ITGS Online

‘hanging out the dirty linen’ to delve into the ethics of IT’s role in society.

ITGS Online (weekly)

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Do gen’ethics’ exist?

Applied Ethics is the study of concrete situations which can also be hypothetical, in light of more abstract ethical theorizing, in simpler terms, how to decide whether a particular action is right or wrong. Well, we all can agree that artificial intelligence and technology have exponentially grown over the years, but the only thing stopping them are ethics and beliefs. This is an ongoing debate over the years, we train a machine to think like humans, when it comes to problem-solving, that’s great but when it comes to using your personal beliefs or applying an ethical judgment in a situation. What does the machine inherit, a generalized outlook of the person or the developer’s personal beliefs? If something goes wrong, do we question the machine learning or the developer’s personal instincts? What action is supposed to be taken when a Tesla Self Driving Car is involved in a fatal car crash, who do we hold accountable for the following, autonomous vehicles or Musk?

 

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence | Reimagining the Future

Well, talking about how far we have come, as mentioned by Max Tegmark in his TED Talk, he described certain activities being on different levels, starting with the ocean/sea are tasks AI can perform which are Translation, arithmetic, rote memorization, etc. Then, the land area contains, driving, speech recognition, etc, it can be said that AI can perform it but hasn’t mastered it yet. And finally, the top level of the sky has creative components like cinematography, poetry writing, Art, management, etc are the ones we still haven’t achieved yet. Following up with this, when all of these tasks are covered we reach a certain term called the AGI, artificial general intelligence. He believes that, when someone says, there are always jobs humans can do better than machines, indirectly mean that we can’t reach the level of AGI. My personal opinion is that we can reach a certain level of AGI, but it won’t be used to replace human jobs, but to substitute them and making them more efficient. I disagree with Max when he said, reaching AGI will make machines more intelligent, at the end of the day it’s the humans who are the backbone of AI, it can never outgrow it. You know how much a book tells you, there is no exception in technology. Twenty years ago, no one thought a cylindrical device on your table-top could operate your lighting or start playing music, these tasks haven’t really replaced or challenge a human’s capability in any way, they have made our lives easier. I believe AI serves the duty to re-engineer the human mind to increase productivity in innovation. When Bill Gates said, he hires lazy people to do hard jobs because they find an easier way to do it, the AI is that path to an easy way of getting tasks done.

Well, the principle I found the most interesting was AI safety research, when it comes to technology, the dangers of what a piece of innovation entails is the biggest issue. This principle can prevent not only the most harmful bugs but also be less prone to hackers. This principle is the turning point of AI tech technologies because it reduces the risk of the technology turning against us and ‘overtaking the world’ as people say. This principle saves a lot of time and also increases the chances of developing the product more. Talking about the principle of human values, which can be described as AI systems should be designed and operated to be compatible with ideals of human dignity, rights, freedoms, and cultural diversity. But I feel that it is a little difficult to specify what ideal would come under, this sounds philosophical, but I feel it should be in the best interest of the society will be using the product. Coming to social justice is one of the common principles by Tegmark and Andrew Devin. According to Tegmark, it is described as Any involvement by an autonomous system in judicial decision-making should provide a satisfactory explanation auditable by a competent human authority. According to Devin, Social justice is simply this: setting up society in ways that

  •  Doesn’t discriminate based on irrelevant (and in particular uncontrollable) factors
  •  Corrects ways that structures and historical dynamics in society unjustly influence one’s success in life.

This is basically fairness, I guess both of them are genuine would provide the most fruitful result if they were intertwined together to give on a common principle. The one disadvantage I feel is these apply in theoretical situations more than practical. These principles should make use of common court cases or the wicked problems regarding AI in today’s world and then collectively be formed to what is practical and more feasible in today’s world.

Concluding that it is all in the hands of the humans and develops about how much control do they want to transfer onto machines and till what extent. But idealistic ethics and beliefs can’t replace a human judgment because it involves too many factors which influence it, a machine can’t stimulate the same behavior.

AI is good, as long as we enact ethics controls

 

ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

ITGS Online (weekly)

  • “According to Derek & Laura Cabrera, “wicked problems result from the mismatch between how real-world systems work and how we think they work”. With systems thinking, there is constant testing and feedback between the real world, in all its complexity, and our mental model of it. This openness to test and look for feedback led Dr. Fisman to change his mind on the airborne spread of the coronavirus.”

