When technology turns into a nightmare

I always thought technology was our slave, since it is meant to make life easier. But is that really so?

I always thought technology was our slave, since it is meant to make life easier. But is that really so? Most modern-day technologies continue to be a vast grey area most of us struggle to understand and adapt. Let me explain this with a nightmare I had last night.

Yesterday was one of those days when I had to travel a lot within Delhi. I got back home late in the evening and checked my e-mail before going off to sleep. Since I was very tired, I placed my laptop on the bedside table and forgot all about switching off the modem and the wireless router.

And all night, I dreamt of the Indian Mujahideen. A team of these terrorists (in my dream, of course) were out in a car, looking for wireless networks they could hack into. And in my dream (I will repeat that phrase, so that you don't think otherwise), they stopped right outside my doorstep, to send some terror e-mail messages.

For those who may not be familiar with the Indian Mujahideen--this is (supposedly) a terrorist outfit that claimed responsibility for the blasts last week in two cities of India--Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Let me take you back to my dream...well, those terrorists kept trying to break into my IP address. But thankfully, it was (and is) secure (when one is covering IT for a news site like this one, this is the least you could expect). In the meantime, I was busy building my case (well yes, in my dream)--and going through what I must tell the police if they trace the terror e-mail back to me; how will I prove my innocence blah, blah. I even had the urge to get up and switch off the modem and foil their evil plans, but didn't. Perhaps, I was too sleepy and tired (even in my dream).

I woke up only to realize how this nightmare is a modern-day reality. People often don't bother securing their wireless Internet networks. Some of us are also very careless when it comes to passwords and other security details. Many of us are completely unaware of ways to mitigate risks of fraud, even though we may be getting smarter at dealing with menaces like spam and phishing. What's worse, fraudsters possess all kinds of software that can break into even the most secure Web sites and networks.

Innocent users of technology have no idea what they may be getting into--whether it is the security risks or the health risks that come with gadgets like mobile phones, laptops and Wi-Fi networks. Last night's nightmare also revealed another threat--technology's impact on our minds.

While our generation is drawing tremendous benefits from technology, it is still rather alien to us. We don't understand it. These crazy nightmares remind us that we live the danger of becoming a slave of technology (and not visa-versa). That is, if it hasn't enslaved us already.