Apr 24, 2013

There's Two Sides to Every E-Coin

It's pure cliche, and really outdated, to call technology a "double edged sword," but it's true. Every tech advancement - the nuclear bomb aside - carries great light and terrible darkness. Just think: the same web that lets you donate to worthy causes via Kickstarter also gives you on-demand episodes of "Live From Daryl's House." Like I said: the good with the bad.

But here's a more personal example. This past week, two brothers, both younger than me and my brother, decided that the answer to whatever was bothering them was to blow up a group of innocent people in Boston. And no matter what their reasons were, I'm betting they used the internet to learn to do most of what they did.

Now I've never googled "make a bomb," but I'm guessing some stuff comes up. What fascinates me about this is that until recently, that information was almost impossible to come by. It got me thinking of a guy I knew in high school. A nice guy, whose dad was, everyone said, a local NARC.  And because of this, one day the kid snuck into school his dad's copy of The Poor Man's James Bond. I still remember the "holy grail" vibe the book gave off, which I was told was some legendary how-to on making weapons and explosives. The excitement though wasn't because we wanted to go out and blow shit up. It was that because of my friend's dad's profession, we were granted rare access to this information. Now? It's a click away. The dark.

At the same time, MONSTA was given a very unique school assignment: interview a family member about what school was like when they were her age. She chose my mom. After an insane amount of coordinating schedules, we used Apple's FaceTime to speak face to face with "Gigi." It was like a commercial. I sat to the side, watching them talk, completely amazed at this technology that allows MONSTA to physically see her grandma, even when separated by nearly 900 miles. The light.

I'd say it's a Brave New World, but there's nothing brave about blowing up an eight year old, whether by home made bomb or unmaned drone. But it's certainly a "new world." And with it comes new chances to use what we have for good, or bad. I'm raising my kid to do the former, and really, really hoping that everyone else is too.