13 tech trends that would have terrified us ten years ago

13 tech trends that would have terrified us ten years ago

Summary: Ten years ago we could have foreseen choppy waters in the not so distant future. But little could we envisage some of the horrors that we face today. Here are 13 of the scariest, most terrifying tech trends of the 21st century, all in the name of the Halloween spirit.


 |  Image 1 of 13

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Thumbnail 12
  • Thumbnail 13
  • Surveillance state: A secret no more?

    A decade ago, we could have mused about the U.S. government "spying on everything we do." In fact, in 2007, The Simpsons Movie made exactly that joke when the world-renown family was on the run from the law.  The cartoon's creator Matt Groening was probably chuckling to himself as he mapped out the plot, to which a massive room of spies are listening to the conversations of everyone talk on the phone.

    And yet, only a few years later, former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden evades his former employers by jumping on a flight to Russia where he claimed asylum, not long after pilfering thousands of top secret and classified documents relating to the U.S. government's (and its allies) surveillance efforts.

    With PRISM and Upstream, Tempora, and dozens of other programs, the U.S. really has the ability — at very least — to monitor to our calls (despite claims by President Obama to the contrary). It turns out The Simpsons' were indeed onto something all those years ago.

    Image: Seth Rosenblatt/CNET

  • Malware gets worse, cyberweapons confirmed

    Ten years ago, Windows XP was all the rage. Apple had only a sliver of the desktop operating system pie at the time. And thus, it was rarely attacked by hackers and malware writers. But as Apple machines became popular towards the end of the last decade Mac malware began to boom. The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant was even forced to remove claims that its Mac machines don't get viruses.

    From the desktop and into the palms of our hands, smartphones exploded in popularity. Malware writers and cybercriminals began targeting Android devices, which remain at the top of the mobile market share space. Even iPhones and BlackBerrys, though significantly bolstered in terms of app and ecosystem security, were prime pickings for data thieves and cyber-scammers. 

    And those cyberbaddies weren't limited to basement-dwelling folk. The U.S. government was  also scouring for the latest malware exploits so they could install it on adversaries' machines in order to spy, surveil, or surreptitiously shut down their operations. From Flame to Gauss and Stuxnet, these state-sponsored strands of malware were enough to temporarily cripple Iran's nuclear ambitions, according to reports. 

    Image: Microsoft

Topics: Enterprise Software, Cloud

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Browsing galleries on zdnet is so 1990's

    How hard is it to update it?
    • The 14th Trend that still scares us


      The 15th Trend that scares me: The rise of the disposable computer. Thanks to Apple, computers are only expected to last 2 years or less depending on your contract after which you are expected to discard it so you can get the latest operating system update.

      Say what you will about Microsoft, they have managed to keep operating systems backward compatible with older equipment, extending the life of that equipment for many, many years.
  • Now that's a thought.

    I'd much rather live with the suffering of a Pentium-class CPU in 1998 than live with the ever-present threats in the IT industry today that make me contemplate becoming Amish. I am getting to the point where I see so much abuse of new technology that it makes me almost neo-luddite, because I hope new technologies will fail simply because I am so used to them being abused and my mind subconsciously assumes no good can come from them.
  • Well . . .

    "If Reddit, Imgur, Google, and the BBC News can stay up and running, so can Healthcare.gov, surely?"

    Well, healthcare.gov was virtually untested, and they weren't quite expecting everybody to show up all at once (even though they do require by law for everybody to have the insurance).

    Personally, I'd like to see the law tossed out, or at least the part requiring you to buy the insurance. Requiring people to buy a product isn't something I associate with freedom and democracy. If you want the government to force you to buy products, find a good communist nation to join.
    • Not everybody showed up at once.

      That's the irony. The thing can't handle even trivial loads.
    • What do you suggest?

      CobraA1, I agree that requiring people to buy insurance is not a great solution. What do you suggest happens when a person who has declined purchasing insurance shows up at the emergency room missing an arm?

  • PC Sales in Decline.

    Yes,we like our tablets but will continue to prefer our large screen PCs for home use.
    However many of us refrained from buying a new PC as we don't want Windows 8. We'll either remain on our present Windows versions to the bitter end or eventually switch to Linux unless M$ comes out with a system we consider worth buying.
  • i was aware of these things 13 years ago...

    except for windows which were irrelevant than and now.