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September 12, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 2:35pm

5 of the scariest modern technologies

Artificial Intelligence, Drones, and lots more to be scared of.

By James Nunns

We can safely accept that technology is rapidly changing the world. How we interact with each other, how we go about our daily lives, even the languages we use (see emojis), have been changed dramatically by technology.

The good and bad news is that this isn’t the end of it.

More and more technologies are being developed that will make the ones we have now see like a child’s rattle, and they won’t all be good for the future of mankind.

CBR highlights five technologies that may spell doom for the human race.


1. Artificial Intelligence

Ground-breaking developments with AI seem to come on a weekly basis now thanks to the work that some of the largest tech firms are doing to make it a reality.

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Companies like Google and Microsoft are spending a lot of money to try and realise the potential of the technology.

However, there is a lot of fear about the technology. People like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking have warned about the threat of AI.

In an interview on Reddit, Gates said: "I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well.

"A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned."

The problem is that AI is being designed to be self-learning, so it could surpass the need for humans. AI becomes particularly scary when it is combined with the next technology.

2. Robots

You’ve all seen Terminator, right?!

Realistically a robot uprising is many decades away, the technology just isn’t there yet, but it is certainly being worked on.

The development of robots such as the helper bot Pepper, is a potentially good thing. It can do the dangerous jobs, help out the elderly and so on. But, combine robots with AI and you suddenly give arms and legs to a super brain that has decided that humans are ruining the planet and should be eliminated.

Perhaps we will be used to fuel giant battery farms like in The Matrix!

3. DNA Surveillance

Surveillance in any form has always spiked people’s fears. It can be argued that if you haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to hide, and that the government wouldn’t use it for any nefarious reasons.

History tells us a different story about how surveillance has been used and abused by nations from World War II to the questionable mass collection of data and monitoring of citizens undertaken by security bodies such as GCHQ.

DNA Surveillance is an elevation of tracking capabilities. In New York an artist collected bits of chewing gum, cigarette butts and discarded hair. With this she sequenced DNA to get distinguishing markers such as gender, eye colour, etc. Then she used a 3D printer and created a face.

In Hong Kong a similar kind of technology uses this technology to shame people who litter.

The technology is already here and serious questions should be asked about the potential misuse of DNA.

4. Weather modification

On the surface there’s plenty of good to be had from modifying weather, bringing rain to areas hit by drought, help farmers, stop devastating storms from destroying lives.

The idea isn’t new, in the Vietnam War Project Pop Eye was used to trigger the extension of the rainy season by seeding the tops of monsoon clouds. The idea was to help reduce the amount of traffic along infiltration routes.

Technology has moved on so that lasers and now used and scientists in Switzerland have managed to create clouds in clear skies. The laser works by creating condensation in the air so that water vapour is condensed into droplets.

The fear is that this technology could be used to direct terrible floods at a country. There is also little understanding of the knock-on effect that this will have on the World’s weather systems.

5. Drones

The use of drones is becoming more widespread, from being used by journalists, to retail giants for delivery purposes and by the military.

The use of drones is constantly under the microscope. The use of them by the military has been questioned, suggestions have been made that it makes killing like a video game, while concerns have also been raised about the use of the technology as a means for spying on people.

Drones have been used to sneak drugs into prisons and across borders and they can be easily adapted to be fitted out with various weapons.

Google’s Eric Schmidt said in 2013, in an interview with the Guardian, that drones should be banned by international treaties before they fall into the hands of private users including terrorists.

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