Self-expression, Belonging, and Respect – Is Taking Risks Part of it?

Seeing someone walking up the leaning tower in Pisa with shoes that were clearly not designed for this situation I wondered about the risks people take in live. We recently had a discussion (with other parents) on the risks kids take today in the digital world – put up regrettable pictures flickr, liking a politically incorrect site on facebook, or posting silly things on twitter.

I sometimes feel in these discussions that I want to put things into perspective… We do a lot of things that are not reasonable in order to express ourselves and to present an image to our peer group (e.g. tattoos and piercings are common and there are risks associated). We want to belong to a group and hence we do things that are expected by our peers or even to impress them (e.g. doing a skateboard trick without protection or skiing where it is not allowed). If think hard there are probably many things you remember where you took major risks (when you were young)…  On TV I saw a yesterday night a documentary on the Hippie movement in the 1960/1970. In comparison to the risks young people took in order to change the world (or to just be different and accepted in their peer group) the risks you take on the Internet seem very tame…

There is a further point we can learn from this: eventually society (and the law) will catch up and some of the innovations will stay and change society. But some will no be accepted… People need to explore boundaries – otherwise progress is unlikely.

For many people who have explored boundaries in 1970ies (ranging from drugs to violence – in a way we have agreed today is completely unacceptable) this has not hindered their careers. People generally see actions in context…  Hence having the “wrong” photo on facebook is probably not harming someone’s career (but probably the time they spend on facebook rather than revising for exams may).

>Self-expression, Belonging, and Respect – Is Taking Risks Part of it?

>Seeing someone walking up the leaning tower in Pisa with shoes that were clearly not designed for this situation I wondered about the risks people take in live. We recently had a discussion (with other parents) on the risks kids take today in the digital world – put up regrettable pictures flickr, liking a politically incorrect site on facebook, or posting silly things on twitter.

I sometimes feel in these discussions that I want to put things into perspective… We do a lot of things that are not reasonable in order to express ourselves and to present an image to our peer group (e.g. tattoos and piercings are common and there are risks associated). We want to belong to a group and hence we do things that are expected by our peers or even to impress them (e.g. doing a skateboard trick without protection or skiing where it is not allowed). If think hard there are probably many things you remember where you took major risks (when you were young)…  On TV I saw a yesterday night a documentary on the Hippie movement in the 1960/1970. In comparison to the risks young people took in order to change the world (or to just be different and accepted in their peer group) the risks you take on the Internet seem very tame…

There is a further point we can learn from this: eventually society (and the law) will catch up and some of the innovations will stay and change society. But some will no be accepted… People need to explore boundaries – otherwise progress is unlikely.

For many people who have explored boundaries in 1970ies (ranging from drugs to violence – in a way we have agreed today is completely unacceptable) this has not hindered their careers. People generally see actions in context…  Hence having the “wrong” photo on facebook is probably not harming someone’s career (but probably the time they spend on facebook rather than revising for exams may).

Self-expression, Belonging, and Respect – Is Taking Risks Part of it?

Seeing someone walking up the leaning tower in Pisa with shoes that were clearly not designed for this situation I wondered about the risks people take in live. We recently had a discussion (with other parents) on the risks kids take today in the digital world – put up regrettable pictures flickr, liking a politically incorrect site on facebook, or posting silly things on twitter.

I sometimes feel in these discussions that I want to put things into perspective… We do a lot of things that are not reasonable in order to express ourselves and to present an image to our peer group (e.g. tattoos and piercings are common and there are risks associated). We want to belong to a group and hence we do things that are expected by our peers or even to impress them (e.g. doing a skateboard trick without protection or skiing where it is not allowed). If think hard there are probably many things you remember where you took major risks (when you were young)…  On TV I saw a yesterday night a documentary on the Hippie movement in the 1960/1970. In comparison to the risks young people took in order to change the world (or to just be different and accepted in their peer group) the risks you take on the Internet seem very tame…

There is a further point we can learn from this: eventually society (and the law) will catch up and some of the innovations will stay and change society. But some will no be accepted… People need to explore boundaries – otherwise progress is unlikely.

For many people who have explored boundaries in 1970ies (ranging from drugs to violence – in a way we have agreed today is completely unacceptable) this has not hindered their careers. People generally see actions in context…  Hence having the “wrong” photo on facebook is probably not harming someone’s career (but probably the time they spend on facebook rather than revising for exams may).

Will it be possible to keep data secret in the future?

At the moment there is an interesting discussion in Germany: should the state buy data (leaked out of a Swiss bank) that give details on people who have not paid their taxes in Germany. I will not add to the political discussion on that as there have been many arguments – some interesting and others funny. I am only amused about a small party that is very much against it. But one has to be fair – this is after all an indicator that democracy works ;-) parties represent the interests of their voters…

I think on a more general scale this incident and similar current cases could be an indicator of a future where everything that is on (electronic) file is likely to become public, given that there is an interest. One hundred years ago it was pretty difficult to steal or copy a few thousand data sets. You would have needed access to the archives for many nights and copying would have taken days. 30 years ago it would have been still hard – e.g. copying stacks of paper on a Xerox or using several large magnetic disks. Over recent years it has become much easier – a memory card is fairly small and a digital camera to copy documents is in many current mobile phones. It seems that if someone has rightful access to data (at a certain point in time) it may proof very hard to keep them from making a copy – may it be by copying the data digitally or by capturing electronically what they see. And hiding a SD-card is much more trivial than a car load of paper.

