Americas Greatest Strength and Weakness

By: David Branco

It has been publicly acknowledged we, the American citizens, will be known to our successors as "The Age of Information." With the mass-public acceptance of computers and their other technological counter-parts, we as a generation have embedded these innovations into our everyday lives. While our reasons vary, from medical practice, productivity, or maybe just to ease our workload, we base our everyday life around technology, pieces of powered metal and wire. While the trend seems to indicate that the more successful we become, the more we integrate technology to improve our lives - the more vulnerable we become.

Everyday new technological advances, aimed at easing the lives of millions, are developed. Recent publicly-accepted evolutions such as Paypal and Online-Banking make financial planning and management quick and easy. Computers offer additional services such as entertainment, shown best with recent phenomenon, YouTube, allowing community members to share videos with friends and family. It is inventions similar to these that conveniently enhance our personal standard of living.

Personal profit is not the only benefit to come via this technological era. Businesses such as FedEx and UPS are offering paid on-online shipment tracking. While other companies are finding that they don't even need to own property to develop a business, all they need is a website and consumers. E-bay, Amazon, and similar sites have made a business out of just selling services or products via the web; some even offer to supply the consumer with the cheapest place to purchase from. This ability currently is taken for granted; lower expenses provide us more comfort in our lives and helps raise the focal point of businesses.

Online services and companies are not the only ones using technology to their advantage; think about your kitchen. Your stove, microwave, and coffee-brewer are all there because of technology. Cell-phones, automobiles, even lights use energy and depend on technology. Without this technology, the nation will confront a major relapse in productivity and the standard of living will decrease exponentially.

Being so dependent on technology, the nation will severely suffer from any major technological catastrophe. If the nation ever had a major power-failure, how would we recover? We would be unable to call our families and loved-ones; the ability to purchase any item at any store would be gone. The best solution we would have is to wait, and hope our power would recover so we may continue with life. Currently most major retail chains and a percentage of home-owners own a backup power generator to combat a short power-outage. These methouds are quite suitable for black-outs ranging from secounds to a few days; however, these alternative power sources become expensive for extended periods of time.

Power is not the only woe on the "back-burner" for many computer users; one single virus, engineered correctly, has the power to cripple the entire technology era. A virus, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as "a computer program that is usually hidden within another seemingly innocuous program and that produces copies of itself and inserts them into other programs and usually performs a malicious action (as destroying data)." If such a virus was engineered with care, infiltrating any networked and numerous off-line machines will be possible; even the ability to stealthfully manipulate government data.

As technology advances, security auditors play a game of "catch-up," releasing security patches and strong security systems along with their accompanying protocols. Technology will never be truly safe; the best precaution any consumer can take is learning how to properly setup firewalls and routers to protect and monitor their networks' traffic. The more secure the nation becomes in technology, the easier we can live our lives, as the threat to the modern inventions contracts.

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