Exploring Safety Concerns in the Age of Futuristic Technology

Futuristic Technology

Futuristic Technology

Fears about the safety of emergent technology are almost always overstated and unwarranted. New products must pass rigorous tests by the Consumer Product Safety Commission before entering production and faulty wares can always be recalled en masse.

However, some forms of futuristic tech do pose a genuine safety concern. The Galaxy Note 7 famously featured exploding batteries and Volkswagen recently had to recall 83,000 cars that released harmful levels of pollutants. 

Understanding the challenges we face in the age of futuristic technology can help you stay safe. This is increasingly important today, as the rapid expansion of AI and automation threatens to shake up the foundations of everyday life. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been the focus of technophobes and doomsayers for almost a century. Even the 1927 German film Metropolis featured fears about robots with synthetic bodies capable of overthrowing the human race. 

Sci-fi blockbusters like Terminator may make for great viewing, but, in reality, AI improves safety. In particular, AI can help prevent cybercrime by speeding up threat detection and improving access management.  AI programs that are capable of risk detection empower human IT specialists, too, and assist with all important cybersecurity analytics. 

That said, Michael T. Klare, professor emeritus of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College, explains that AI could pose safety concerns when given access to military weapons. Klare states, “At present, there are virtually no measures in place to prevent a future catastrophe [caused by autonomous weapons]”. This could, in theory, lead to an ever-escalating arms war that occurs before human operators can intervene. 

Fortunately, we are still some years away from a fully automated battlefield. However, the U.S. Air Force recently requested $231 million to develop an Advanced Battlefield Management System (ABMS). The ABMS represents the first leap into AI-led battle and is a reminder that we need tighter oversight to ensure AI warfare is as ethical and safe as possible. 

The Metaverse 

The Metaverse is finally starting to take off. Today, corporations around the globe use Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms to connect remotely, while millions of people log on to play games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. Accessing the metaverse is easier now than ever before, too. 

However, joining the metaverse does present some privacy challenges and security concerns. Social interaction online is loosely moderated, meaning young users may be exposed to bullying and harassment when logging on. Additionally, most metaverse platforms actively collect personal data while you play. If this data falls into the wrong hands, it could lead to phishing and identity theft. 

Some online platforms have been accused of running “pump and dump” schemes, too. This occurs when traders collude to buy large swaths of virtual assets to drive up their market value. They then sell these assets off at a price far higher than their “real” value which quickly crashes post-sale. 

You can keep yourself safe while enjoying the metaverse by taking a proactive approach to personal security. Never share identifiable features with people online and report any behavior that represents bullying or harassment. Guard against fraudsters by doing plenty of research before you buy anything in digital stores and approach every sale as though it could be a scam. 

Vehicle Safety

After decades of dreaming, we have finally entered the age of autonomous vehicles and electric cars. These autonomous vehicles should be far safer than human-operated cars, as they are trained on reliable data and are almost incapable of faulty decision-making.  

Autonomous vehicles may be less prone to road rage and street racing, but they will not change the fact that American road users face a systemic problem: the ever-increasing size and heft of new vehicles. Put simply, large tank-like cars are less safe due to reduced visibility and maneuverability and escalate the impact of accidents on the road. 

In an ideal world, car developers of the future will blend autonomous driving systems with smaller, more pedestrian-friendly chassis designs. This can help drivers respond to a potential collision and may even reduce emissions as lighter cars are inherently economical. 

Improving the efficiency of long-haul trucks can also ramp up safety on the road. The tech that’s well-suited for this endeavor includes telematics — which turns the truck into a moving Internet of Things device — electronic logging devices, and real-time driver coaching that collects data and analyzes it to provide efficiency and safety tips.   

Electric vehicles can further improve health and wellness by minimizing pollution. Electric vehicles have a significantly lower total carbon output over their lifetime and can save 1.5 million grams of CO2 per car. This is great news for health-conscious pedestrians, who will benefit from cleaner air in cities and towns around the globe. 

The IoT 

Devices that are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) have become a staple of modern, smart living. Smart home essentials include:

  • Locks and video doorbells
  • White goods like fridges, dishwashers, and driers
  • Autonomous vacuum cleaners
  • Smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Nest
  • Thermostats for real-time temperature control

These devices are designed to help us all live easier, more energy-efficient lives. Smart video doorbells can even help folks keep track of visitors and may put off unwanted guests. However, some people have raised fears over the potential privacy concerns associated with high-tech homeware. 

Recent research published in Applied Sciences explains that the scale of IoT adoption presents the biggest security threat today. This “amplifies the magnitude of any vulnerability,” as one device with out-of-date security software may compromise the entire network. 

To alleviate this risk, researchers are calling for more regular updates and standardized data collection policies. This will increase coordination amongst IoT security specialists and minimize the risk of malicious actors gaining access to personal data. 

It’s worth noting that the IoT can improve our health and wellness, too. MedTech companies are already using IoT in healthcare to detect disease and illness long before a patient enters the doctor’s office. Hospitals are using the IoT, too, in the form of bed sensors, temperature sensors, and wearable devices. This improves patient monitoring and alerts healthcare workers to any sudden changes in a patient’s condition. 


Futuristic tech is inherently fun. Everyone loves playing with a new smartwatch or driving in a cutting-edge electric vehicle. However, some emergent technology presents a serious safety challenge. Users can mitigate risk by taking a proactive approach to privacy controls and updating IoT devices regularly.

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Article Author Details

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer living in the pacific northwest who has a variety of interests including sociology, politics, business, education, health, and more.