Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not everything computers do is good

I've tended to post a rosy view of the impact of computers on society, yet we all know that people can do bad things with computers: design bombs, hack into private data, steal credit cards, even organise atrocities. I'm not unaware of this and my book's penultimate chapter will focus on the darkside of computing: hacking, spam and cyberwar.
The recent shocking events in Norway possibly illustrate how people can become isolated and dangerously deranged through their use of the web. This excellent article in the Guardian newspaper discusses how online anonymity and the effect of the filter bubble can serve to exacerbate a person's tendency towards extreme beliefs. We all hope few people act on these beliefs.