Deepening dependency on technology raises risk of breakdowns ...

MICHAEL LIEDTKE AND BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP TECHNOLOGY WRITERS, INC.:

"When technology breaks down now, people's lives go haywire, too.

"Wednesday's confounding confluence of computer outages at United Airlines, the New York Stock Exchange and The Wall Street Journal delivered a jolting reminder about our deepening dependence on interconnected networks to get through each day.

"For the most part, technology has worked smoothly while hatching innovations and conveniences that have made our lives easier and our jobs more productive. Computers, though, could bring more frequent headaches as they link together with billions of other electronic devices and household appliances-; a phenomenon that has become known as the 'Internet of things.'

"This technological daisy chain will increase the complexity of the systems and raise the risks of massive breakdowns, either through an inadvertent glitch or a malicious attack."

Last night, I lost my Internet connection. My first thought was that something might have gone wrong with my hardware setup, and so I went about disconnecting and reconnecting cables, powering up and down a couple of equipment, and generally troubleshooting in an attempt to figure out the problem, with the hope of fixing it. Nothing helped, so in the end, I thought of calling my service provider, and was rewarded with a pre-recorded message that there is a temporary Internet service disruption in my area with no known estimate repair schedule for when it will be fixed. This small disruption, while not earth-shattering, caused the derailment of two of the things I wanted to do. Nothing major, of course, just a small taste that nonetheless shows how totally dependent I've been with technology, as I'm sure many others are too, and how much it affected me when something went wrong.

Read more about the piece, here.