    Tags: ITGS, systems thinking, models, reliability, simulations, wicked problems

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

ITGS Online (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of ITGSonline group favorite links are here.

World’s Right to the World Wide Web

Internet is in the name it interconnects different people from different corners of the world to produce or acquire knowledge about a certain issue or topic.

Is the internet a bare necessity? I want to say yes, but looking around today, we have managed to overuse, exploit and exhaust most of the bare necessities. It is time for the internet now, this argument has not two but too many sides of it. I am sure people would have a different stance on this before, but today with the pandemic going on, the internet is the only solution to everything. It certainly is a blessing in disguise. But the internet being a human right, indirectly enables us to take it for granted. Internet managed to bring distanced people closer together, but the people next to us further apart. Are we ready to face criticism from people behind the screens? Internet is the main channel to exchange information and denying information to anyone is outrightly unfair.

So How long have you been without Internet meme - AhSeeit

The exact number of internet users at this very moment is 4,896,851,200, this still means that forty percent of the country still doesn’t have access to the country. Apart from statistics, let us see what points make which side of the debate more valid. In one part of the world, the internet is used to destroy the meaning of humanity with the use of cyberterrorism, using the privilege to conduct violent acts. Not only this, it has lead to an increase in cases of anxiety and depression, as it paints a perfect picture of how life should be, but that’s just an illusion. It is hard to connect with people because all we see are filtered and polished on the platform, the platform which was mainly to increase the spread of information. Even Newton said it, every force has an equal and opposite reaction force, in the case of the internet it was misinformation, misusing the chance of being anonymous, or framing people.

On the other hand,  The digital divide and equality of access is the biggest issue here, the fact that there still exist people with no internet access, from submitting your homework digitally to job applications. It is just another door to being accepted in society socially, economically, and politically. It is still disappointing, how people in countries like Africa or in Asia still don’t have adequate access to, especially the women or the members lower down in the society. Talking about the positives, they are endless, starting with acknowledging that being online does not guarantee you right and after researching I found out certain examples of internet engagement that helped hold Government and institution and these were much needed when it comes to the level of justice

1.The ‘Arab Spring’- new ways of global reporting on government atrocities

2.Documenting unjustified police violence against African Americans in the US

3. #MeToo campaign — helping to ‘out’ sexual harassment of women by powerful men

Is The Internet A Human Right? | TechCrunch

4.Black Lives Matter movement

 

I feel the situation for this wicked debate is strict protocols and policies by the United Nations which are uniform throughout the world, a limit on what content should be on the internet to administering the use of anonymity There shouldn’t be a way for the countries to get out of this just to enforce the country and leave any stones unturned to a human right. The internet is totally in favor of the social issue of Globalization, which was neglected in the olden days, it certainly has grown over the decades and the countries and certain organization like Jio in India have worked towards providing this service to reaching almost 50%, which is a big deal for a developing country. At the same time, the Indian government has coined and aims to make the term “Digital India, Power to empower”. The idea of giving a voice and power to all the minority groups of India in order to reach the desired outcome of Digital Equality.

To get a different perspective, I asked my parents the same question, their stance was pretty neutral because they have a decent education and job experience in the times when the internet didn’t exist, but they do prefer living with the internet cause it made knowledge easier and more accessible, it made certain tasks more efficient. But they believe that sometimes, knowledge from the internet is half-knowledge, and it is said that half knowledge is as dangerous as no knowledge, elaborating their point, we tend to skim read half of the articles and posts, we tend to just read the headline and continue swiping down. At the end of the day, it is all on us, how we choose to use the internet and to what extent do we credit it for our knowledge.

As it was rightly said in a panel discussion, the internet is not just a right, but it is a superhuman right, it enables you access to a plethora of domains and platforms which are physically impossible to reach. A peculiar thought, if the internet existed in the olden times, could we have steered clear of wars and settled in through a few posts and tweets. And one of

Yin Yang Internet Yoga Sign Icon Stock Vector (Royalty Free) 1447223135

the most obvious points, why is it even called the World Wide Web if it’s not widespread? Well, to conclude, the internet is good and bad, it was one of the best inventions but the exponential evolution of it might not be in our best interest, but again you might have not read this without the internet, so bare necessity? YES.

