Tech Soup  

Sex and technology don't mix

Last week, CBC aired a documentary titled Facebook Follies, a close look at the part technology plays in capturing our not-so-fine moments. Once that photo has been placed on Facebook, that e-mail has been sent, that Tweet has been tweeted... it’s out there and can easily come back and bite ya in the ass. It’s a great hour of television; hopefully it will air again soon.

Remember Weinergate? You know, when disgraced New York representative Anthony Weiner was forced to resign for sending photos of his, ummm, namesake to a young woman on Twitter? The “weiner” puns came fast and furious, and his name invokes jokes that practically write themselves. Far be it from me to shy away from taking a stab at it, so before we get all serious I’ll get it all out of the way: Honestly, this guy was in a serious pickle. He is facing stiff challenges – not to mention a shriveling marriage - and was pressured to decide if the heat was enough to make him pull out. Ahhhh… that felt better. Now on to the meat of the matter (somebody stop me).

I love technology. It changes so quickly and never gets boring. But while technological advances do lead to greater productivity and an improved quality of life, they often also carry a serious risk that didn’t exist previously. The speed of today’s technology doesn’t give us nearly as much time to consider any ramifications for hitting the “Return” key. Especially in a state of arousal; it’s pretty difficult for anything resembling logic to enter into the brain when we’re being influenced by another part of the body. 

The introduction of Siri, Apple’s voice assistant that’s responsible for a large portion of the iPhone 4S sales, only magnifies the issue. Now we can send e-mail, text, and more without any hands. 

The immediate availability of smartphones - equipped with cameras and access to the Internet, Facebook and Twitter – combined with an illogical state of arousal makes for a lethal combination. Think of all the leaked photos that have surfaced online in the past few years. Consider what would have had to run through Weiner’s mind should this have occurred 15 years ago. He would have had to go through the trouble of pulling out his bulky camera, take the pictures, remove the film, bring the roll to Wal-Mart, get them developed, put them in an envelope and send them to the female fan of choice. That’s a lot of work. Somewhere along the way, I’ll bet that the voice of reason would have eventually taken over. 

And how did the actual penis shots get leaked online? The original photos never actually leaked... what ended up happening is political commentator Andrew Breitbart somehow had a copy of the photo on his iPhone. Appearing on the Opie and Anthony radio show, Breitbart figured he would give the shock jocks a glimpse of the photo. And of course, since most of us have cameras in our pockets, Opie and Anthony whipped out their iPhones and took a picture of the picture. Yes, the photo is still circulating on the Internet if you’re curious.

Honestly folks, as gadgets get smarter and become bundled with more and more goodies, a small piece of our privacy pie is taken away. Everything we do and say online is becoming increasingly scrutinized, and now, with even more of our info being stored online in places like the iCloud, it’s only going to get more serious. I’ve said it many times before but it bears consistent repetition: Think twice before hitting ‘Send’! Your job or your marriage may depend on it. 

Video of the Week

I’m obsessed with Siri, and have been testing the phone’s voice assistant out over the last few days, consistently amazed at its ability to understand as much as it does. But have you ever wondered what happens when she gets all existential - as if she’s kind of high? Wonder no more.

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Each week, Tech Soup will be written by a member of the Okanagan's burgeoning first-rate technology community. We already have a few regular contributors, but if you're interested in writing a tech piece for this weekly column, send us an email to [email protected]

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