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Is technology becoming too dangerous?

More to the point, have all the constant advancements in technology now made it too dangerous?

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Who doesn’t like getting their hands on some cool new tech? We all love it when a new and advanced smartphone comes out, or a cool app that lets you do things you’ve never been able to do before – even stuff like drones are super fun and exciting.

Technology has advanced to the point where regular people can easily hack into your computer or phone and steal loads of personal information.
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The technology whirlwind has taken the world by storm, and we’re seeing more and more developments each day. It’s come to the point where almost every aspect of your life is helped in some way by technology. Typically, we see this as a good thing, but, what if we threw a spanner in the works and looked at it as a negative? More to the point, have all the constant advancements in technology now made it too dangerous?

There are three main arguments afoot here; the dangers of trusting technology, the growing cyber threats, and this idea of artificial intelligence knowing a bit too much.

Humans are putting too much trust in technology

This first argument is all about lazy humans relying on technology to do things for them. The best example of this is in a car. Nowadays, people are trusting their cars to park for them, stop for them, or even full-on drive for them. Needless to say, this is potentially dangerous, and we already see car accidents as a result of technology. As the Dolman Law Group states, car accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injuries, and there are thousands of them every year. We’ve seen people in Tesla cars end up in fatal crashes because they were using autopilot and not focusing on the road. Even a more small-scale problem is people bumping into other cars when parking because they were too dependent on the parking sensors. Are we putting too much trust in technology, and is this dangerous? There is indeed an argument to say that this is the case.

The increased risk of cyber threats

Technology has advanced to the point where regular people can easily hack into your computer or phone and steal loads of personal information. You could be chatting to someone on Grindr, and they could easily be trying to get a little bit of personal info to gain access to all your sensitive online information. Many people have had money stolen thanks to cybercriminals, and the superfast technological advancements are making the online world a more dangerous place by the second.

Artificial Intelligence keeps on learning

Lastly, there’s the worry of AI learning too much information and getting to the point where it develops its own sentience and is no longer under human control. This isn’t something we need to worry about right now, but it’s a possibility many people – including Elon Musk – worry is on the horizon. Will technology get to the point where it can literally take over the world? Who knows…

So, is technology becoming too dangerous? There are definitely arguments here that will make you rethink how you look at technology. The biggest way to prevent tech from being a serious problem is to make sure it’s continuously being monitored, and we don’t depend on it too much.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Forget the kitties – cryptocelebrities are the latest blockchain money spinner

Isn’t there an easier way in this online world? Surely there’s something you can invest in that can’t get broken or stolen and doesn’t need to be kept wrapped in cotton wool. The world of cryptocurrency has exactly what you need – just invest in a virtual Kanye West or Angelina Jolie.

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Take a look in the financial press and you’ll see that while there’s the usual doom and gloom surrounding the economy, there are also more opportunities than ever to invest in unconventional ways. The phrase “alternative investments” is one that has become commonplace, and has come to be recognized as anything that tracks a little differently to the broader economy.

Having some alternative investments in your portfolio makes plenty of sense – it is a classic example of what our parents told us about not keeping all our eggs in one basket, and it has encouraged people in general to become far more savvy about investments. It has also led to some truly bizarre investment options.

What sort of alternative investments?

Before we get into the surreal world of cryptocelebrities, it’s worth thinking about some of the options that are growing in popularity but are less “out there.” Investments like gold and silver are becoming more popular among everyday investors due to their resilience in times of trouble and the ability to trade them simply online. The smartphone age has also brought the world of currency trading to the masses. Online tutorials give guidance on how to trade Forex successfully for beginners, and smartphone apps make it easy to set up an account and even get advice from a virtual stockbroker.

Also, when you buy something collectible that is going to increase in value, that’s a classic example of an alternative investment. We’ve seen investors choose to plough their money into classic cars, fine art and even bottles of vintage wine. Of course, that’s fine if you know what you are doing and have the right facilities. Otherwise, the car goes rusty and won’t start, the art gets damaged and some fool drinks or drops the wine.

