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Technological Advances

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“Big brother is watching” has been discussed relative to tapping our communications (telephone, email and assumed private personal conversations); legal documents have been and are accessed.

“If you think the government is watching your every move, that's crazy--but if you think the government is too good or too honest to try it, that's naive.” Regardless of the motive: fighting crime, anarchy, communism, terrorism, military enemies, or patriotism, our private information is attainable. If it is attainable, through technology it has been collected. Identity theft is a perfect example of how frequently private information has been obtained and used for improper and illegal purposes.

Fourth Amendment

Our founding fathers crafted the U.S. Constitution to protect citizens by explicitly stating “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” The U.S. Supreme court has consistently decreed that surveillance is comparable to a search; it requires the subject’s consent or a valid warrant. Unfortunately the executive branch and others do not always follow the ruling of the Supreme Court.

Technology has been steadily improving since the initial discoveries of Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone. Our founding fathers were entrepreneurs. Our inventors are scientists and entrepreneurs. The last three decades these entrepreneurs have created a dramatic acceleration of technological advances.

Beam Me Up Scotty

Do you remember the cumbersome Star Trek communicators? Remember laughing at how that technology was pure science fiction? The smart phone in your pocket includes the internet, camera, text, calendar, note pad, multiple applications and even a telephone. Forty years ago who would have guessed we would have technological advances to combine all of that capability in a device the size of a deck of cards?

Tiny electronic “bugs” have been planted for decades to capture your conversations. With each leap forward of technology, privacy as we knew it will evaporate. Where will it end?

Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. patent office in 1899 was discredited as saying, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Oops. If he only knew what technological advances have happened in the last 115 years. Never say never. What is next?

Wearable Technology

We have strapped fancy dive watches, pedometers, and global positioning systems to our bodies for years. We have implanted microchips in pets. If it works for pets, you guessed it; ingestible sensors and implantable chips for humans are already in use.

A few decades ago there were public service announcements asking, “Do you know where your kids are?” Paroled felons have been wearing ankle bracelets to track their activities for years. Is it too much of a stretch to imagine a parent implanting a micro tracking chip to track their kids or all sorts of other uses for implanting the tracking chips? Shiver. The thought takes invasion of privacy far beyond anything reasonable and fair. It takes the technological advances of “big brother is watching” to an entirely absurd level.

Tracking for Health

It has been documented in numerous instances where a tumor has been verified and then it disappears. At this point, scientists and medical personnel have been unable to track the dissolution of the tumor. The only currently known way to record the existence – growth or shrinking – of the tumor is through x-ray. If we bombarded the patient with daily x-rays, the patient could die from the x-rays. If a tiny chip could be inserted which recorded the shrinking of the tumor, it could provide valuable information which would assist researchers in curing diseases.

Imagine alleviating discomfort from chronic illness, curing cancer, or restoring brain or nerve function. Imagine sending data to a specialist across the globe; patients who are unable to travel could have the benefit of being treated by the best medical practitioners.

In every case there are positives and negatives from technological advances. As entrepreneurs we conceive ideas, visualize and create solutions. Our hope is that more entrepreneurs focus on the good which can evolve from technological advances.

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