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Terrifying Technology

Technology advances every day – cars can drive themselves and phones can talk back. Clearly, not all innovations contribute to a better world. The Oracle takes a look at a few of the technological advances making headlines that are downright scary.

Invasive entertainment

The same children’s movie franchise that helped usher 3-D films into the mainstream media is kicking it up a notch for their latest installment. “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” will be released in 4-D. Using an aromascope, technology previously relegated to theme parks and John Waters’ 1980s film “Polyester,” audience members will be able to smell what the characters are smelling by wiping their fingers across a card and taking a whiff.

Also pioneers in the interactive movie industry, Muvico is now offering upgraded tickets to sit in their D-BOX. The seat, developed by a Toronto company that specializes in motion technology, allows moviegoers to experience every turn and shake of the camera as the action plays out.

So hypothetically, you could go to the movies to see, smell and feel what’s happening on-screen. I wonder if this will change the way we communicate?

“Hey, do you want to go catch the latest Fast and Furious movie?”

“No man, I don’t think I should. My back’s been bothering me, wouldn’t want to do anything strenuous.”

“What a shame, I heard Paul Walker smells fantastic.”

The 3-D boom has also extended to our cell phones, televisions and video games.

The extinction of the chauffeur

When learning to drive, we are taught to keep our hands at “10 and two” on the steering wheel. Yet, the way automotive technology is moving these days, our hands are off the clock.

Volkswagen has developed a car with “temporary auto pilot” that moves up to 80 mph. The car uses sensors to adapt to increases and decreases in speed from the cars in front of and behind it.

According to an article on extremetech.com, research done by Stanford and Carnegie-Mellon found that self-driving vehicles would get better mileage, decrease traffic delays by fitting more cars on the road and move traffic faster.

As an American, it is my patriotic duty to embrace anything that will make me lazier. But, I can’t help feeling frightened to know that I may look to my left to see a Volkswagen driver doing Sudoku while cruising down Interstate 75 at 80 mph.

This latest innovation in the driverless vehicle follows the fully automated “Google Car,” the Lexus that parks itself, and Toyota’s brakeless car – an idea that crashed and burned.

Digital warfare

Hugh Jackman might make it look cool in “Swordfish,” but don’t be mistaken, hacking is a serious issue.

According to the New York Times, last week hackers broke into the computers of the Arizona State Police and leaked personal information using file sharing programs. The Times reported involvement from a hacker group formerly known as Lulz Security, which was associated with attacks on Sony, Nintendo, U.S. broadcasters, the U.S. Senate and the CIA, according to BBC News.

According to the Times, the attacks by these hacktovists were in protest to Arizona’s strict immigration laws, and the group has now been labeled “cyber terrorists.”

These attacks coincide with the U.S. Pentagon’s announcement that computer sabotage can now be considered an act of war. According to digitaljournal.com, the move was seen as “essential in the government’s attempt to keep pace with cyber attacks.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, one military official was quoted as saying, “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.”

After drawing so much attention in their month-long hacking spree, the Lulz Security members have made friends as well as enemies in the Internet community. One New York Times article mentions threatening tweets between hackers and various hacker groups. Groups such as Web Ninjas, Backtrace Security and A-team have established themselves as hackers fighting for hack victims.

While this can get very confusing, it would seem the kids who grew up hacking videogames such as Call of Duty to make their characters walk through walls, are now taking their skills into the real world. Technology in the wrong hands is certainly a scary thing.