Isn’t there an easier way in this online world? Surely there’s something you can invest in that can’t get broken or stolen and doesn’t need to be kept wrapped in cotton wool. The world of cryptocurrency has exactly what you need – just invest in a virtual Kanye West or Angelina Jolie.

The cryptocelebrities phenomenon does provide an interesting glimpse at some of the bizarre ways the new world of blockchain can be used. It will be an interesting space to watch, to see just what they come up with next.
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Welcome to the world of cryptocelebrities

The idea is a variation on the theme of cryptokitties, cute virtual kittens that you can buy, sell and even breed. All transactions are conducted in Ethereum and a new cryptokitty is “born” every 15 minutes. The game had all the necessary ingredients – it’s fun, it has the cute factor and the built-in limitations mean that there is scarcity, which drives up value. It was a resounding success, and one that almost brought the Ethereum network to a standstill last December.

But who wants a virtual kitty when you can have a virtual Ellie Goulding? It’s a bizarre question, but one to which the makers of cryptocelebrities are rapidly finding an answer.

The game is reminiscent of those football trading cards that the boys in the playground were so obsessed by in years gone by. When you buy a contract on a cryptocelebrity, it looks very much like one of those cards. But the point is, just like the celebrity, it is unique. There is only one Ellie Goulding, one Kanye West, one Donald Trump.

Unlike the cryptokitties, when you buy a cryptocelebrity, there is no guarantee it is yours for long. Every cryptocelebrity is available to buy if you’re willing to pay the price. And it will only increase in value.

Once you’ve purchased, let’s say, Jason Statham, for 0.8 ETH, he will show up with you as the owner. His card will also show his new price of, let’s say, 0.98 ETH. Anyone can buy him from you, and you will get most of the profits. If you’re desperate to hang on to him, and who can blame you, you can buy him back and the price will now be around 1.2 ETH. And so it goes on.

The cryptocelebrity contract shows a unique image of the celebrity, the current contract owner, the price at which the contract was bought and the new price at which the contract is now available. It also shows how many times the contract has been traded. Currently, the most-traded and highest-value contract is that of Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum. He’s been traded over 30 times and his contract value stands at over 20 ETH (£10,000).

A genuine investment?

It’s easy to see that cryptocelebrities offer an opportunity to make some quick money, but this also has the look of a pyramid scheme that will have a limited lifespan. By all means get in there, have a little fun and make a few trades, but for a sustainable investment, it would be wise to look elsewhere.

The cryptocelebrities phenomenon does, however, provide an interesting glimpse at some of the bizarre ways the new world of blockchain can be used. It will be an interesting space to watch, to see just what they come up with next.

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Technology

4 Potential avenues for the next social network

Looking at the general tech landscape, we have a few ideas as to what potential new social media could look like.

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Over the years, three things have become very clear about social networks. The first is that broadly speaking, they’re drastically altering our day-to-day lives and the ways in which we interact with one another. The second is that the big players – namely, Facebook and Twitter – have probably become too big to be displaced. Suffice it to say if Facebook can’t be defeated by a recent, massive privacy scandal (it’s rebounded completely since the Cambridge Analytica news went public), it’s probably going to stay on top. The third thing that’s become clear, however, is that entrepreneurs and developers will never stop trying to open up new avenues for social networking interest.

If we could predict exactly what these avenues might look like, we probably wouldn’t be writing about it – we’d be trying to make money off of the ideas. Nevertheless, looking at the general tech landscape, we have a few ideas as to what potential new social media could look like.

1. Platforms For Women

This is something we’d never have predicted a few years ago, particularly since so much of modern social media is specifically about interacting with the opposite sex and sparking relationships. However, there are also growing concerns about women being harassed or otherwise treated unfairly online, and one company has also raised the issue of women having to make “carefully curated social media presences.” To solve this problem, Maverick has emerged as a female-only social media platform daring girls to be their authentic selves. It’s a fascinating concept that could certainly catch on and inspire imitation.

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2. Social Gaming Platforms

Gaming is already quite social, but we wouldn’t really call games social networks just yet. Instead, think back to earlier internet days, and the kinds of arcade sites that would allow for usernames and chats. This feels like something an innovative company could bring back with a little more organization, either tapping into retro arcades (which have been made popular again by mobile devices) or even casino games. Players today can visit any mainstream casino site and find dozens of the most popular games, along with other people playing. There’s nothing to stop a developer from building on this idea to combine social interaction and gaming – something like a virtual version of an in-person arcade where people might hang out.