And as we know technology is progressing – perhaps we will get laws that restrict how small the physical size of a memory device can be ;-) And there is always a party who will lobby for it…

>Will it be possible to keep data secret in the future?

>At the moment there is an interesting discussion in Germany: should the state buy data (leaked out of a Swiss bank) that give details on people who have not paid their taxes in Germany. I will not add to the political discussion on that as there have been many arguments – some interesting and others funny. I am only amused about a small party that is very much against it. But one has to be fair – this is after all an indicator that democracy works ;-) parties represent the interests of their voters…

I think on a more general scale this incident and similar current cases could be an indicator of a future where everything that is on (electronic) file is likely to become public, given that there is an interest. One hundred years ago it was pretty difficult to steal or copy a few thousand data sets. You would have needed access to the archives for many nights and copying would have taken days. 30 years ago it would have been still hard – e.g. copying stacks of paper on a Xerox or using several large magnetic disks. Over recent years it has become much easier – a memory card is fairly small and a digital camera to copy documents is in many current mobile phones. It seems that if someone has rightful access to data (at a certain point in time) it may proof very hard to keep them from making a copy – may it be by copying the data digitally or by capturing electronically what they see. And hiding a SD-card is much more trivial than a car load of paper.

And as we know technology is progressing – perhaps we will get laws that restrict how small the physical size of a memory device can be ;-) And there is always a party who will lobby for it…

Will it be possible to keep data secret in the future?

At the moment there is an interesting discussion in Germany: should the state buy data (leaked out of a Swiss bank) that give details on people who have not paid their taxes in Germany. I will not add to the political discussion on that as there have been many arguments – some interesting and others funny. I am only amused about a small party that is very much against it. But one has to be fair – this is after all an indicator that democracy works ;-) parties represent the interests of their voters…

I think on a more general scale this incident and similar current cases could be an indicator of a future where everything that is on (electronic) file is likely to become public, given that there is an interest. One hundred years ago it was pretty difficult to steal or copy a few thousand data sets. You would have needed access to the archives for many nights and copying would have taken days. 30 years ago it would have been still hard – e.g. copying stacks of paper on a Xerox or using several large magnetic disks. Over recent years it has become much easier – a memory card is fairly small and a digital camera to copy documents is in many current mobile phones. It seems that if someone has rightful access to data (at a certain point in time) it may proof very hard to keep them from making a copy – may it be by copying the data digitally or by capturing electronically what they see. And hiding a SD-card is much more trivial than a car load of paper.

And as we know technology is progressing – perhaps we will get laws that restrict how small the physical size of a memory device can be ;-) And there is always a party who will lobby for it…

>What did you do last Weekend: Soldering a radio kit and trying out a Sony Walkman

>What did I do with Vivien the last weekends? We soldered a radio receiver kit (retro style) and it worked – there are still plenty of stations on the air all over Europe. Nowadays you have to make quite some effort to find interesting electronic kits – besides the radio we got a candle light simulator (it is an LED controlled by a PIC microcontroller that imitates a realistic flickering candle in the form factor a small candle).

Do you remember the Sony walkman? It was at the time quite a revolution – looking at it now it looks a bit bulky. The BBC4 program “electric dreams” featuring a fast-forward through technologies from the time I was born till now was very entertaining and it brought back a lot of memories … ups getting old :-(

What did you do last Weekend: Soldering a radio kit and trying out a Sony Walkman

What did I do with Vivien the last weekends? We soldered a radio receiver kit (retro style) and it worked – there are still plenty of stations on the air all over Europe. Nowadays you have to make quite some effort to find interesting electronic kits – besides the radio we got a candle light simulator (it is an LED controlled by a PIC microcontroller that imitates a realistic flickering candle in the form factor a small candle).

Do you remember the Sony walkman? It was at the time quite a revolution – looking at it now it looks a bit bulky. The BBC4 program “electric dreams” featuring a fast-forward through technologies from the time I was born till now was very entertaining and it brought back a lot of memories … ups getting old :-(

What did you do last Weekend: Soldering a radio kit and trying out a Sony Walkman

What did I do with Vivien the last weekends? We soldered a radio receiver kit (retro style) and it worked – there are still plenty of stations on the air all over Europe. Nowadays you have to make quite some effort to find interesting electronic kits – besides the radio we got a candle light simulator (it is an LED controlled by a PIC microcontroller that imitates a realistic flickering candle in the form factor a small candle).

Do you remember the Sony walkman? It was at the time quite a revolution – looking at it now it looks a bit bulky. The BBC4 program “electric dreams” featuring a fast-forward through technologies from the time I was born till now was very entertaining and it brought back a lot of memories … ups getting old :-(