As I already wrote a post about Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence- Take it or leave it), today I am even more concern, how dangerous it could be, if not used properly and when too much power and control is given to it.
Just recently I had a lot of alarming situations regarding digital services and security.
Few days ago my credit card in one of the Polish banks was blocked by the bank because of the suspicious transaction made for the amount of 800 PLN. I got a message from the bank and when checking my card, I also found few other transactions with lower amounts which I haven’t made, so I made a claim at my bank and I am waiting for it to be solved. From this perspective I think it is ok that the bank blocked my card as it can’t be used by unauthorised persons/ accounts, yet how can we protect ourselves in the future in the digital world, full of information and access to everything, turning our lives into more and more digital in every aspect of our lives?
Some weeks ago I was buying a service in my city- a massage at spa and I was paying online with another card. During the payment, I was asked to put my PIN code and I did it…even tough my intuition was alarmed (just for clarity, I believe everything happens for a reason and as much as I try to be careful, the way we live today makes us distracted and we all make mistakes). Ok, nothing bad happened with my card and I hope it is safe, but the situation repeated itself yesterday. First what happened is I got my mobile phone bill and I got my heart attack as it was nearly 200 EUR…! How it happened? As I don’t have stable connection at my home as I didn’t need it before, I was using my mobile data. When I started to need more data, I have added option called ‘Unlimited’ to have unlimited data as the name and description suggested. The price of this additional package was nearly the same as my current option, so it seemed like an unlimited package. But for some reason, my bill instead of 39 EUR altogether was nearly 200 EUR….! Of course I made a written claim at the provider and I am waiting for response. Also I wanted to pay my previous bill and the application showed me two options, there were two payment options, by card directly or by PayPal. My PayPal account contains the credit card which was just blocked by my bank, so I have real concerns whether all the data are really safe there and I don’t want to add another card, therefore I chose payment by card to put my debit card data. I went through the process and at the last stage, I was again asked to put my PIN…! This time of course I haven’t done that. I felt such a stress at that moment, like every possible private boundary is being invaded by such actions. Then I felt, what if this card was blocked as well? I wouldn’t be able to do anything! No access to my money at all. Then I though that if I am not able to solve this issue on time, my phone can be blocked due to unpaid bill which I have full right to question. I won’t have any internet and I won’t be able to work. If I am not able to work (and currently it is only online work that I do), I am not able to earn money. If I am not able to earn money, I am not able to live my life. My financials would be fully in control by the bank and I would have no access to it, even though it might have all been mistakes. I know my part of responsibility is not to put so much data and surely to protect my PIN code, but in fact, if all our information is in our phones, how can we really protect ourselves? How can we be sure that what we have in our phones is safe and nobody will use it to their advantage? I believe, we can’t. Or at least not at the moment. Having all this in mind, I am very much concerned about the direction of technological advancement.
At that moment I felt enormous fear and I saw and felt all possible consequences of giving away too much control to technology. Technology that is so powerful and which may cause so much harm and chaos, that we could not ever imagine, if again, not balanced with the right approach and education. My consciousness, my being at that moment shrunk to a size of the little grain. I am not able to describe that feeling. Really, it was terrifying. I felt like I had no control over my life, like I was in prison. Like I was defeated by technology which is supposed to help me and my make life easier. Like I have totally lost my freedom and control over my life.
In Greece, based on new measurements, people are being scanned wherever they go- in stores, cinemas, restaurants, cafes, etc. They are being scanned either with their Green Pass or the Test result. Both must have a QR code, which contains your personal health information, which is collected through the governmental website. People who scan you before you enter the place, the employees, they do it with their personal mobile phones. Do we actually know what they are scanning from our phones? And in general what we all share by scanning our phones by one another? Is this ‘only’ our health data or perhaps everything that we have there? Where is actually the boundary between our personal and shared information? How can another person just scan your phone? Aren’t we violating our own rights day by day? What would be the consequences? Can our personal data be manipulated by whoever? I believe everything is possible. Who will be responsible for mistakes?
Why we should be more aware, careful and rely on ourselves as much as we can?
Another situation from last week that I had. Currently, while establishing a company here in Greece, I am struggling with bureaucracy and I also had a problem with my car. Details are not important but what is, is the fact that all this is very stressful. When you are stressed, you lose your focus. I park my car every day in different place as I park it on the street. I always remember where I park but due to the stress and the fact I wasn’t using my car for some time, I was not really sure where I parked it. My phone automatically saves my car position on the map application (without me never setting it…). So, I checked the location and I went there. My car was not there. I almost got a heart attack. I felt terrified again. I got home and calmed down and I started to think, that perhaps I parked somewhere else. I went to check other streets around where it happens for me to park. Yes, I found my car and of course I felt relief. If I relied only on application, I would have been sure that my car was stolen.
I believe that we need global and local digital solutions as we are evolving and for us to live more freely, we need some unified systems, yet, we need to be very careful and still balance the global with the local. We need to balance technology and humanity.
Therefore, some questions arise.
What shall be the financial systems globally and locally?
Is digital-only money safe and stable?
How shall we handle digital data on every level going forward?
Where is the thin line between my private data and public data?
What are our individual rights as human beings in the digital world?
How can we handle responsibility and freedom issues in the digital world?
And many other questions shall be asked for us to start really taking care of our lives and evolve consciously as humanity.
Today I am really concerned but I still believe in the power of humanity and unity. I believe in love and kindness toward one another and I can only tell you that no matter how complicated and unclear Greek system is, the only was I am able to solve any issue, is in human to human situation.
I am grateful for being human.