3. Mixed Reality Platforms

Perhaps the most obvious avenue for social media, though one there’s been surprisingly little buzz about, is mixed reality. Encompassing both VR and AR, this is a concept that would allow for a more visual component to social interaction online. In VR we could actually walk up and speak to digital versions of our friends or family members; in AR we could control avatars of ourselves moving about digitally rendered 3D communities. Neither idea would be quite so convenient as basic, text- and image-based social media, in that real-time interaction would be needed. But it’s still a very intriguing concept that someone, at some point, is going to get just right.

4. Alternate Reality Platforms

This is not merely the same thing as mixed reality, at least as we’re describing it. We’re referring instead to an idea that was posted about at an Irish tech site, known as UHIVE. It’s actually a little bit tricky to grasp (it uses the blockchain to design a social media platform), but the interesting thing is that it comes packed with two worlds: the Civilized World and The Grey World. The former is essentially a version of an ordinary social network: you are yourself, you interact with real friends, there are social norms, etc. The Grey World, however, is an obscure, alternate reality that, as the write-up says, has successfully revived anonymity for users. It is, by the sound of things, a bit of a free-for-all for creative energy and anonymous social browsing. This sort of balance, between real and artificial social spaces, is something that could certainly catch on.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Types of women that should be avoided on dating websites

It is a common belief that fraudsters are mostly men. It is a myth that suggests a brutal unshaven man in a stocking over his head, sitting in front of his laptop and monitoring unprotected victims. However, female users of dating websites can also be dangerous in these terms. So it is a good idea to be aware of what users should be avoided.

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Dating websites are a nice option both for just having fun and communicating, and for finding a partner to start romantic relationships. There are numerous dating websites, offering different services, modes and options, to provide an outstanding experience to the users. Many people use such services for their own reasons, whether it is finding an affair, finding a potential family, or finding like-minded people to chat with.

One of the most popular options is video dating chat because it allows to communicate more directly and, if the person is looking towards relationship, to identify whether you like the person or not much faster than it is possible in messengers. However, even video chat cannot guarantee that you are talking just to a random stranger, not the user who has registered for a purpose and is searching ways to carry out a fraud.

It is a common belief that fraudsters are mostly men. It is a myth that suggests a brutal unshaven man in a stocking over his head, sitting in front of his laptop and monitoring unprotected victims. However, female users of dating websites can also be dangerous in these terms. So it is a good idea to be aware of what users should be avoided.

Female Users That Should Be Avoided

There are different types of users lurking on dating websites, looking for naive people who will send them some money, or those who does not protect their data properly. So, if you meet a user, whether it is male or female, always make sure that none of your sensitive data like passwords or emails or something of that kind are available to him or her.

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If you chat via the webcam, make sure you remove your bank cards from the table.

Also, try to use VPN to hide your IP, if you are not sure you want the other person to know your location.

For the purpose of this article, the reason why female users may be specifically tricky in communication is that there are some users who really hook men with their “top model” appearance and then start asking some expensive presents, or small sums of money to pay for this and that, but on a regular basis. It is notable that some of them do that just for love of the game, while others make it their full-time job and earn their living.

With this in mind, therefore, it is a good idea to be very cautious with women who are always with super professional makeup and hairdo, and who does not seem to have any other serious and proper occupation.

It is also a good idea to avoid any women who asks about financial and property issues of the user a lot. Such users can be assistants to a team of hackers who make efforts to identify the location and level of wellness of the user, to steal anything valuable.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

55% of couples argue about device overuse, according to study

Although devices often help to bring couples closer together, they can also push them apart and potentially put relationships at risk.

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In today’s digital world, it has become commonplace for couples to depend on devices to communicate and stay connected to each other. However, according to the latest Kaspersky Lab study, there are not only pros of “connected love” but also cons that should be taken into account. For example, 55% of couples have argued about device overuse, highlighting how although devices often help to bring couples closer together, they can also push them apart and potentially put relationships at risk.