What would you choose, living in a country with no internet connectivity or in a country with internet sovereignty? I just wanted to end with saying, there is a positive and a negative side of, till they co-exist balancing each other, the world is a safe place, but the future generations are in for a ride. 

 

Is the Internet a human right?

Most would say yes, but it’s important to understand how we’ve come to that conclusion and what we take for granted with internet access.

What is the internet? 

Moss trolls unsuspecting technologically illiterate woman

The internet is a global network of devices connected to each other using network protocols. These days, we rely on the internet for everything. Most students require the internet for their homework, most companies use the internet for business transactions and virtually everyone uses the internet to communicate with others. The internet has come a long way from being a resource tool, yet locating and accessing resources remains one of its greatest advantages. With the internet being necessary for so many things, you could say it’s just as much of a necessity as water, food or shelter.

3.5 Billion people are connected to the internet.

But what about the 4.2 Billion that aren’t? If the internet has so many benefits, what’s stopping everyone from having internet access. One of the most obvious reasons: For some it’s unaffordable. While internet access has been getting cheaper, which is allowing more people to get connected in India, for Lower Income countries internet access is still not cheap enough. Then there’s also the problem of owning a device. Just like internet access, mobile phones have been getting cheaper as well and from personal experience walking through rural areas of Indonesia, even less fortunate families still own a mobile phone. But there’s one final problem that affects Digital Immigrants and the disconnected equally, and that is Digital Literacy.

Digital Literacy, unlike the two previous economic issues, is actually an educational issue. For countries with recent industrial devolpment, digital literacy isn’t so much of a problem since technological advancements can only be made with improved digital literacy. However, for much older developed countries such as the USA or UK, educating the population and teaching them how to use the internet can be difficult. People with less digital literacy are often more scared of the dark underside of the internet, only further enhancing their reasons to not use the internet, which can only be overcome with the government promoting the usage of the internet.

Why the Internet should be a human right

One of the most common arguments against the internet being a human right is that it is not a ‘neccesity’ to live a healthy, fulfilled life in the same capacity that water, food and shelter are. However, with the reasons mentioned above and the fact that the Internet enables access to water, food and shelter as well as its educational benefits, I think not using the internet would be the equivalent of  building your house out of tissue paper or eating rotten food. Sure, you might technically be able to consider it shelter or food but that is not the type of shelter or food that the IDHR works towards, therefore the internet is a necessity and it should be considered a human right.

It’s more than likely that you’re currently reading this blog post online, on a computer or phone, hopefully sitting comfortably. It’s also more than likely that this isn’t your first time on your device today- sometimes I don’t realise just how much we use devices to do everything: texting people, having video calls or research. Even more so in times of covid 19 still being a threat, children as young as elementary or middle school are on their devices the majority of the day for online learning purposes; truly, the use of internet and devices are indispensable in this day and age, despite us taking it for granted sometimes.

Should cybersecurity be a human right?

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The Good

It sounds like so far that internet access should be a human right, so we shall start with that; this is probably the idea you’re most comfortable with, if you’re anything like me and nothing in my first paragraph shocked you.

As you’ve already noticed, the internet is generally quite a convenient thing for us to have, as people who live in middle class homes in a probably western(ised) culture. Estimates claim that nearly 60% of the world’s population now has internet access, aligned with the leaps and bounds of technological progress. Further numbers reveal that most Americans check their phones up to 160 times a day- that’s about once every 10 minutes if you assume even phone-checking distribution throughout 24 hours. Whilst you could argue that we’re becoming addicted to technology (and it will be eventually), you have to absolutely admit the conveniences phones offer us are all just a couple clicks away.

Certainly something that’s enabled this drastic change to occur is decreased pricing of all these services. Imagine writing letters to friends overseas. The cost of the stamp, the paper, the writing utensils, mailing cost, perhaps even shipping cost. The age of the world has reached a point where the general population has an expectation, to not have to send letters overseas as opposed to send a quick text message. It’s this change in expectation, that’s the root of our first reason why internet access should be a human right.

A “sub-section” of convenience would be education. You’d have to be kidding yourself, to say that education would have advanced to where it is now without technology. One example is Duolingo, an app that “teaches” you languages on the go. As well as this, I know as a student that there’s a plethora of websites that offer free online courses, with some that can earn university credits. The pandemic has also boosted this wave of e-learning- whilst some students may say that it’s useless compared to learning in a classroom, for those in circumstances that won’t allow access to that luxury, it’s better than nothing. Learning a new hobby has never been easier, opening up endless opportunities; granted you have internet access.

