Photo from the website of Defense Distributed, a nonprofit group founded by Cody Wilson. The group intends to release CAD files this week for a gun that can be downloaded, completed printed in 3D plastic and assembled to actually discharge as a lethal weapon. A positive use of technology?
Media and communications are in the midst of most sweeping revolution in history, with so many innovations, so rapidly deployed. Significant technological advancements like Google Glass are being being launched with such frequency that no executive could honestly profess to know how to manage it all, much less where it’s all headed. Just twenty-five years ago, blue chip giants like Kodak and Polaroid had been untouchable, unflappable bastions of American business for many decades. Now, Kodak is fighting to emerge from bankruptcy this summer, a fragile shell of its former value. “Digital” truly leveled the playing field. It’s also created a kind of chaos, with the distribution of power to so many people with such different values, and from such different cultures.
Most of the new devices and platforms are innocuous. No one seems to have discovered anything all that harmful to do in the world of friends, fans, and likes. However, if we consider the news lately we might see a different, somewhat threatening picture unfold — one full of many new kinds of risks.
* * *
The Dow may have passed 15,000 for the first time on Friday, but on April 23 there were plenty of investors and analysts in major firms and institutions scratching their heads.
The index fell 150 points in minutes after a hoax on Twitter stated that President Obama had been injured in an explosion at the White House. It took less than 140 characters to put global markets on the precipice of spiraling panic. The speed and accessibility of communication — in this case from hackers getting into the Associated Press — could have sent entire economies in developed nations into months of recovery.
What will the future hold when we combine high frequency trading — billions of dollars moving across markets in milliseconds — with broadly dispatched, erroneous information? Hacking appears to be the new sporting pastime of governments. Now, it isn’t just bombs and hijackers we must worry about; we can also start our days weary of misinformation being fed into Bloomberg terminals.
Twitter Speaks, Markets Listen, and Fears Rise
Forbes reported that the world’s first gun, digitally printed from a 3D printer, is about to be made available. Think of the many ways this could be abused: Go online, download the CAD files, print and assemble your own firearm — one that can potentially pass through the most advanced screening devices and airport metal detectors.
As Andy Greenberg writes, Cody Wilson, founder of the non-profit group, Defense Distributed, has remained committed to the cause. Next week, the 25 year-old University of Texas law student plans to release the 3D-printable CAD documents for a gun he calls “the Liberator.” On Friday, Congressman Steve Israel offered a press release, saying “Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser.”
This Is The World’s First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun
Finally, think about the Boston Marathon bombings. How did they get the plans to make the bombs? Online, of course. The Tsarnaev brothers apparently sourced the insight to construct sophisticated weapons through the English edition website of Inspire, supposedly published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. According to Wiki, Inspire is an important brand-building tool, designed to spread the key messages and goals of AQAP. That sounds like so many nonprofit organizations I have helped. Only, in this case, the content is published with the intent of inspiring homegrown terrorism against the U.S and other Western interests.
It’s all within the last few weeks that these concerns — massive abuses of information and communication — have been newsworthy. And they all relied on emerging channels of media enabled by technology.
The cold reality is that this genie back can never be put back into its bottle. We live in an increasingly volatile, unpredictable time. For every benefit and constructive use of emerging technologies, there will surely be those inventive and malicious enough to find equally destructive applications.
Technology may be our friend, but knowledge accessed so freely across international borders is certain to yield at least a few dark results.
Tags: 3-D printable guns, abuse of technology, Bloomberg Twitter, Dow Jones, internet crime, terrorism social media, Twitter Wall Street
Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media, Social Media | No Comments »