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.

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  • Hacks and data breaches are all too commonplace

    A decade ago, hackers were mostly unseen. They were occasionally glamorized in the movies, but they were often few and far between in terms of numbers. They were not as popular as they were today, where almost anyone can be with the tools available on the darkest corners of the Web.

    Hackers have exploded in numbers. Attacks are taking place all the time. Almost indiscriminate in nature, your cloud-stored data is at risk every minute of the day. With lax security and poor IT policies, millions of people's data last year alone was swiped by the unauthorized. Data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace. For a time last year, it seemed as though there was a hack every week. 

    And once hackers began to target the financial industry and credit card institutions, what was once the safest thing (bar the economy tipping over and sinking every few years) was reduced to a humble, bumbling mess.

    Image: Rick Broida/CNET

  • Silicon Valley: The rich just get richer

    Ten years ago we were at the height of the financial markets. Our respective Western nations were rich. Economies were stable. At least, so we thought. The 2008 global recession saw how fragile we were. In the space of just a few months, the Western banking system came close to utter collapse. 

    The vast majority of technology companies, which were considered relatively stable in terms of investments, struggled but powered through the heart of the financial meltdown. As the ordinary folk on the street began to penny pinch and save as much as they could — when they could — despite soaring prices and life expenses, the richer got even richer, and Silicon Valley giants just got bigger and bigger. 

    Google hit the breakthrough $1,000 per share price mark, while Apple has a market value of around half-a-trillion dollars. Microsoft, despite its strategy shift to devices and services in recent years, remains a cluster bomb of billion dollar businesses. And what do we get out of it? Sure, we'll get the shiny new product and business-powering services, but who's going to pay for our healthcare or pensions? 

    Image: CNET

  • Oversharing, overkill

    With Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, and dozens of other mainstream sharing services on the Web, we know far, far too much about almost everyone in our lives. The youth of today with smartphones in their pockets are snapping almost every photo, tweeting every incidental thing, sharing on Facebook their hates and gripes, and frankly their older, more mature counterparts aren't that much better.

    The National Security Agency doesn't to spend billions of dollars from a "black budget" on high-tech surveillance systems. Half the time they just need to hit "friend", "subscribe", or "follow" on our various feeds. The culture we find ourselves in today has morphed to such a point that the very notion of privacy has become diluted. Goodness knows what will happen when teenagers will graduate from school and attempt to gain employment, when their "hidden" resumes are only a cursory Google search away.

    Image: Google/stock image

Topics: Enterprise Software, Cloud

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9 comments
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  • Browsing galleries on zdnet is so 1990's

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

      THIS STUPID 1990's GALLERY!

      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.
      gomigomijunk
  • 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.
    Subsentient
  • 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.
    CobraA1
    • Not everybody showed up at once.

      That's the irony. The thing can't handle even trivial loads.
      baggins_z
    • 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?
      john-whorfin
  • YOUR SLIDESHOW SUCKS!

    YOUR SLIDESHOW SUCKS!
    MatsSvensson
  • 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.
    grump-a1eeb
  • i was aware of these things 13 years ago...

    except for windows which were irrelevant than and now.
    ljenux