Myanmar generals shut down internet as thousands protest coup

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A case study for The Good

On a slightly more serious note and less western point of view, you may have already heard of the civil unrest in Myanmar happening currently. To summarise and avoid turning this post into a history essay:

-The military (Junta) ran a dictatorship from about 2011-2014, with an oppressive regime. At these times, the cost of a SIM card was $3000, and private ownership of any communication technology was unheard of.

-In 2014, the country became more democratic and opened up to the rest of the world, for example Qatar’s Ooredoo and Norway’s Telenor getting licenses to develop the country’s technological infrastructure. Internet was relatively uncensored now, with exception to the ongoing Rakhine state conflict and porn.

-In 2018, Facebook banned Myanmar officials for going against their terms and services and inciting violence through their posts. They moved to the Russian site VKontakte, and Facebook subsequently banned all accounts associated with the Myanmar military. 

-Caused by (losing) a recent election, the military declared the country in a year-long state of emergency and had several coups, beginning on February 1st 2021. In early April/late March, they shut down the internet for 18 days, suspending local wireless broadband and imposing curfews on internet for 50 days. The most prominent effects of this was the cut off of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as stunting the country’s own banking system. The latter of this forced them to lift the shutdown.

Articles on the history of their unrest seemed to note the growing prosperity, both economic and technological, that Myanmar had once democracy had been established and freer access to internet was allowed alongside less censorship. The use of social media rapidly grew, and until now their most downloaded apps were Facebook, TikTok, Viper (a japanese VoIP and messaging software) and Instagram. A good illustration of the country’s growth would be a graph of their GDP. Placed alongside a graph of their internet usage, it may be possible to infer that more open internet access has mainly benefitted the country rather than not.

Now in 2021, it’s common to see #whatshappeninginmyanmar and #internetshutdown as of late, trending on Twitter consistently. With the other black lives matter protests still getting publicity (I’d hope), one may deduce that they have similar root causes: fighting for a human right. Surely if the people have similar reactions to different problems, the causes of the problem would also be similar. Existing, internet access…neither being treated as a luxury, but a basic right.

Coincidentally, spreading of news and awareness of social issues has quickly risen to be one of the main uses of social media and the internet these days. Arguably, news headlines are extremely biased in their reporting of certain events, but internet access has made it even easier to spread news via word of mouth- simply retweeting some news could spread it to all your followers simultaneously, and then they could retweet it to their followers etc. The viral nature of certain trends, news or not, means that information can spread incredibly quickly and effectively, especially if people spreading news know their audience well.

How Misinformation Hurts Democracy - Knowledge@Wharton

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The Bad

Despite all of this, we can take this point of the virality of trends and news in a different direction, leading us to our first drawbacks of internet access: misinformation, and it’s knock-on effect on attention span. I can safely say that during my time on Twitter, it’s not uncommon to find someone, or even myself, falling for a tweet announcing “news”. Fake news, as we know, has become a serious issue, and instant spreading of it hasn’t helped. It would seem that humans are wired to be intrigued by the things they want to be- as basic as a dating rumour of their favourite celebrities, or monumental as life on another planet- humans so desperately want to believe in something.

Basically, we have a tendency towards confirmation bias i.e if the fake news appeals to someone, they’ll probably believe it and feel obliged to share it. Explanations for confirmation bias include efficient processing of information and self-esteem, though the prior is more useful in this context. It makes sense: the internet has practically an endless supply of information- real, fake, both at the same time- so it makes sense for one to process the information they already thought was true, to be true. To put a psychological term on it, it’s to avoid “cognitive dissonance”- avoiding holding 2 contradictory beliefs.

Furthermore with viral trends, I’ve noticed significantly throughout my growing up, just how fast they come and go. These days, it’s uncommon for a meme format to last more than a month once out on the internet, for example.

Time for an anecdote

A (weird but cool) side effect of this is a completely changed perception of time. About a month ago (March 2021) I started listening to a song I liked in November 2020, and got hit by an unexpected wave of nostalgia usually reserved for when I’m reminded of events from years ago. This had me wondering: when does something become nostalgic, and why has my sense of it gone so wonky? It had only been 5 months, yet my brain thought it was from years ago.

