Rules for the Digital Panopticon

The technologies of persistent surveillance can protect us only if certain boundaries are respected

3 min read
Rules for the Digital Panopticon
Photo: Colin Anderson/Getty Images

For centuries, we humans have lacked the all-knowing, all-seeing mechanisms to credibly predict and prevent bad actions by others. Now these very powers of preemption are perhaps within our grasp, thanks to a confluence of technologies.

In the foreseeable future, governments, and perhaps some for-profit corporations and civil-society groups, will design, construct, and deploy surveillance systems that aim to predict and prevent bad actions—and to identify, track, and neutralize people who commit them.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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