Aristotle’s claim that men are complete, perfect beings, while women are simply incomplete males is an inherently wrong claim that has regrettably permeated the field of science and technology to this very day. The recent scandals in Silicon Valley with companies like Uber and Google have highlighted this issue. Despite many companies today working hard to promote a message of inclusion, equal opportunity, and open mindedness, many of these companies are no different than the sexists of the past. I do believe that there are fundamental differences between men and women, but I can firmly state that these differences are limited to the physical attributes.
I am a male and I am absolutely horrible at math and science. Since elementary I have struggled with numbers, data, and analysis. However, I have always been strongly drawn towards the humanities, it is something that basically just clicked with me from an early age. In class on Wednesday we discussed how teachers in elementary school tend to push boys towards math and science subjects and for that reason men are typically stronger in those areas. That talk struck a chord with me. I can not begin to express how much I hate dealing with numbers. I have loved my time at Colby because for once in my life I have had the opportunity to pursue my true passion, politics. As a government major, I am taking classes that are genuinely interesting to me and applicable to my interests. I have also met women here who are so skilled and strong in mathematical subjects. I believe that the supposed male disposition to math and science is a complete fabrication. While the statistics may point to more men excelling in these fields may disagree with me, I am of the opinion that humans have the ability to determine their own interests and it is much more of a “nurture” factor than “nature”.
I contend that males are pressured into certain career paths due to the societal construct that men are expected to be the breadwinners in typical American households. Careers in finance, business, and technology are typically high paying and for that reason men are drawn to careers in those fields. This is an issue that I have struggled with while considering a career in the political realm, I have felt pressured to find a career that will allow me to provide a stable financial background for my family. As the role of women continues to evolve, I believe that this tragic construct will continue to diminish.
For the longest time women have been expected to run the “home”, care for children, and take jobs that allow them to play a major role at home. This is finally changing, women are now able to prioritize their careers and pursue careers in high-paying sectors. This development will certainly show that women are taking to new careers in the business and science industries and the male monopoly will begin to diminish. I could not be more excited by this development and I am excited by what the future holds for the role of women in the workplace.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a quintessential example of an experiment gone awry, an effort initiated with seemingly pure intentions but evolves into something with unintended and disastrous consequences. Frankenstein the monster becomes more than simply a reanimated “humanish” creature. His creation accidentally gave rise to issues of companionship, loneliness, and other human emotions that ultimately made him a true monster.
I believe that many of today’s modern marvels are riddled with similar unintended consequences. The primary example being the Amazon Echo. The daily news cycle is dominated with stories of Echo devices listening to their owners and then acting without any instruction. People with Echo devices find themselves receiving advertisements for products or services that they had only discussed in person with friends or family members. It seems as though the days of only having to worry about what one wrote or typed are long gone. The spoken word used to be the final frontier in terms of privacy, you could still speak your mind in private, but now the Amazon Echo is always listening, picking up on certain keywords, and creating customized advertisement strategies for you.
There is also the issue of the relationship between Echo data and the Intelligence authorities. Many people, myself included, view them as conspiracy theories. However, if there is truly a connection between the two, then an invasion of privacy breach is certainly a real and present danger.
Customers who simply wanted a device that would record grocery lists and play music are suddenly facing unintended ramifications that they had no way of anticipating, much like Frankenstein’s monster. These people did not sign up for a product that listens to their every word, records and analyzes it. This is an area that I believe must be addressed by both private and public oversight entities.
Another example of technological overreach can be identified in the recording of search data on Google and Facebook. These tech giants have been recording the search data of individuals for years and have been able to compile advertisement and content preferences to suit each individual customer. This collection and manipulation of our personal preferences and information is changing the way that we shop and consume information. Lawmakers in Congress are finally beginning to investigate the ways in which Facebook and Google are handling our information, but I believe that this is just the “tip of the iceberg.” The Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is the most evident example of data manipulation. Facebook’s advertising platform allowed hackers to infiltrate the “newsfeeds” of American citizens and feed them falsified news that ultimately impacted the results of our executive election.
As technology advances and takes an increasingly more important role in our daily lives it is vitally important that we take a more cautious approach toward our work. Inventions that collect, track, and analyze our data are a novel and groundbreaking concept, capable of revolutionizing the way we live and work. However, if unmonitored and unsupervised, we risk sacrificing our sacred right to privacy.