Society and Information Technology Scenarios

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Scenario One |  Scenario Two  |  Scenario Three

Hacking is a real phenomenon, but it is also highly romanticised. Don't believe it. If you dirty your own nest...or that of someone else...it may be messy when you sit down.

Tsk! Tsk!

Scenario 1

Scenario 1

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It is the year 2015. A group of hackers known as the Independent Division of International Organisations for Tampering (IDIOT) has hacked into two of the worlds largest International Banks and destroyed all credit and savings records, purely as a demonstration of their technological ability. IDIOT are now threatening to undermine all global-network systems unless their completely unreasonable and rather evil demands are met. It is not possible to meet their demands.

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Think about what organisations exist to deal with this issue and what powers do they have? What responses are possible to this? What technological developments are utilised by groups involved? How do safety mechanisms currently in place to protect from hacking affect the rest of the community? What systems might be affected by hacking and what effects would disruption to these systems mean in western society? Would the impact be the same globally or are there local or regional differences? What factors affect impact? In what ways does the development of a 'global society' depend on being supported by electronic distribution of information? What systems and institutions are most affected by the threat of hacking? Is the threat of hacking a real phenomenon or simply an unlikely fantasy? This scenario requires the development of an understanding of the social issues raised by hacking a knowledge of potential problems and understanding of options and solutions.

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Scenario 2

Scenario 2  eyesonblack.gif (3025 bytes)

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It is the year 2016. It has been a rough couple of years. Now a virulent computer virus, known as Wide Extraction of Information and Replacement of Data (WEIRD) has reached plague proportions. This virus extracts existing information from networks and hard drives and replaces it  with WEIRD nonsense. Governments are calling on users to refrain from logging on to all networks in order to assist to reduce the spread of the disease, and monitoring and surveillance of all national and international networks have been stepped up. 

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What effects will an inability to use networks have? How many and what types of systems are affected by this? Do these systems have a geographic location? If they do, where are these systems? What technologies exist to deal with viruses and how do these technologies impact on users? What types of responses are likely towards an increase in surveillance? What ethical issues exist within this? 

This scenario requires the development of a broad understanding of the issue of technological viral-disease, especially as it affects networking. The scenario deliberately raises potential infrastructure problems in order to explore the social implications that arise from dependence on information technology and to begin to develop their solutions or alternatives.

For Information on different types of threats to networked technology through government and community agencies internet sites, you may wish to try these useful web links 

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Scenario 3

Scenario 3

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It is the year 2260. The solutions that were implemented following IDIOT and WEIRD involved giving even more control to machines in order to trace and control Hacking and Virus attacks. Increasingly solutions were developed by using the principles of Artificial Intelligence as applied to machines. Eventually this took the form of one great networked-machine responsible for integrating all other machines across the globe. This top level machine was called the Global Order Directory (GOD). 

Now, over 200 years since IDIOT and WEIRD were overcome, GOD has increasingly taken control of all human activities. By 2260 GOD controlled all power and transport systems, industry supply and communications. No single person knows the whole GOD network and no person is able to repair the network without using a GOD controlled machine to do so. Most repair is carried out by GODs' robots. Bots (software robots) are used for most system changes and human beings now find themselves increasingly unable to make decisions, communicate, shift goods or travel themselves without the approval of GOD.

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