Are computers getting too clever?

Brain power: Technology is turning our wildest dreams and greatest fears into reality.

Is technology changing the world for the better? Imagine sending messages with a wristband that reads your mind or paying for food with an image of your face. These are two new inventions.

What’s happening

No one else has exactly the same face as you. That is why technology has been invented which helps identify a person by their face. The iPhone X will use facial recognition. Ctrl-Labs, a technology company, also invented a wristband that reads your mind and writes what you think. What are the risks?

Find out more

In China, facial recognition software is used to give people entrance to amusement parks or pay in shops. In Britain and America it is used by the police to prevent crime.

Ctrl-Labs’ wristband lets you type a message by reading the electrical signals in your muscles. Dr Kaifosh, chief science officer, said, “Just as you don’t think about which muscles you activate when you speak, you won’t have to think about how you communicate text to a computer.”

But these new forms of tech do not always work. Take facial recognition for example. Police in London used this technology to scan the faces of people attending Notting Hill Carnival. Around 35 people were misidentified and one innocent person was arrested.

Are computers getting too clever?

Some say…

“No! This is amazing,” say some. Imagine how easy it will be to talk to each other. These inventions are made with the intention of making the world a better place. What's more, once this new technology is perfected, it will play a crucial role in fighting crime. People who are against these amazing developments probably have something to hide.

Others think…

Big Brother is watching you!” say others. No good can come of being watched and listened to by computers all the time, which can read your every thought and track your movements. All this technology has a darker purpose and we should have no part in it. This is just the start. Once we open Pandora's box, it will be impossible to close it again.

You Decide

  1. Are computers too clever?

Activities

  1. Imagine 100 years have passed and technology has continued to develop. How in your opinion would this affect the world? What new inventions could there be? Decide whether the world has become a happier or a darker place to live. Write a short story set in this future.

Some People Say...

“Privacy is more important than safety.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Facial recognition software
A new type of technology where computers can identify you by scanning your face.
Misidentified
When someone or something is mistaken for a different person or thing.
Big Brother
A threatening person who — or organisation which — can see everything that is going on in all people's lives. The term was made famous by George Orwell’s novel, 1984. The story imagines a dark world where there is no escape from Big Brother’s all-seeing eye.
Pandora's box
A well-known story about a girl called Pandora who lived in a perfect world. She had a box containing all the evil in the world. Once she opened it, she could not close it again and all the bad things flooded out.

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