How Has Technology Changed in the 20 Years Since 9/11?

Twenty years have passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York. Over the last 2 decades, it is not only global politics that has changed, but technology as well.
We will have a look at some of the ways technology has changed since that tragedy.

Social media and misinformation

On the day the attacks happened, the majority of people worldwide first heard about the attacks through word of mouth or by way of the traditional media. Back then, social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, did not yet exist.

Today, news spreads much more quickly through social media platforms, news notifications and websites. It is almost impossible to consider a situation today where something significant happens in the world and not know about it moments later.

Social media platforms may come with there problems (such as misinformation) however they can help people protect themselves so they know which areas or cities to avoid in a case of emergency. Facebook also has a way for people to alert loved ones as to their safety.

DNA testing

Last week, local authorities were able to identify two more victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York thanks to advancements in DNA testing and the ongoing DNA analysis of remains. Dorothy Morgan was the 1,646th victim identified

The second person identified was a man, who will remain anonymous due to the wishes of his family. There are still at least 40% (more than 1,100 victims) who died on 9/11, that are unidentified.

Forensic scientists in New York are testing and retesting more than 22,000 body parts that were recovered from the terrorist attacks, and a lot of testing is being done using bone fragments the size of a Tic Tac candy.

The New York City medical examiner’s office has been approved to use the forensic method called Next Generation Sequencing. This is a method which is being used already to identify remains from World War II.

Increased surveillance

After the September 11th tragedy, it’s almost impossible to enter a large building in any big city without showing your photo ID.

Surveillance has become a big part of daily life. There are more cameras everywhere and they have not just grown in quantity but quality also. Twenty years ago, surveillance cameras would record just a few hours of content, and only in low definition.

Today, cameras actually make up an entire network that can upload hours of clear images onto cloud devices. Facial recognition software, with the help of AI-powered tools can then identify people more easily.

Licence plate readers and even surveillance drones are being used to hover above mass protests.

Better communication networks

Twenty years on, we now have more robust communication networks. These have improved by private companies and governments to help people cope better in the event of a disaster. A lot of the wired and wireless technology today can actually withstand antennae going offline or still function if wires are damaged.

These developments help people and governments cope in major incidents, such as terror attacks, but also for natural disasters, such as hurricanes. Communication is always vital, but especially so during emergencies.

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