Spike those “Luddite” Awards: Not all innovation is good

Frame-breakers, or Luddites, smashing a loom. Machine-breaking was criminalized by the Parliament of the United Kingdom as early as 1721, the penalty being penal transportation, but as a result of continued opposition to mechanisation the Frame-Breaking Act 1812 made the death penalty available.
Luddites attacking powered looms, 1812 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) published its annual “Luddite Awards” for 2014 and 2015. These would-be rogues galleries target organizations or individuals who, in ITIF’s judgment, “did the most to smash the engines of innovation.”

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Two young women taking selfe with a smartphone in a convertible car

Your Smartphone Can Kill You

Niall McCarthy of Statista.com uses data from Priceonomics to define a new category of accidental death by smart phone—the “selfie-fatality.” Forty-nine people have died because of selfies over the past three years, exposing some unintended side effects of smartphone usage, according to McCarthy. Continue reading

Time Cook meets Saint Peter.

Tim Cook at the Pearly Gates

By now almost everything that can be said about the Apple-FBI riff has been said. The FBI wants to open the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wants to secure iPhones everywhere. It is a defining struggle that we knew would eventually take place as the U.S. government (USG) deploys every counter-terrorism technique they can think of, and Apple deploys every privacy and security technique they can think of. Continue reading