Technology: An Able Ally or an Incorrigible Foe?

Posted on March 6, 2011 in Sci-Tech

By Mallikarjuna Kanala:

Homo sapiens with a prodigious ability to think – molded the nature and its forces according to their requirements and that started man’s reign on this earth. Technology, a word derived from Greek words techne — “an art, skill” and logos —“the study of” literally means the study of a skill or art. So technology is nothing but the knowledge of methods, arts to solve problems occurring to mankind or to create new problems. This technical development which gained acceleration in the last century started evolving in an extravagant manner in the recent past. No visible limits can be forecasted for these technological innovations in the near future.

This ever improving technology became a whip in the hands of the power hungry humans and thus the most civilized species on the earth started dominating the world. This unprecedented improvement in technology has not only increased the comfort levels for people but also created a significant level of differences in the society. The development of new technologies has become a day to day phenomenon and the development has not been confined to a single arena and all most all the fields have been improvised. The technology is developed in both constructive and destructive paths and that started creating new problems to both humans and other living organisms. Two latest technologies presented here show the diversity of these latest developments:

1. Bee Sniffing Technology:

It is a scientific fact that a bee protrudes its proboscis when the scent of a desirable food source is present. This natural instinctive action of the bees is now being used for detecting the dangerous vapors present in the environment by training the bees by the process of conditioning to detect specific odors. The trained bees hence are introduced into a high technology trace vapor detection unit VASOR (Volatile Analysis by Specific Olfactory Recognition) which translates the bee’s instinctive response into an electronic response which can be displayed on the screen. The pictures show a bee’s proboscis protruded and VASOR136 which is the device that uses them

The VASOR also has the ability to identify diseases and cancers in people and animals, to detect rapidly spreading bacteria and many other applications. This way the technology helps the human beings without causing much damage to the other species as the bees also can go back to working for the queen later.

2. The STUXNET Worm:

Iran nuclear weapons machinery was attacked by some state/nation by a cyber worm known as Stuxnet worm. It was discovered in July 2010 and targets industrial software and working of the equipment. The worm was designed in such a way that it spreads initially with very low chance of being caught and then starts affecting the specific systems targeted by its manufacturers. It has a characteristic of not harming the computers and machines that do not meet the specific requirements and thus they can spread more easily.

The worm contains a code for faking the industrial process control sensor signals so an infected system does not shut down due to abnormal behavior. In this way the infected systems will not stop functioning but will malfunction and thus producing the desired results for its creators. This was used to have a good effect in damaging the nuclear program of Iran by reducing the centrifugal operational capacity by significant percentage. In this way the worm not only achieved its specific target of damaging Iran’s nuclear program but also opened an entirely new path for destruction which will be grabbed very gladly by people with devilish intentions.

Even with a brief knowledge of the mentioned technologies we can conceive the diversity of the technological developments that the world is going through right now. Though there are a good number of developments which contribute to the welfare of mankind — there are an equal number of innovations that are being developed for the destruction of the world. Although these kinds of thoughts are a definite cause of concern, nothing much can be done to stop these unwanted inventions and innovations right now. The only thing that can be done immediately is to try to invent some other technology that protects us from the clutches of these modern day rakshasas like the cyber worms.

And coming to the permanent solution to this problem, it is the same old known answer, that is, “To change the world you need to change yourself first”. This may appear both simple and impossible but it is the only conceivable and constructive solution we can ever come across. If this happens, technology will only be an able ally and never a foe.