Is it time to question the morality of technology?

6th November 2019
Joe Bush

Following the conclusion of the BBC’s CCTV and surveillance thriller The Capture, John Johnston, Sales and NPI Director at Chemigraphic, a design-led electronics manufacturing services provider, has asked if it is time to question the march of technology.

He commented: “With every technology developed and deployed in our everyday lives, there is always the potential for it to become compromised and abused at some point. The big question is, will programmes such as this fuel an already burning fire in us about the validity and even the morality of CCTV technology? The premise that once concrete evidence such as video footage and CCTV ‘captures’ can indeed be flawed and even corrupted, seemingly live, is at once terrifying and yet completely plausible.

“Surveillance and security are now home to a host of new technologies and methods which are opening up possibilities and increasing the accuracy of how we view, record and transmit sensitive information. AI, the IoT and Big Data are transforming surveillance from being passive recording devices into live, intelligent systems which can make decisions and adapt to situations as they occur. Devices already on the market act as Google for CCTV. They are instantly searchable and capable of recognising hundreds of thousands of natural language queries, eradicating the need for somebody to physically sit and review hours of footage. And face recognition looms very close on the horizon, further enhancing the specificity of surveillance footage searches.

“The defence sector is discovering how the ability to analyse Big Data will make it more efficient and more effective. And during live combat the ability to assess, assimilate and act on the insights big data can provide can save lives. Sensors for telemetry, drones and other military and airborne surveillance and connected surveillance tools can help the military generate vast amounts of data. If this can be intelligently and automatically linked it will play a highly significant role in improving how and where people and assets are deployed.

“In modern combat and counter-terrorism, data analytics is now emerging as one of the defence industry’s most effective weapons. We have a responsibility with this technology to treat it with the utmost respect and use it for good. Unfortunately, there will be those who flout this responsibility. So much good can be done with this technology: so many plots uncovered, so many lives saved, that we have to believe in the power of good instead of being sucked into paranoia about the possibility of the bad.”

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