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Technology is the creation usage and knowledge of tools techniques crafts systems or methods of organization as means in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose or end The word technology comes from Greektechnología fromtéchnē meaning art skill craft and logía meaning study of The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas examples include construction technology medical technology and information technology Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments The human species’ use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tool The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment Recent technological development including the printing press the telephone and the Internet have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale However not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes the development of weapons of everincreasing destructive power has progressed throughout history from clubs to nuclear weapons Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways In many societies technology has helped develop more advanced economies including today’s global economy and has allowed the rise of a leisure class Many technological processes produce unwanted byproducts known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of the Earth and its environment Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity a term originally applied only to machines and the challenge of traditional norms Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it NeoLuddism anarchoprimitivism and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world opining that it harms the environment and alienates people proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and technoprogressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition Indeed until recently it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations Lacking a powerful technology sector of its own
the European Union has instead tried to carve out a space in the digital economy as the world’s regulatory superpower
leading the charge on privacy rights and data protection by leveraging its enormous single market against Goliaths like Google and Facebook. But a number of recent examples have made it clear that for Europe
increasingly
that is not enough. The rapid pace of technological change including artificial intelligence and facial recognition is mingling ever more with national security concerns that European leaders have been slow to grasp and respond to
analysts say. As global technology shapes up into a battleground between China and the United States
Europe is finding it harder to set the rules of the road while others in Beijing and Washington are in the diver’s seat. “Europe needs to get its act together
said Marietje Schaake
international policy director at the Cyber Policy Center of Stanford University and a former member of the European Parliament. “I worry the tempo is too slow for the pace at which changes are forthcoming.” The most recent example is TikTok
the wildly popular Chinese short video app
which the Trump administration has challenged by using many of the same national security arguments it employed against Huawei
the Chinese telecommunications giant
and its bid to become the globe’s dominant 5G provider. Time and again
such disputes have left European leaders
regulators and industries squeezed between Beijing and Washington
risking retaliation against carmakers
financial services firms or agriculture companies if they choose one side over the other. In response
European leaders have belatedly embarked on a generational project toward “digital sovereignty
mixing tougher rules against foreign tech companies with efforts to boost local innovation. Margrethe Vestager
the European Commission vice president in charge of digital issues
has called it a “new phase” for technology policy in the region. But those policies will take years to shift the balance meaningfully in Europe’s favor
analysts say
and many question whether they are really enough to close the technology gap with the United States and China. One reason Brussels risks falling behind is that security remains the responsibility of individual member nations
not one ceded to the European Union
Ms. Schaake said. “TikTok confronts Europe with the weaknesses of its digital and national security policies
she said. “Europe is naïve about certain of the technologies coming from China and the United States
and just says that anyone doing business in Europe has to respect our rights and regulations.” After months of debate
some European leaders are coming around to views closer to those held in Washington
where President Trump has moved to try to force the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to an American company
charging that the company’s Chinese ties present a national security threat. It has used the same argument against Huawei
the telecommunications giant
though both companies deny any explicit link to the Chinese government. In Europe
the American point of view on Huawei
backed by the threat of secondary sanctions
has gained ground
most recently in Britain
where a ban was adopted in July. But most Europeans mostly still see TikTok not as a security threat
but as a risk to privacy. Even if the White House-orchestrated TikTok sale goes through
the European operations will remain under the ownership of the Chinese parent company
ByteDance. TikTok uses both facial recognition and artificial intelligence
important technologies that are not regulated by the United States or the European Union. “With the combination of competition
artificial intelligence and security
it makes sense why some policymakers are concerned
said Andreas Aktoudianakis
a digital policy analyst with the European Policy Center
a research institution in Brussels. Gerard de Graaf
director for the digital single market for the European Commission
said that the European Union needed “a lot more cooperation among member states on the issue of security.” Europe has no major social media platforms
he conceded in a seminar at Bruegel
a Brussels research institution
but is doing well in financial technology
robotics and 5G. “It’s not that the E.U. is way behind everyone else
he said
“but we have challenges.” But Francesca Bria
chair of the Italian National Innovation Fund
argued that Europe risked being squashed between the Chinese state model which is represented by Huawei
WeChat
Alibaba
Tencent and TikTok
with their state subsidies and the “big company
big tech surveillance” of the American giants. “If we fail to regain digital sovereignty
she said
“we risk becoming a colony caught between the U.S. and China
with risks to democracy. The weaknesses are stark. The world’s most popular smartphones are made in China
South Korea and the United States. The biggest social media and online shopping platforms come from American and Chinese companies
as do the largest providers of cloud computing and artificial intelligence services. Europe has been missing from the list of the world’s most influential technology companies since the fall of Nokia about a decade ago. For reasons including lack of venture capital
language barriers and a cultural aversion to risk
European companies have struggled to match the entrepreneurial pace in a technology industry now dominated by mobile devices
internet services and online communication tools. Europe has attempted to influence the digital economy through regulation
adopting tough data protection rules and aggressively enforcing antitrust laws. But European leaders are realizing the limits of those efforts
particularly as its citizens depend on Amazon
Apple
Facebook and Google in the absence of European alternatives. The biggest European technology company is Germany’s SAP
a business software provider that competes with American companies like Microsoft and Oracle. Along with privacy and security issues
TikTok also raises questions about disinformation and about censorship exercised by the company on issues of sensitivity to China. The European Data Protection Board said in June that it would set up a task force to assess TikTok’s activities across the bloc. But it is not clear what European agency would take the lead
especially since TikTok in July shifted data protection functions to Dublin. That might give the Irish Data Protection Commission oversight of the company when it comes to privacy issues. But the agency has faced criticism in the past for not being more aggressive. “Europe hasn’t developed its own global digital companies to compete with the big U.S. and Chinese firms
and ultimately that’s what digital sovereignty is all about
Mr. Barkin

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