Technology and Africa – At the speed that technology is advancing these days, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. At a glance this may seem like a good thing, but it gives rise to the question, is it really?
Technology and Africa –There has been a need for human management ever since communities became too large to keep track of easily. For safety reasons and general record keeping, it became important to know who was who and where they came from. This was the reason human beings started baring surnames and people started being counted in censuses, both practices that have endured until today. As time has gone on, our societies have introduced an innumerable amount of other forms of identification, for example, birth certificates, passports, drivers’ licenses, bank cards, voter registration cards, etc.
All of these forms of identification are supposed to make life easier by making it easier for our various governments to be able to identify and track people down should they ever need to. With the above-mentioned forms of government surveillance, though it is unsettling to know that this kind of observation is going on, at least the entities doing the surveilling are known. This is not the case when it comes to the systematic surveillance being carried out against us as the new world order establishes itself.
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When tech companies advertise their applications and software to the African public, a lot of them for free, it is often seen as a good thing that Africans are being included in this global tech movement. Africans are all too eager to input their information and join friends and acquaintances online. It can all seem like fun and games until you realize what is actually going on behind the scenes. It is often said that when you cannot identify what product an app you are using is selling to stay afloat, then you are the product. Many of these companies allow their users access to their services, seemingly for free, then turn around and sell their users’ data to whoever may want to buy it for whatever reason.
Every time people use rideshare companies, they are essentially logging in their movements, telling whoever cares enough to buy the information where they go, how long they stay there and sometimes who they went with. Social media accounts show who our friends are, our interests, where we live, where we travel too, and our personal emails, that many think are private, actually pass through servers and are monitored. Human surveillance is serious business and there are people who make a lot of money off it, and with the COVID-19 pandemic that swept through the world in 2020, many human interactions that would have otherwise remained offline were driven online. Now, teleconferencing providers know exactly the people present for every meeting, where they were and what they said. This is a level of surveillance that the world has never seen before, and if it should continue, the effects could be ruinous, especially for Africa.
So, if our movements are monitored, our interactions are monitored, our social media is monitored, our phones and banks are monitored, who is monitoring all this information and do we really have any real privacy anymore? Nahwewe.com
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As it is, Africa can go either way. The continent and its people have been victimized by foreign powers in the past, to the point that almost every African country was colonised. It took a lot to struggle from under this imperial rule, and great care must be taken so that the continent does not find itself back in this situation, only this time knowing that we put ourselves there.
As of late, there has been talk from tech companies about “chipping” people, in other words, implanting a device in the human body to be able to track a person in the case of an emergency, for example, a kidnapping. This may seem all well and good, until you ask yourself what does the company get out of this in the meantime while the chipped person goes about their life? It is just another highly intrusive way for companies to monitor people without it seeming like they are.
Technology is so impressive that it is easy to get distracted by all the bells and whistles. For instance, there are cars that can assess your physicality and let you know if you should see a doctor, there are watches that count your steps every day, and the phone that most people carry around with them can determine a person’s sleep patterns. All this information is good for an individual to have; however, this information is not only given to the individual, but like was earlier mention, sold to the highest bidder.
You may be thinking that all the information highlighted above is inconsequential and you wouldn’t mind if your step count is sold off, but this goes much deeper than that. We hardly think about it, but the satellites that provide us with television and 4G or 5G internet do other things too. They are advanced pieces of technology that can monitor and manipulate weather patterns, they can also map regions on earth and determine what valuable minerals are where. They can also be used for intelligence purposes as they constantly have visual access to airports, army bases, schools, hospitals, etc.
The word “why” keeps coming up. Why is it important to manage people in this way? Why would anyone want to do this? Why is it lucrative? The answer to these questions are quite simple. Knowledge is power and when this knowledge is wielded strategically, it can have devastating effects on the people it is used against. This is the reason that African youths need to innovate in the field of science and technology and come up with continent specific modern-day tools, not only to provide for the African people, but to ward off such attacks should they ever come, and if history is any indicator, they will.