New Media Culture 6
My sixth and final blog entry is going to focus on the idea of, “how can we trust technology?” In some ways this goes back to the whole idea of nostalgia about the future or the pessimism of dystopian and disunited future in which instead of making our lives better like in Star Trek it has made things worse like in Blade Runner. Obviously, these views are extreme compared to the concepts we have been analyzing over the past few days, specifically the movie we watched over the previous two class periods “Hacking Democracy” in which supposedly error proof machines that take the possibility of human error out of the equation can actually very simply and easily be hacked to change the outcomes of elections. While this isn’t necessarily a case of the machines rising up against their human masters (like in Terminator), but rather humans being able to manipulate the machines to make it so the outcome of an election goes a certain way. The main point is that the fact that there is no check in place to verify the machines vote totals because they are in theory “unfailable” this means that if someone does hack them and change vote totals no one will ever know. It was interesting in the way the video portrayed how completely alone the people were that actually cared enough to challenge the authority of the system. It was also very interesting to see how based on the region of the country this was occurring in, both the Republicans and Democrats were skeptical of these machines. Yet despite this, nothing was being done to correct the problem. Essentially it left me personally feeling disenfranchised more so then in the past because machines counting and flipping vote totals ends up realistically meaning that it doesn’t matter who votes for who, in the end, it matters whose the last person to touch the memory card, because they are the person who decides the outcome of an election in a certain region of the country. Essentially setting things up for one big conspiracy. I always worry about technology and computers (one of the reasons I have always hated taking online classes or even tests online - as can be seen as recently as Quiz 4, in which you are never sure if you are being scored accurately because there is no paper trail). The positive side of things is that it is very rarely malicious, but at the same time if only tech savvy people knows how to manipulate or change computer programming or if a code is broken or fails, then that small group of people have a tremendous edge over the rest of the population.