For example, 51% have argued about a device being used during a meal or face-to-face conversation. In addition, over half (55%) of people have argued with their partner due to too much time being spent on a device, which is higher (58%) for couples that live together.
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Many people today depend on devices to stay connected with their friends and family, and the same is true for those in relationships. Indeed, couples today frequently use devices and online messaging services to strengthen their relationship: 8-in-10 people always stay in touch with their partner online when they are apart from each other and 62% of people agree that communicating through devices and the internet helps them feel closer to their partner, especially for people who are dating but do not live together (75%).

This digital devotion also extends to shared devices, as 53% of people say their relationship has improved since sharing their online activities, such as accounts and devices. Clearly, there are positives that come from using devices, but there are also some negatives that need to be considered.

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The research found that device usage can also lead to arguments between loved ones about a range of device-related issues such as overuse and cybersecurity incidents.

For example, 51% have argued about a device being used during a meal or face-to-face conversation. In addition, over half (55%) of people have argued with their partner due to too much time being spent on a device, which is higher (58%) for couples that live together, compared to 49% of those who are dating but live separately. This suggests that people don’t like feeling neglected and want their partner’s attention to be on them when they are together.

But excessive device usage isn’t the only thing that couples bicker about. Access to devices is also clearly a source of friction in relationships. A quarter (25%) have argued about whose turn it is to use the device, while forgetting to charge (45%) and losing (28%) devices are also causes of disagreements among couples.

Finally, there are cybersecurity issues to consider. Nearly a quarter (24%) of couples have argued after one person infected the device with malware and 19% have rowed after one partner lost money online by mistake or because of malware. As you would expect, couples that share devices are significantly more likely to argue about the issues mentioned above, highlighting how, when it comes to modern relationships, devices can be foes as well as friends.

“The capabilities of modern devices have created huge opportunities for couples, enabling them to constantly stay connected and build their relationship even when they are not together,” said Dmitry Aleshin, VP for product marketing, Kaspersky Lab. “But, there are cons as well as pros to take into account. These same devices which help couples to secure their love when they are apart, can also cause arguments when they are used irresponsibly. By making a conscious effort to take care of their digital lives – Including devices, accounts and online activities – and to not neglect their partners in the physical world, people can enjoy the many benefits that the digital world offers without upsetting their other half.”

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With people today spending so much time online and cybersecurity risks continuing to become more prevalent, they need to make sure that they are protected from the latest cyberthreats. One way to do this is through tools (such as Kaspersky Internet Security) that allow couples to communicate with each other without having to worry about being compromised by malware or having their personal data fall into the wrong hands.

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NEWSMAKERS

Grindr discloses users’ HIV status to other companies

A data analysis conducted by a research firm showed that the popular gay dating app Grindr is sharing its users’ HIV status with two other companies.

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So much for privacy?

Grindr is in a sticky situation after it was found that the hookup app shared its users HIV status and location data to other companies, according to a BuzzFeed News report by Azeen Ghorayshi and Sri Ray. The hookup app specifically furnished two companies, Apptimize and Localytics, with data on users’ HIV status and the last date they were tested for the virus.

The same BuzzFeed News article cited Antoine Pultier, a researcher from Norwegian non-profit organization SINTEF, who found that users’ HIV status was sent to two other companies, along with their email addresses, phone ID, and GPS data. SINTEF also noted that Grindr was passing on user data to advertising companies, with it being the type of information that the app’s users may not want shared beyond Grindr.

SINTEF was commissioned to produce the report by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, which first publicized the findings.

In response, Grindr claimed that it hired these companies to optimize the app, part of what the company said are “standard practices in the mobile app ecosystem.”

It is worth noting that Grindr users may not be explicitly aware that their data is being shared beyond the app, thereby touching on privacy issues. Also, sans transparency (and consent), the app has been letting private data go beyond the confines of its infrastructure by allowing this to be stored on servers it doesn’t control.

This development – coupled with the continuing stigma surrounding HIV – could affect people’s decision to disclose their status or not. As it stands, UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO) cite “fear of stigma and discrimination as the main reason why people are reluctant to get tested, disclose their HIV status and take antiretroviral drugs (ARVs)”.

