When governments envy technology. Or fear it.

So this article isn’t directly linked to automation. But it does show the drive of competition in the technological race to superiority. The article states that a Chinese government hackers-group (?!) infiltrated ASML.
Most likely for the designs of the extreme ultra-violet light which ASML uses (or will use) for its newest generation of transistors.

George Orwell – 1984

I wanted to do an article on ASML’s newest eUV machines. A company like ASML keeps Moore’s law a reality. As it works with 13,5nm lightwaves (thusly way in the UV spectrum). This technology is one of the new leaps in direction of automation for the masses. as transistors keep getting smaller, more efficient and cheaper technology becomes available to everyone. The vast amount of transistors that can be packed into chips on this scale would mean large information density. Which in turn can be used to perform automated tasks at higher speeds. More intelligence for robots, smarter appliances, bugs carrying miniature computers around to show migrations in nature, nanotech operations inside the human body, … I’m just ball parking this, but you get the point, technology on a small scale has immense possibilities, even for large scale technology.



So, reading the article stated below (sorry for the native English speakers, I couldn’t find an adequate version in English) gave me goosebumps. We’ve all heard about the NSA spying on everyone, Russian intelligence services doing the same and well in China, the government has tight grips on what goes on in China. It was to be expected malpractices like these to occur. But why do they feel the need to steal for instance eUV tech? They can’t actually reproduce it, there are international courts for those kinds of things. Preparing for when the patent expires maybe? I don’t know. Looking a bit further i’ve found countless companies claiming to be hacked by theirs or other governments. Let us step away a bit from accusations, I would like to be still allowed into China for vacations. Let us once again move to a more philosophical point.

Why do we fear technology -and implicitly automation? Why do we envy it? I think the envy is simply not wanting to be left behind on the technological shore of poverty. Everyone wants to be at the top. For countries it often implies survival or prosperity. For people it means living better lives or maybe feeling better than others.

So what makes us fear technology? Since, seeing the comments on this wordpress, most of us don’t expect the world to turn automated tomorrow and all of us out of a job yesterday. why do we then fear technology? Fear of the unknown is in my mind not the same as fear of technology. Science is knowing, technology is applied science. It basically translates what we have learned into something we use. Automation is taking what we use and doing it more efficiently and independent of other systems (or people). I find that what we don’t know (yet) is what makes us wonder. It drives for us to learn more. Searching for answers is in a very taoistic way the answer to THE question. (see what I did there? taoism, something really nice, came from China 😉 )



3 thoughts on “When governments envy technology. Or fear it.

  1. alexandervankerckhoven

    I think indeed it is sometimes a bit frightening to think about all the things governments do to spy on us. Like for example the case with Edward Snowden who talked about all the things NSA did which weren’t even legal. And certainly when we all heard about the hacking of sony by Nord-Korea for the movie of the interview. I think it gets really scary if governments start hacking private companies. China should work out certain laws to protect intellectual property instead of helping hackings like these.


  2. gerbenpeeters3dee

    I think people aren’t afraid of technology, at least I aren’t. But the government itself is. To put it simple, we don’t need a government. Really we don’t. Thanks to more intelligence and advance technologies this will become more evident to the common people and they will start to resist against the government. Another point is the unnecessary fear of open Knowledge Management. But that’s a more a kind of a lifestyle and philosophical way of how you want to live. I think most people are happy with closed knowledge management. “I know something you don’t know” seems to please plenty. I wouldn’t mind living in a world where there is no plagiarism, no secrets, everything is open sourced. That would be waaaay more efficient, and in the end would help us all.


  3. nicolemmens

    Information is worth A LOT in the world of financial markets . ASML is huge player and important company. Just knowing the state of their affairs is worth a lot in many places. Knowing what ASML is up to exactly is stock broker gold… This seems likely for competitors as well. They don’t really have to copy the technology, just knowing what your “adversary” is up to is immensely valuable to the long term strategy your company takes.
    (E.g. continue investing in your own R&D or is it already pointless to continue spending money in something.) Countries might want to know where’re they’re at, state of the union wise…

    As for the fear thing, I think it’s a healthy combination between fear of the unknown and genuine curiosity… Basic human traits.



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