Even though most of us don’t cheat in our adult lives, there are always times when we’ve been tempted. If only as a thought experiment, we find enjoyable to consider what mistakes others had made on similar paths, and how we might avoid these pitfalls.
The most interesting part of this for us comes from the role which technology has played in the world of cheating. From cheating in school to catching infidelity, technology has evolved this unavoidable component of humanity, for better or for worse.
Cheating in School
The days of hiding physical cheat-sheets on your person or in the bathroom are long gone when sitting an exam. Instead, the tech-savvy students of today are resorting on much more evolved methods. One of the popular systems in the last few years has been uploading cheat documents to smartwatches. Once properly set up, all students need to do is “check the time”, during which they can freely cheat.
Another popular method among classes which offer online systems is the simple employment of others to do the work for the student, feeding it back through internet-connected devices. There have been efforts to check locational data to ensure this doesn’t happen, but this is not always a possibility, and technology like VPNs can find their way around these hurdles.
Combating these styles of cheating is often difficult, but it is not usually impossible. In many schooling institutions, drink bottles have been banned during exams due to the prevalence of custom printed labels. Similarly, removing watches from exams is likely the next logical step.
Naturally, there has also been a recent increase in the number of academic institutions turning to anti-plagiarism software, though which student assignments are run in order to ascertain the originality of content.
Breaking the Bank
Some of the more famous examples of cheating have come from the world of casinos. One of the earliest instances of this was a specially designed computer designed for roulette. In 1961, MIT student Edward Thorpe used his wearable computer to great effect, giving himself an edge in roulette.
More recently, acts of cheating in casinos have been considerably more difficult to perform. Constant computer surveillance and advanced scanning machines have made it nearly impossible for older techniques to succeed.
Instead, the only reliable methods of “cheating” in a game like roulette aren’t really considered cheating at all. Taking notice of a “biased” wheel and choosing to play on it for example, is a tech-free alternative, and one which the legal system considers perfectly fine. Players track hot and cold numbers in this case, in an attempt to figure out whether there are certain numbers on a given roulette wheel on which the ball more likely to land.
The Other End of Spectrum
The most harmful form of cheating, for many of us, hits a little closer to home. Infidelity today is a very different game than it was a few years ago, thanks to self-deleting messages and encryption technology.
Of course, not even these methods are completely safe. Despite certain encrypted methods of communication being touted as completely safe for those who want to keep their activity hidden, there are still ways to recover messages from systems such as WhatApp, turning the tables on those dishonest few.
This makes us wonder what the future could hold for the world of cheating. What happens if computer implants move from extreme rarity to vogue, and how will this affect the way we cheat? So far, we only have questions, but you can bet this will be something to watch.