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The Spookiest Tech Trends of Recent Years | SignalWire

The Spookiest Tech Trends of Recent Years

The world of tech has always had its scary aspects, even for those who love it and work within it constantly. Now that spooky season is here and we have smarter tech than ever before in one of the most frightening years in recent memory, there’s perhaps no better time to look at the spooky side of tech. It’s not always just science fiction. Here’s a few trending technologies of current times that can be positively frightening:

Artificial Intelligence

We all know AI isn’t REALLY that scary. At least not in the way science fiction seems to depict it. Many of us in the world of telecom work with AI applications all the time. Even so, some AI have been able to accomplish some creepy feats, and the deep-seated fear in humans that robots will become smarter than us and take over the world will probably never go away until we’re proven right. Some spooky examples of AI surpassing humans in recent years: chatbots inventing new languages we can’t understand, mind-reading AI, and we can’t forget about the time Sophia said she would destroy all humans.


Just like AI, drones themselves are neutral and many of us use them for all kinds of projects. But as it turns out, surveillance drones are pretty common too, and being spied on is pretty chilling to think about. Drones are VERY sneaky. For the past decade or so, many people have been picking up on this, and requests have been made to legislators to author laws surrounding the use of drones to protect the privacy of the public. Small, inconspicuous drones can be used to spy on people completely without their knowledge from thousands of feet away, and what’s scarier than government or police state surveillance? In 2020 in some countries, there are even drones monitoring people to make sure they stay inside in the face of the pandemic. The horror!

3D Printed Weapons

3D printing offers a world of possibilities for anybody that wants to try it. When we think of 3D printing, we might think of small household objects, some crazy good innovations like 3D printing homes for cheap, or in the world of medicine, things like 3D printing a cast for a broken bone. In the last couple of years, however, the 3D printing of weapons has increased. A 3D printed gun movement that could consist of thousands of people across the world has grown, and it’s surprisingly difficult to regulate as it’s so decentralized. Currently, 3D printing weapons is illegal across Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia. It’s a little bit horrifying that just about anybody could take manufacturing weapons into their own hands. And since these guns are made of plastic and not metal, they’re highly undetectable, which is where concern usually lies from government and law enforcement.

Driverless Cars

Self-driving cars might very well become the norm in the future. But they’re still a work in progress, and until every single car on the road is driverless, there are huge hiccups that can occur between how human drivers act compared to autonomous vehicles. In the meantime, since they’re connected to the internet, they’re a perfect target for hacking that could land you in an unknown location – a completely nightmarish situation for anyone. It’s no surprise that most Americans are actually afraid of self-driving cars.

Spooky Robot Dogs

Boston Dynamics’ Spot, the robot dog, has been around for the better part of a decade. In 2020, it gained a lot of popularity as a coronavirus prevention mechanism, patrolling around public spaces to scan for proper social distancing habits and playing an automated message asking people to stay 1 meter apart. But these robot dogs can be programmed to do just about anything. There’s something unsettling about an army of these little things towing a truck. And when they’re unexpectedly patrolling public parks and streets, they can really freak people out.

Brain Chips

Brain chips evoke an uneasy feeling, like they’re something that would only be widely used in some dystopian sci-fi world. But for the last couple of years, Elon Musk has been working on Neuralink, brain-machine interfaces that connect minds to machines. There are more wholesome sides to this project, which ideally would be used to cure Parkinson’s disease, or to allow people who are paralyzed to operate technology with their minds. Although that sounds pretty cool, there’s a lot we don’t know about the project at the moment. If the chip were hacked, what could the risks be? Could a person lose control of their own mind or suffer from brain damage? We won’t really know until the technology is more widespread.

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Echo and Google Home are listening to your every move. Not only that, but real humans could then listen to hours of data – and as recently as last year, they were! It’s pretty terrifying that you could be spied on in your own home, with anything you say recorded by a home assistant, from mildly private conversations to your deepest secrets. Even if the home assistants only start recording after hearing their wake word, we all know how easy it can be to trigger one of these things. Stop spying on me, Google!

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition algorithms aren’t just used to unlock smartphones or tag yourself in photos on social media. This kind of technology can be used in policing, and the biggest problem is that it’s not always entirely accurate – false positives could incriminate the wrong people altogether. That’s a nightmarish outcome for anyone, so hopefully its use won’t become widespread until the technology is able to be perfected.

Don’t get too spooked out there, and stay safe this year. Happy Halloween from the team at FreeSWITCH and SignalWire!