In addition to this epiphany, I’ve noticed how short my attention span has become as a result of much internet usage. As another anecdote, I tried to watch an anime series over the Easter holidays but simply couldn’t get myself to, no matter how much I liked the plot. To be fair, the series is substantially longer than others I’ve watched, but I couldn’t will myself to finish it. Similarly with youtube videos- recently I’ve found myself constantly pressing the fast forward button like an impulse reaction. Or even with music- I see a song is longer than 4 minutes and press skip, or just a minute through a new song, I feel the need to move on already.

Some research has shown that between 2000 and 2015, attention span has decreased from about 12 seconds, to 8.25 seconds; at this rate, attention span in 2021 should be around 6.75 seconds (if I’ve done the math correctly).

Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been skim reading the past 3 paragraphs, but that’s what the bold font and subtitles are for.

Back to The Bad

Certainly 2 factors influencing this decrease in attention span, are the development of FOMO (fear of missing out) and internet addiction. I’m sure that we’ve all experienced FOMO at some point in our lives, offline or online. Hearing about an event you really want to go to, but having something to do that you’ve been putting off for months, or not being able to resist checking social media one last time before sleeping- I’m definitely guilty of the latter. There have been legitimate studies done on the link between both of the above factors in fact, and it’s not surprising. It makes sense that if one is “addicted” to the internet, they would have a fear of missing out on news/updates from friends/whatever they use the internet for. The absolute surplus of information being released and posted on internet spaces everyday is an infinitely massive black hole that people do get sucked in.

My personal opinion, is that internet addiction is very conflicting. On one hand, it’s almost a coping mechanism for people, much like a drug, which would actually support that internet access should be as free as possible. On the other, most under this spell would be aware of its well-known negative mental effects, and may even argue the opposite; that it shouldn’t be complete human right without strict regulation.

A case study for The Bad

Much like the change in expectation I mentioned earlier, there’s been drastic changes in mindsets of young people as technology and internet access has advanced. Not only has there been more reliance on the the internet as an integral part of (our) lifestyles, but as a consequence, there’s been more awareness around mental health.

A study done in 2016 on 2286  European adolescents, already highlighted at the time that 90+% of people age 16-24 use the internet “at least weekly”. Other statistics display mainly European 14-24 year olds having the highest “number of hours spent on the the internet daily” as of the same year, for example the Netherlands clocking in at 6+ hours. The study also says:

“A major line of research has linked mental health problems to what has been termed problematic Internet use (or pathological or compulsive Internet use), which is often conceptualized as an impulse control disorder similar to gambling addiction and other behavioral addictions.”

However, they also emphasise the importance of differentiating between the effects of different web-based activities:

“In some cases, it could be important because the activity in question is prone to becoming addictive, such as Web-based gambling…[however] For example, 1 study on social media use suggests that passive consumption of social content increases feelings of loneliness, whereas direct communication with friends does not.”

The main method the team used to analyse the implications of the data they collected was the “Depression Anxiety Stress Scale“, developed by the Psychology Foundation of Australia, and is essentially a questionnaire to assess how anxious, stressed or depressed you are. According to the resultant data analysis:

“Regarding consequences of Internet use, finding new friends, learning interesting things, and having fun did not predict DASS scores in model 4. Thus, these “positive” consequences did not seem to act as protective factors. However, Internet use that was perceived to increase life meaning or improve school or work performance was a significant protective factor. The “negative” consequences were more powerful predictors of DASS scores.”

This clearly suggests that despite the positive factors acknowledged, they didn’t seem to have nearly as much impact on mental health as the negative factors did. Later, the report also notes that over-usage commonly led to lack of sleep and deprived mood/withdrawal when not allowed access to the internet. Further in the conclusion, the study confirms that perceived “positive” impacts of internet usage, are actually “motives” instead.

Despite all of this evidence, even the study itself acknowledges the limitations it has, for example lack of in-depth analysis on specific types of content being consumed and generally looking past the individual’s home circumstances. For instance, all/most of the evidence and conclusions made from this study suggest that adolescents should use the internet less to avoid tricking themselves into losing more than they gain. This is a very utilitarian perspective. However, if we were to take a more humanist perspective, you may excuse this addiction to some extent. Humanism, a type of ethical perspective, values autonomy and freedom of choice and expression of an individual i.e adolescents should have the freedom to make their own choices and so if given internet access, it’s not necessarily their fault for negative consequences. Thus leading us to a stance leaning more towards internet access being a human right, as we’re holding adolescents more accountable for their consequences, rather than the fact that they have relatively free internet access.

