Thursday Thoughts: more reasons not to fully trust technology with your life

Add Panera Bread to the growing list of companies that can’t even secure your basic personal data

Joining Equifax, Uber, FedEx, DHS, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more, Panera was found to be negligent of its customers’ data, leaving full names, e-mails, home addresses, phone numbers and credit card information exposed in plain text off of its website.

They were first aware of the problem eight months ago, yet the problem remains unfixed eight months after.

Speaking as a software developer, unless you can create self-teaching AI to be flawless programmers and thus debug themselves, human error will always find its way in current technology. That missing semicolon could turn your life upside-down if you trust too much of your life with technology.

If companies that pay big bucks for software engineers can barely secure a database, how are we supposed to trust self-driving technology to safely transport us at high speeds on roads without tracks, or trust cryptocurrencies to be secure, safe stores of life savings?

YouTube’s Demonetization Algorithm rumoured to have sparked the shooting at YouTube HQ

Speaking of poorly implemented technology, YouTube’s demonetization algorithm and its “shoot first, ask questions later” policy is rumoured to have instigated the Nasim Aghdam to commit her “shoot first, don’t ask any questions” act of revenge at YouTube HQ.

Her recent videos complain that her videos no longer get views, implying shadow-banning and demonetization shenanigans. She resorted to violence than civil discourse to resolve the matter.

One might also argue that social media in general has played a role in bringing her to be homicidal: starved of the attention she was once showered with due to social media’s proclivity to raise everyone’s perceived level of self-importance, she went off the deep end in an effort to bring herself back in the spotlight she was accustomed to.

That theory isn’t so far-fetched as it sounds, considering she was also part of many activist groups du jour, trying to make a change in the world when she was apparently incapable of handling smaller scale issues within her own life. The incident, after all, is being treated as a domestic case.

Her activist leanings also generally favoured the suppression of free speech, perhaps raising the likelihood of her using a gun rather than the pen to resolve her disputes.

None of these stories about the YouTube shooting or data leaks should be surprising for any readers of this blog as we’ve repeatedly deduced that technology is imperfect, social media is a completely destructive force, and much of the big data solutions and business practices from today’s big companies are fundamentally exploitable and broken (particularly in the hands of postmodern technocrats). Technology should be used as a tool with caution and not to be blindly trusted as an authority, particularly since the engineers and designers are fallible just like the rest of the human race.

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