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One UK study, in fact, found that “participants who reported high levels of stigma were over four times more likely to report poor access to care.” This, in turn, contributes to the expansion of the global HIV epidemic and a higher number of AIDS-related deaths.

BuzzFeed News claimed that Grindr has since said that it will stop sharing the information.

The hookup app boasts more than three million daily users, and it is not immediately clear how many of its users were affected; as well as the breakdown in countries like the Philippines.

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Technology

Your next adventure in robotics: Getting ready for your best build yet

Whether you’re entering into a competition, or building robots and the like is for personal gain and satisfaction, you’ll understand the time, dedication and hard work that’s involved in making your ideas a reality. Therefore, the ideas, planning and preparation stage are crucial to the success of your whole project, and you’ll need to prioritize your schedule wisely.

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If you’re a novice or even a seasoned hobbyist; you’ll always be looking out for your next challenge. Whether you’re entering into a competition, or building robots and the like is for personal gain and satisfaction, you’ll understand the time, dedication and hard work that’s involved in making your ideas a reality. Therefore, the ideas, planning and preparation stage are crucial to the success of your whole project, and you’ll need to prioritize your schedule wisely. From designing what you want to build to gathering your components together, to finally putting the finishing touches on your creation; it’s important to embrace and enjoy each step of the process. So, it’s worth writing some thorough lists now, and getting your head around the time, work, and money you may need to invest.

Ensure that you give yourself plenty of contingency; the beauty of building robotics is that sometimes things improve and evolve along the way so that changes can mean more investment in various areas.

Once you’ve moved past the planning, designing, and list writing stage; the real fun can start. You can begin collating together what you’ll need, and organize your space so that it’s a productive and efficient environment. It’s worth clearing out the clutter so that you’re not reaching for anything you don’t need, and making sure that everything has its place, and is within easy reach of your workbench. Now it’s time to schedule in some time for yourself, and let your loved ones know that when your phone’s turned off; you’re busy creating your vision.

A schedule will be crucial if you’re planning to enter a competition or exhibition of any sort, so make sure that your diary is planned out thoroughly, and you have a clear idea of how long each step may take. The following are some ideas, inspiration, and advice for those ready to embark on their next robot build, and want it to be a successful and enjoyable experience (with great results).

Equipment and Components Are Key

You’ll probably already understand that your equipment and the components you use to build your robot are essential to its success and function. Therefore, you’ll need to consider each part, and invest in the items needed. Bear in mind that you may have to shop around for various items so that you get the best price and quality for your project.

If you’re not planning to head to a hobby shop and buy everything in one kit (where’s the fun in that?); you’ll need to research into where you can get the best BLDC motors, switches, and distance sensors from, and stock up accordingly. Beginners can find a great (and thorough) list here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/how-to/g1561/the-10-things-youll-need-to-build-your-very-first-robot/ so that you can get to grips with all the essentials to put on your shopping list.

You’ll also need the right equipment, or tools for each part of your build. So it’s vital that you have a working glue gun and screwdrivers that are small enough for the most intricate of jobs. You want your robot to remain sturdy and strong, as well as functioning; therefore, it’s important to affix everything firmly at each stage. This is where your decision-making skills need to be confident so that you don’t end up regretting anything you’ve glued.

Define Your Bot

When you’re fully stocked up and ready to roll; it’s important that you’ve got all the extra elements that will help to define your bot. You need to decide what it is it will do, and if you’re entering it into competition; how will it stand up against other robots? Think about more than just movement; you might want your robot to have sound when it hits something before it moves on in a new direction. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that you’re DIY roving bot doesn’t fall short on its beeps, chimes, and tunes.

Look into the software available to you; Arduino microcontroller boards are a popular option for hobbyists, because it gives you the freedom to upload sketches from your computer to your bot’s memory in real time. The hardware and software designs in the Arduino are open to change and plenty of modification; this chimes back to the fact your robot may evolve naturally throughout the process. The fun is discovering what works best, and building something even more capable than you first imagined. However you go about building your bot; do as much in the planning stages as possible, so that making changes becomes a breeze, and you’ll be onto your next project before you know it.  

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