorian era, even though we consider those times classic. Same thing can be said for all societies of old. These changes can be seen in our culture, education, economy e.t.c. Take a man from the 1600’s back from death and let him spend a day in our present world. I can tell you he would die again from madness for his mind would not be able to contain all he would see. Same thing would happen to us too if we are to be brought back from death in the year 3000 (i.e if the world has not ended then).

As these remarkable progress in human history is recorded and new frontiers are being covered, new challenges spring up — the likes of which have never been seen before. Before the advent of AK47 riffles for example, it was not easy to kill dozens of people within a minute with the gun, thus lives became easier to waste. Before the advent of the nuclear weapons, it is never heard of, that billions can die by just a single blast. Do not get me wrong, technology brought cures to diseases like malaria, typhoid as well as vaccines for small and chicken pox. But the question can be asked that — has the quality of our life bettered those who lived in the past? Life expectancies have dropped significantly, and I have heard that in the past, if you die at 70 years, you died young. Hence, as we move forward in our history as humans, it is imperative by now that we should gear up for new challenges that can bring us to our knees. Thus, as much as technology has made us better humans, we should also reflect on the negative sides of how our lots have not been “bettered” by our genius. So, what if technology is our covenant with the devil, that took away our lives and gave us a livelihood?

Technology and Privacy

There is virtually no one that do not posses a social media account or a mail or for one thing or the other, surfed the internet for a reason. Little do we know that every keystroke that we press on our keyboard can be traced back to us. In short, you can easily be hacked- and not just the technical hacking but the emotional, psychological and to some extent spiritual ones. Your online behavior, likes, and habits can be studied, and you can be predicted with very great accuracy. You would have noticed how some of the ads on the sites you visit seem to be a perfect match to your interests and you think that is just a coincidence. You can easily observe this on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook. For the sake of this discussion, I would like to point out that the richest man on this plant, Jeff Bezos- the founder of Amazon.com became rich from this same data trade in consumer behavior. Let me put this in perspective for you to know how rich he is. He paid out a whole humongous $38bn in divorce settlement to his ex-wife and dear readers, he did not even manage to still retain the richest man in the planet position, in fact, he kept getting richer. The good news is that, how he got richer is not a secret. I would refer you to the PBS documentary titled; “Amazon empire: the rise and reign of Jeff Bezos.” Please note that this is not meant to smear his image or all the great works he has done, but to point out the pitfalls of technology we all love. It has been held that Facebook was the main instrument that assisted in bringing Donald Trump into power in 2016. So, if you still doubt the power of tech in influencing your life, then it is time to have a rethink.

Methods such as Data scrapping, which involves tracking people’s online activities, harvesting personal data and conversations from social media, job websites and online forums are some of the ways your privacies are being violated by these tech giants. ‘’One strong case for serious online privacy violation took place in May 2011. Nielsen Co., a media-research company, was caught scraping every message off PatientsLikeMe’s online forums, where people talk about their emotional problems — in what they think is a safe, private environment. As you can imagine a lot of people felt their web privacy was violated.’’

To make it clearer, it is important to point out that the internet has become the keeper of all our secrets- dark or not. Presently, it is much easier for us to ask google the questions that bothers us the most and one we prefer not to share with those closest to us. Little do we know that all these are to our peril. In fact, once we search on the internet, it is as good as telling the whole world. For facebook, the “leakage” starts during the app’s installation process, you are prompted to accept certain terms (which if you do not accept, you would not be allowed to benefit from the services of the app), and once you click “Allow”, the application receives an “access token”. Some of the Facebook apps are leaking these access tokens to advertisers, granting them access to personal-profile data such as chat logs and photos. However, no disclaimer is showed announcing you your data is being transferred to third parties. Thus your online privacy and safety are put at risk. I have not come across any App that would allow you to disagree with its terms and conditions and you would still be allowed to continue with the service. This goes to show you that your privacy matters most. It is indeed the currency you spend and also a vital weapon in the hands of your enemies.

Bullguard.com wrote brilliantly on how cookies are also being used. “We all use the “Like”, “Tweet”, “+1”, and other buttons to share content with our friends. But these social widgets are also valuable tracking tools for social media websites. They work with cookies — small files stored on a computer that enable tracking the user across different sites — that social websites place in browsers when you create an account or log in, and together they allow the social websites to recognize you on any site that uses these widgets. Thus, your interests and online shopping behaviour can be easily tracked, and your internet privacy rudely invaded.

And things get worse. Other social websites allow companies to place within ads cookies and beacons — pieces of software that can track you and gather information about what you are doing on a page. Note: these tracking tools are widely used online but mostly on websites dedicated to kids and teens, which raises a huge children’s online privacy concern.

An example of a teen-dedicated site that stores lots of tracking cookies is Snazzyspace.com”

Alexa, a popular home listening tool by Amazon is also a danger brought near that relates whatever is being discussed at home to a third party. Many people use it without realizing the danger. In short, a lot of us are just walking around naked without realizing that.

If you still do not realize what your privacy means, maybe the next few lines would hit it for you. As an individual, your privacy is your most cherished treasure. That is why God sanctified the union of a man and a woman. You have access to each other’s most cherished possession. That is why it is also important to guard your thoughts. God looks at your intention behind every action. Our privacy is sacred. that is why we are doomed by giving out this important part of us. a reminder that there is respect behind mystery.

To be continued!

Up next (God willing)

Technology and Health

Technology and Agriculture

Technology and Terrorism