Unbelievable Technology Insight Stories

 Technology is a defining feature of every era. Without the steam engine and the industrial revolution it sparked, Dickens' stories would not be feasible.

In fact, neither would the biographies of figures like Carnegie or Vanderbilt. And how would the 20th century have been different if there had been no power or internal combustion engines?

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But we frequently forget that stories also influence technology. Steve Jobs had the widely recognized—though not exclusive—belief that the humanities and technology are intricately entwined and that the power of narrative has a significant impact on this. Because of this, it's impossible to fully comprehend technology without also knowing the tales that its users and the technology itself have to tell. When properly interpreted, technology is much more than a collection of lifeless items.

Numerous other stories are included in the iPhone in addition to the one about Steve Jobs. Examples include Claude Shannon's discovery of the nature of information and the legends of Maxwell and Faraday, who discovered the forces of electricity. There are others, including Shockley, von Neumann, and Engelbart. There are way too many tales to mention alone.

The catastrophic potential of technology was made abundantly obvious during World War II. The entire earth was enveloped in a whirlwind of human design as lethal robots tore across Europe and bombs with unfathomable power erupted in Asia. It appeared that the technology we had created had evolved into a worldwide Frankenstein monster, capable of turning against its creator.

These tales inspire others. Von Neumann's penchant for drinking and speeding. Shannon's financial prowess, Engelbart's Mother of All Demos, and Shockley's unpleasant attitude and ideologies all contributed, albeit subtly, to Silicon Valley's rise to prominence as a tech hub.

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We all carry around this rich tapestry in our iPhones without giving it any thought. Of course, you don't have to be familiar with these tales to use an iPhone successfully. However, as you navigate the web of stories contained in an iPhone, you come to appreciate them more and start to discover new possibilities. New chapters in the history of technology are written as a result of knowledge.

He had the impression that if there were molecules that caused the immune system to activate, there might be others that did the opposite. If such were the case, he reasoned, it was plausible that cancer cells were stifling the immune response, making it impossible for our bodies to combat them. This story was very personal to Allison because she had lost a lot of family members to cancer.

Other forms of stories convey thoughts about the case that can influence the future, while the iPhone recounts stories about events that have already occurred. James Allison spent his career as an immunologist investigating the intricacies of the narrative of how our immune system fights infection. But he also considered the idea of creating additional sections.

Cancer immunotherapy was named the year's top innovation by Science magazine in 2013, however, the story is not yet complete. Although the work of Allison and other researchers has produced some genuinely remarkable results, prolonging the lives of some of the most terminal patients essentially indefinitely, many patients gain little to no benefit from that as well.

But that just implies that certain information about the plot is still unknown. Even the tales of our best minds occasionally fall short, as Mario Livio illustrates in Brilliant Blunders, but there is still considerable value in expressing them succinctly and effectively. We arrive at better narratives that convey deeper realities in this way.

But as Walter Isaacson noted in his lecture on Thomas Jefferson, the topic has been used again by a long list of inventors, including Ben Franklin, Ada Lovelace, and, yes, Steve Jobs. Technology and storytelling sometimes seem to have a strained and esoteric relationship, like the kind of thing you might tell a kid who can't finish his arithmetic assignment to make him feel better about himself. 

We honor Steve Jobs, not for the technology he "created," but rather for what he saw that no one else did. He observed stories about those who use technology, whereas others would only see features. For instance, his tale of "1000 tunes in your pocket" gave rise to the iPod and altered Apple's course. He saw the value of storytelling as vital, not unnecessary.

Another Heidegger essay called Building Dwelling Thinking, which almost makes the apparent but not quite obvious argument that to construct for the world, you must first grasp what it means to live in it, can help us better appreciate the connection between technology and story. We make sense of the things we meet in the world through stories.

And I believe that gets at the core of the issue. When properly understood, technology is much more than just the end result of computers, microscopes, test tubes, and other tools; it is the discovery of facts that are used to improve human life. With humans and their stories at their core, the endeavor can only succeed to the fullest extent. That is the real technological success tale. Learn more here>>

The most interesting and bizarre tech news of 2018:

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1. The Possibility of a Sneak Strike

Regarding security, there have been numerous claims of potential flaws in the networks that support the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the U.S. military's next-generation joint strike fighter.

It's a development tool for aircraft, and as the popular Mechanics puts it, any software-based platform is likely to be vulnerable to hacking. No matter the nation, each F-35 squadron is equipped with a 13-server Autonomic Logistics Information System (ATIS) that is linked to the global ALIS connection.

The Central Point of Entry for each nation receives logistical data from individual jets, which is subsequently forwarded to Lockheed's central server center in Fort Worth, Texas. In fact, ALIS returns so much information that several nations are concerned it may reveal too much about their F-35 activities.

2. Cold Brew Drones

A fascinating tale about IBM and drones that deliver coffee comes first. Big Blue has applied for a patent for a drone that delivers coffee and has sophisticated sensors.

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The following is how IBM's system functions, according to their patent:

A small flying unmanned vehicle with a cup of coffee on it may be waved down by someone who wants to get a drink. The drone files to a location with people in it.

The drone system is intelligent. Instead, it can gather information about your time of day and location. If it finds a pattern, say that you grow sleepy at 3 PM, it might make a fly-by coffee every day at that time without your permission.

3. Airport Security is Appalling

Our following tale is bizarre and originates in London. According to the legend, a man walking to the library came across an arbitrary USB stick on the footpath.

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Heathrow Airport Limited was ultimately fined $154,000 by England's Information Commissioners office for failing to make sure that the personal data stored on its network was properly safeguarded.

After turning it on, he discovered that it had a wealth of security data about London Heathrow Airport, including security protocols for the Queen and other distinguished visitors, the locations of all closed-circuit television cameras at the airport, and maps of the airport's tunnels and escape shafts for the Heathrow Express train station.

According to The Register, the ICO found that only 2% of HAL's 6,500 employees had received data protection training.

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