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Considering the Consequences

As a young boy, I remember watching the old black and white episodes of Buck Rogers. I was always fascinated by the way that Buck had a communication device on his wrist. From that device, if my memory is correct, he could talk to anyone just by calling their name. Those he worked with had the same kind of device so that they could speak to one another at a moment's notice; which made us want to have one. They called this device a "radio".

Yes, it did foreshadow our modern cell phones as well as those little wrist watch thingys that people use today. It is not the prediction of communication devices that I am concerned with, however. The question I want to ask is, did those who wrote science fiction over 100 years ago, have any idea of the ramifications of the inventions that they were predicting?

I used to play "Buck Rogers" as a boy, and we always loved the idea of those wrist communicators. We never, however, considered what it would take to produce this device. None of us thought that it would be necessary for people to be able to be tracked in order to have those communicators connect to each other. We certainly never considered the idea of the massive potential for abuse that would exist with being tracked. All in all, I am sure that there was a point that someone said, "Ok, how do we actually make this happen?" and that led to the choices that we are having to deal with today.

Do we always consider the consequences to the new inventions that we come up with? Most often, it appears that people are more concerned to bring about this "really cool idea" than what it will do to people once it is developed. I use the communication device/cell phone invention as an example, but it applies to all of the modern products we have produced. Are we considering what we are doing? It is this problem that causes me to be extra cautious about new stuff. Whenever I hear about some new invention, it causes me to ask the questions, "where is this leading, and where will it take us?"


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