In addition, this study isn’t supposed to be globally applicable- it studies a western sample, and its conclusions are targeted towards a western reader. Due to digital divide, in some developed countries, internet access isn’t even there, let alone leading adolescents into an addiction as in European/western countries. It’s unreasonable to assume that adolescents there experience the same drawbacks and causes of mental illness, offline or online. Furthermore, more age groups may be affected in different ways across all countries, whilst conclusions made by this study are applicable in some cases, it shouldn’t be taken as the only possible and correct conclusion.

The year of the Internet of 'Critical' Things - Information Age

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Conclusion

In all, I think that internet access should be a human right slightly more than not. It’s access should be emphasised more in developing countries as opposed to western countries, however it can be hard to gauge when regulation of the internet should start happening in any country, especially accounting for the population having experience with internet access.

I believe that education about the internet- benefits and consequences- should be implemented in either case, with either being more emphasised depending on the country and circumstances in order to give people a more balanced outlook to decide for themselves.

 

 

 

Sources:

UN documentation: https://cdnp.prod.managebac.com/uploads/asset/file/48791847/Internet_Statement_Adopted.pdf?Expires=1618454690&Signature=ZcvYalLvPEnGJoqD~m7XOaVmZePUi9N0i4NCm1zfMRWhrPhUiihOtlslVvS4M6O62I8xpWjODIwjAc1CAzx-SBqq7Y-2GjUcjhsivB5Ac3NgAWbznCOz90ImggA-He9nYDUF4Mc~DVeE-v3WuCZ-stf6VCtFAKfesY4k2mhDbIMzqjBB3NsCz3ofLMNjjyO3wcAZmAgsXLPQYyA0joHAcnY3hv7k9ZKqXfE76F9xeE0dkP1aRuIUD~x-zcZQCyZ9nwH2BgV9wN7vTX1S1WAE7lAR9CLoMkfiXdiIi9sfBp~S8DemjNs-xjjQqPxkGQ-pp57urBZ1voB3Stf6yaYP9Q__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAIONV4W2WDGROD6WA

UAB institute blog: https://sites.uab.edu/humanrights/2020/10/12/is-internet-access-a-human-right/

Article from Independant: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/un-declares-online-freedom-to-be-a-human-right-that-must-be-protected-a7120186.html

Myanmar: https://thediplomat.com/2021/04/myanmars-unsustainable-social-media-shutdown/ 

Myanmar internet shutdown: https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/myanmar-junta-orders-shutdown-internet-providers-say 

More: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/02/myanmar-coup-military-expands-internet-shutdown 

Why coup happened: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55902070 

Percentage with internet access: https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/#:~:text=How%20many%20people%20use%20the,the%20internet%20via%20mobile%20devices.

More meta stats: https://ourworldindata.org/internet

Even more meta stats: https://smallbiztrends.com/2020/03/2020-mobile-phone-usage-statistics.html#:~:text=A%20study%20reveals%2066%25%20of,Love%20Affair%20with%20their%20Phones.

Confirmation bias: https://www.simplypsychology.org/confirmation-bias.html

Attention span stats: https://www.wyzowl.com/human-attention-span/#:~:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20our%20attention,or%20object%20for%209%20seconds.

FOMO study 1: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-59228-003

FOMO study 2: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235285321730007X

Mental health and the internet study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4963606/

Humanism: https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/definition-of-humanism/

 

The Internet has grown drastically over the past few years and most of us wouldn’t know what to do now without it. I have grown in a world where technology is used every day and where we are surrounded by it. Both my parents are quite tech-savvy and technology was used often at home but only when it needed to be used. A problem that comes with technology and our access to the Internet 24/7 is the social issue between people and machines, the Internet is helpful, and in most cases quite good, but you can develop negative relationships with it, the fact that it is available 24/7 means that people use it 24/7 and addictions develop. This is why at home, the Internet, and technology as a whole, were, and still are, only used when necessary, sometimes we might go a bit off track, but never long enough to have to worry about it. But I am aware, and always have been, that there are other people, some of them quite close to me, who don’t have the option to access all of this whenever they need and this inequality of access can be a big issue and one that keeps growing.

