Opting Out of Technology Will Be Very Difficult in the Future

June 16, 2017

11:30 am

While technology has become an integral part of everyday life, still some people refuse to engage. I know, it sounds crazy. But everyone single one of us knows at least one person that doesn’t have a Facebook, avoids SnapChat, and has been using a flip phone since 2001. However, with integration becoming more and more widespread, the ability to live in the woods without any technology is becoming harder and harder. And eventually, it’s going to be impossible.

The Pew Research Center talked to a huge number of experts in a study titled The Internet of Things Connectivity Binge: What Are The Implications? In part of the study, they focused specifically on the ability to opt out of technology as time goes on. And according to the experts, that ability will essentially disappear in the future.

If you’re interested in what they had to say about the topic, take a look at what they had to say below and start planning your unplugged getaway now, before it’s too late.

The Consumer Problem

“Even if individuals are concerned about the risks, they’ll find it difficult or impossible to opt out of these connections if they want to continue with the products or services they want and/or need,” said Mary K. Pratt, a freelance technology journalist.

A New Class

“Those who disconnect will end up as a class with diminishing resources. Information is king, and connectivity will power that,” said Dave McAllister, director at Philosophy Talk.

Digitally Tangled

“The grip of capitalist ecosystems – Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. – is strengthening the ability to connect multiple aspects of our lives online. It will be harder to disentangle from this system moving forward,” said Antero Garcia, assistant professor at Colorado State University.

Privilege of Disconnectedness 

“Disconnection from networks of capital and information generally come at a high price for individuals and even entire communities. As more parts of our lives become connected to the IoT, it seems likely that disconnection will become a privilege to those that can afford to, for example, forgo the savings on car insurance that come with agreeing to be tracked,” said David Banks, co-editor of Cyborgology

The New Norm

“It appears that vendors do not appreciate the dangers involved in IoT, and offerings that don’t incorporate connectivity are increasingly rare. … IoT is being pushed as the norm, and the majority of people do not seem to be aware of the hazards, so they are thus driving the market in that direction,” said Eugene H. Spafford, a professor at Purdue University and an expert in computer security issues.

Connected to Jobs

“The divide in capabilities between the most-connected and the least will define who gets the valuable jobs. Technology should be making life better too, not just more productive, so disconnecting will be opting out from those benefits; it will sabotage their abilities to get more out of life, like someone deciding not to learn how to read because they’re afraid they’ll read something dangerous to them,” said Ryan Hayes, owner of Fit to Tweet.

Opt Out, If You Can

“There is no opt-out for the internet. No one can disconnect. Algorithmic automation will create overly complex systems of communication, transportation, energy, finances, production, etc., that are no longer under control of anyone,” said David Krieger, director of the Institute for Communication & Leadership in Switzerland.

Read more about the future of automation on Tech.Co

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Senior Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Senior Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at [email protected].

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