Over the past decade, new technologies have come about having astronomically powerful impact on the economy. The leaps and bounds that the technology industry has taken weren’t always for the better. The downsides to all of these victories in man vs. machine have come with their problems and a price. These downfalls are far from over and we can expect a global conflict at the hands of technology in the near future. Technology has been used as a theft device in many respects, from jobs to copyrighted property. With unrestricted sources such as the internet, the ways to slow down this moral massacre are few and far between.
Many companies fear technology more than they embrace it. Taking the giant leap into the twenty-first century has frightened some veteran companies to enough to keep them from attempting anything as simple as a corporate website. In 1999, there were over 4,000 lawsuits against technologies. All of these claims were staked on the theory that these new technologies were a threat to the companies’ clients and profits (Economic Evaluation).
Such technologies included handheld devices for stock market observation or software that stored passwords to important restricted files. Devices such as these were originally designed to simplify the process of purchasing and trading stocks. Like-wise, such programs were developed to quicken access to files that may be time-crucial in monetary factors (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission).
Morality can also be weighed in as a large factor in the decision to integrate newer technologies into your personal corporate empire. Many business owners in their middle ages feel it down-right immoral to recruit machines as field workers (Atlas of U.S. Economy). A product still in beta-stage is one of a new breed of concepts. It is considered part of a new line of ‘smart technologies.’ This particular device has its user fill out a list of preferences and once completed, it acts as its user’s stock broker. It does all the bidding necessary according to its owner’s financial position and risk-taking preferences. However, this device may remain unreleased longer than originally anticipated due to strong protests by professional stock brokers and financial conservatives alike (Hugh Watson).
White-collar jobs aren’t the only district of profession that have been and will continue to be greatly affected by new technologies. The music industry has grown by leaps and bounds, especially in the last two years, with the advancement of a technology known as pro-tools. Pro-tools allow you to digitally record, edit, and duplicate your own music into a professional sounding project. Digital cut and paste techniques have simplified the recording process by enabling audio enhancements that older recording engineers would salivate over (Kelin J. Kuhn). The use of pro tools can turn any aspiring garage musician into the next record chart topper by opening the doors to any within a middle-class budget. However, many feel that this is perhaps a door that should have remained closed to these new arrivals. These technologies make much of the talent once needed to create these aural masterpieces obsolete (Impact Fall).
Even communication has been revolutionized time and time again by today’s advancements. The ever-growing fad of cell phones manages to multiply itself at an incredible rate year after year. With their introduction to society in the 1980’s, cell phones were rarely used. They were bulky and considerably expensive to maintain. Twenty years later, that same concept built off the idea of mobile communication can not only be found in the hands of corporate executives, but the children of part-time dishwashers. The resources needed to obtain and activate a cell phone have drastically decreased and continue to do so as the technology becomes more and more available (James M. O’Neill). Headset devices and microphones simplify the already childishly easy protocol of talking on the cell phone by freeing up the speaker’s hands. Around the bend for this phenomenon is a headset and microphone much like the ones available now, difference being the lack of central device. The actual phone part of this pocket communication network will but cut out all together. The receiver for the orbiting satellites will be in the earpiece of the device and dialing will be voice activated. The only thing keeping this advancement from release is a potential health risk that is still being investigated by health boards from possible radiation leaking from the receiver which would be located right next to the aural cavity (Kelin J. Kuhn).
Perhaps in the most literal interpretation of theft, piracy is a fast-growing phenomenon among adults and children alike. A face the music industry would like to (but never will) soon forget is that of a man named Shawn Fanning. Shawn Fanning created a program named Napster named after a nickname given to him by his friends. Napster made it possible for users to ‘share’ music files on their computer with other people simply by putting it in a folder that could be browsed by another computer outside the LAN. This angered many artists including a man named Lars Ulrich. Ulrich best known as the drummer for Metallica, sued Fanning and several frequent Napster users for illegally downloading Metallica MP3 files. This spelled the end for Napster. This pioneer gnutella program would eventually release a subscription version of its originally free program. However this release went ignored by a public now hooked on the file sharing frenzy (The Arizona Office of Public Affairs). The main gravitation of people flowed to another program known as Morpheus for their file sharing needs. Two key differences between Morpheus and Napster were that Morpheus didn’t just offer music, but additionally offered videos, documents, and software to any of its non-paying members. Also, it delivered the ability to download these media files from multiple users simultaneously, thus increasing download speeds drastically. Morpheus was the merged product of two sponsor-supported companies known as Music City and Kazaa. In the midst 2001 and all of Morpheus’ success, Music City made the overall fatal decision to follow suit with Napster and become a pay service. After this, Kazaa divided from the Morpheus merge to form its own program. Since many users agreed with Kazaa’s decision, the file sharing was not slowed at all. Kazaa’s rise in popularity couldn’t have come at a better time for the frequent internet user, this being because the rise of broadband internet subscribers was flourishing. Broadband internet (which is now used by 65% of CT residents and 47% of the total U.S. residents) increases internet interaction speed by exponential amounts. The simple act of downloading the newest Hollywood hit which would have taken days on dial-up internet can now be completed in a time window as small as an hour or two (Bob Jacobson).
The world leader in computer technologies, going by the name of Microsoft Inc. was subjected to an attack of piracy upon the release of their recent popular operating system Windows XP. The ‘Professional’ version of this software was pirated so massively that its product code had to be disabled from windows updates on the Microsoft site. Furthermore, one month before the scheduled legal release of this OS, it was already installed and running on 30,000 computers nationwide. This is a perfect example of one of the biggest known piracy problems. The ability to obtain and/or exploit a technology before it’s even supposed to be available to the general public. There’s a trial scheduled to commence on the piracy issue as a whole in early 2004 (Hugh Watson).
These issues cannot be solved with one simple solution. They come with many consequences attached no matter what is decided. Advancement is inevitable and can be very beneficial to any business. However, many developers of newer technologies see it fit to design their product for stealing or destroying. Regulation is most likely one of the best possible solutions to this problem. Many businesses could flourish if only they’d give into the obstacle of technology and accept it. Perhaps they wouldn’t be so apprehensive to do so if so many people weren’t developing their ideas only to hurt others morally and financially.