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Over the past year, we’ve all been affected by COVID-19 and what it brought with it. We were all forced to stay home for over two months (in my case) and had to connect to classes and other regular activities through the Internet. This was relatively easy for me and those around me. We all had access to technology and the Internet from our homes, and although times were quite rough, we managed to live with it for those two to three months and had no major issues in this area. But we never really stopped to think about how some people didn’t have this access to education during this time due to the digital divide that has been created.

During the COVID-19 crisis, time to be more about transformation and less  about technology | Digital | Campaign Asia

Everyone should have access to the Internet, it should be a right, but it isn’t the case. But it shouldn’t just be access to the Internet being a human right, but also our personal data being protected no matter what and our privacy not being broken. This shouldn’t be a discussion, there is so much information about every individual on the Internet that computers could know us better than our own family. While some of this data can help us and the development of technology, it could also break and destroy us.

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We need to be responsible when we are online, we shouldn’t share sensitive information or stuff that we wouldn’t want people getting their hands on. There have been many cases, too many to count, in which photos, videos, or messages from individuals have reached thousands, even millions, of people, and no matter what one tried to do, this could not be deleted. It doesn’t take long at all to spread things on the Internet which is why, as we have all been told sometime during our lives, you need to think before you post and think about what effects this shared information could have on you right now and in the future.

98 Must-Know Data Breach Statistics for 2021 | Varonis

Even though our data should be protected and information about us shouldn’t be shared between companies and other parties, we also need to be careful with what we share and be aware of the consequences of our actions.

In an article for CSO, Dan Swinhoe mentions 15 of the biggest data breaches from the 21st Century, all concerning data being stolen or leaked including usernames, passwords, bank account details, phone numbers, etc. An example would include Yahoo’s data breaches in 2013 and 2014. According to Swinhoe, the 2013 attack compromised personal information from 1 billion users, which 10 months later was revealed to have been 3 billion users, all of their user accounts. The 2014 attack compromised the personal information of around 500 million users. Swinhoe also mentions breaches in other companies such as eBay, Adobe, LinkedIn, Marriott International, MySpace, Canva, or Dubsmash.

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These breaches in major companies show how easy it is for our personal information to be accessed and the care that we need to take to protect ourselves from attacks and mysterious characters. Although we should have a right to the privacy of our data, we should also act responsibly and carefully on the Internet, we shouldn’t trust everyone and everything we see as not everyone has the best intentions in mind. We need to be aware of the dangers of the Internet and act accordingly.

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The US elections this year were big, they were an anticipated event and the Internet played a big role in it. Social media was used more than ever in elections and this had its effects. Thousands of tweets were sent out every day reaching millions, but the way this information spreads can be “played” around with. Politicians can access technology in different ways and through algorithms they can reach different members of the society that they could not reach in other ways, giving them more opportunities to spread their campaigns.

US election 2020 polls: Who is ahead - Trump or Biden? - BBC News

And lies can also be spread quickly. We don’t know who we can or can’t trust and this might lead us to make poor decisions. Just like information about campaigns can reach millions, lies about politicians can spread just as quickly. All of this has impacts on a global scale. People are becoming more and more gullible and believe everything they read online which can have many negative effects on, in this case, political campaigns, but also things from our daily lives.

The Biggest Lies on the Internet - Imgflip

But giving everyone access to the Internet is a complicated and expensive task. It isn’t something that happens overnight and it takes a lot of effort and money from many people. It is something that we need to work on and find the best way to give everyone access to the Internet, a project like this will take long but it is worth it. However, individuals need to be educated to act appropriately online. This is also a very complicated task and probably one that can’t be achieved, but if as children grow we teach them how to act properly online, there might be some hope to make the Internet a safer place for everyone.

The Growth Of The Internet: From 1990 to 2019 - Absolute Digital

The Internet is great, there’s no denying that, but its growth is also scary and dangerous. It isn’t just this growing danger that should scare us, but also the fact that while for some of us this other “world” gets bigger every day, for others it just moves further and further away, and this is something that together we should all try to overcome. We need to break that digital divide and give everyone the opportunity that they deserve to have access to the Internet 24/7.

 

Here’s the original article by Dan Swinhoe

https://www.csoonline.com/article/2130877/the-biggest-data-breaches-of-the-21st-century.html

ITGS Online (weekly)

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