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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Is it dangerous for humans to depend on computers?

Rory Cellan-Jones
BBC News
Originally published June 5, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

In Britain, doctors whose computers froze during the recent ransomware attack had to turn patients away. In Ukraine, there were power cuts when hackers attacked the electricity system, and five years ago, millions of Royal Bank of Scotland customers were unable to get at their money for days after problems with a software upgrade.

Already some people have had enough. This week a letter to the Guardian newspaper warned that the modern world was "dangerously exposed by this reliance on the internet and new technology".
The correspondent, quite possibly a retired government employee, continued "there are just enough old-time civil servants left alive to turn back the clock and take away our dangerous dependence on modern technology."

Somehow, though, I don't see this happening. Airlines are not going to scrap the computers and tick passengers off on a paper list before they climb aboard, bank clerks will not be entering transactions in giant ledgers in copperplate writing.

In fact, computers will take over more and more functions once restricted to humans, most of them far more useful than a game of Go. And that means that at home, at work and at play we will have to get used to seeing our lives disrupted when those clever machines suffer the occasional nervous breakdown.

The article is here.
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