Barbed Wire Apps

Ironic, isn’t it?

Photo: US Army. Source: National Archives. Public Domain.

The same technology that ended the range wars of the Old West – conflicts over property rights stemming from free-ranging animals – was soon put to use by military minds to create defensive positions. During World War I, barbed wire was a crucial part of trench warfare, protecting key emplacements from charging soldiers. And it was used to keep people enclosed, too. Herding and controlling them when they are prisoners.

The same thing that ended one set of conflicts became a crucial part of expanding another: the Great War that took tens of millions of lives.

Source: Maxpixel. CC0.

It’s like this with most technologies. Something originally designed as a commercial or agricultural or artistic innovation becomes useful in a way never intended by the inventor. Barbed wire invented to control livestock ends up treating people like animals. Data science intended to help us classify information is used to categorize people and influence them. Behavioral science that allows psychologists to treat mental illness can also facilitate manipulation and deceipt.

The same principle works in reverse, of course. Mustard gas used in World War I was later found to have therapeutic properties for treating cancer. Medical oncology, controlling cancer through chemotherapy, originated in preparations for potential gas warfare in World War II. Trauma surgery techniques developed in battlefield hospitals are now used in modern hospital emergency rooms.

Photo: Wonderlane. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0

Technology is neutral. It’s the application that matters. As we consider regulating the data giants and their data collection and management and manipulation, we need to remember this. It’s not the technology; it’s the application.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA

Charter Trust Company

“The Best Trust Company in New England”

By |2019-08-13T06:53:37-04:00August 13th, 2019|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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