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Analysis

Although there were more people who felt that cryptography and coding is important in their lives, for every 3 people, at least 1felt that cryptography and coding is not important. This is a significant number of people and it shows that there are still many people who are unaware of the importance of cryptography and coding in their daily lives.

Cryptography and coding is very important to our daily lives because without them, the world would be potentially dangerous. For example, computers require heavy amounts of data to be transmitted and any interference by a hacker will result in disastrous consequences. Emails are also encrypted, otherwise unwanted people will be reading private email messages that are sent out. Cryptography and coding make our daily lives easier and give us privacy. The results show that we tend to take cryptography and coding for granted, or that people are ill-informed about the workings behind many electronics. We should not take them for granted because cryptography and coding make our lives better and give us assurance and privacy. We will also have to inform more people about how coding and cryptography are used.

 

 

Most of the people do not use cryptography to encode their messages. It tells us that they do not feel the need to encode their messages before sending them to someone else. However, 17 out of 60 had encoded their messages. This showed that a significant number of people realise the usefulness of cryptography as they made use of cryptography to hide their messages. At the same time, it also showed that these people trusted cryptography to hide their messages. One of those who took the survey said that he used it to pass messages to people but hid the content to prevent others from seeing the real message. We felt that people used cryptography because of its convenience.

 

Most people felt that working adults are more affected by codes and cryptography. It shows that people tend to have a perception that codes and cryptography will affect those who are working. In fact, codes and cryptography affect everyone in their daily lives. Teenagers do not know they are affected, because they do not really engage in the coding processes when they use electronics such as computers. Without cryptography, the world would not be safe. Not having coding and cryptography round will affect everyone ultimately. It also shows that people are taking codes and cryptography for granted.

 

Most people are aware that those working in the fields of computers and military will tend to be affected by cryptography and codes more. This is true, as both fields of occupation require heavy amounts of data to be encrypted before transmission. Computers encrypt email messages to prevent others from viewing the contents. They also use error correcting codes to correct any wrong data being transmitted. During World War 1, the Germans used the Enigma to encode their messages, sending them safely to the troops situated in different parts of Europe . However, the British broke the codes and the Germans lost. Thus codes also play an important role in deciding the winner in a war. It shows that the public is aware that such jobs rely heavily on cryptography and codes.

 

Most of the public relate “secret messages” to coding. However, that is not a very accurate way of saying it, because coding simply means translating human languages into something else for computers or others to understand. However, cryptography (part of coding) is hiding a message so that only specific people can understand it. Thus, we can inform the public about the misunderstanding between these two phrases in our project.

Quite a number of people chose “computer coding”. That is a correct usage of the word coding. We translate our language into something which the computers can understand. Coding had a very important role in technology. Without it, there would be no internet pages, and in fact no computers as all actions we perform on computers require the computers to understand our human language.

Also, around the same number of people chose “warfare”. Once again, during warfare, countries try to make their messages secret, thus coding is not really a very appropriate word to use. But it is true that messages are translated during war to make it hard for enemies to decrypt/decode. Many people know about that maybe because of the famous codes like Morse code.

 

Most people (48%) chose “sometimes”. This shows that the public do know some applications of coding and cryptography, but do not really think that it is very important.

 

However, quite a number of people (23%) also chose “almost none of the time”. This shows that there is quite a large percentage of the public who do not believe that coding and cryptography is applied to their life much, only a little bit. However, around the same percentage (22%) of people chose “most of the time” which make known that the knowledge of the public is very uneven.

 

4 people (7%) chose “all of the time”. Only this small amount of people realised the important role coding and cryptography play. Many do not realise this, possibly because they never thought of how many things around them work. However, no one chose “none at all”, maybe because they know some uses of them, or did not want to choose the extreme.

 

From the results, we can see that the public do know that coding and cryptography is used widely in credit cards, HTML codes, computer programming and bar codes. Most people recognize that the credit card numbers are used to check the validity of that card, and the bar code is used to check the products sold in that specific store. Of course, credit cards and the many products sold cannot be left “un-coded”, or else others can easily withdraw money from the credit cards, or take those products out of the store without being noticed. Also, many people know a lot about computers now, and know that coding is used to translate human language so that the computer can actually recognize it, and either show something or perform an action. HTML codes and computer programming are also linked to WebPages. Without those codes, the computer would not know what a webmaster wants on his webpage as computers do not understand human language.

An average amount of people know about coding used in emails, maybe because they have read about it. Emails are encrypted before they are sent. However, only around 32 or 33 people know about coding and cryptography being applied in NRIC and ISBN. So, we have to concentrate more on those and let the public know more about those, how they are used, and how does coding and cryptography come in. They do not know that cryptography is used in NRIC, maybe because they do not know that the last letter actually plays an important role in checking the validity of the NRIC. Some people told us that they do not know what ISBN was, so they do not know how the ISBN is used a lot in handling/ordering/borrowing of books.

 

From the results, we can see that most of the public knows about HTML code, Morse code and programming language. HTML and programming language may be because many of us nowadays do a lot of work on computers and we know that those weird “sentences” we enter into the computers are translated from human language for computers to understand. Many know about the Morse code, as it is famous due to its usage during wartime.

Some people know about the binary code as some mathematics enrichment magazines had taught about those, and also, some teachers taught them about the binary code. Also, some people know about it as it used in the computer to translate human language.

However, not many people know about the relatively simple code, Julius Caesar substitution. Perhaps they do not know of the complicated name.

All the other codes listed were not very well-known either, thus we have to do more research on them and publicize them to let the public know about those codes.

Some other codes mentioned were: Flash Actionscript, Diffie-Hellman key exchange, AES, DES, and Triple-DES.

 

The data from the survey tells us that most people do not know what error correcting codes are and their important roles in our lives. Error correcting codes actually play very important roles in our daily lives. They make sure that during transmission of data from one place to another; the data will not be corrupted even upon being hit by interference. Error correcting codes are everywhere in our lives such as in computers and CDs. For example, if there is a slight scratch on the CD, the error correcting codes will make sure that the data is not lost or corrupted. Error correcting codes are important in our high technology life and will continue to be more important as there will be more data transmission required in the future. One of the reasons given by the public for not knowing about error correcting codes was that they were still students and do not need to know about error correcting codes. However, everyone should know what error correcting codes are and we need to create awareness amongst them about such important codes.

 

The results show that most people do not think that coding is important to their occupations. However, we are being affected by codes in our lives, directly and indirectly. As most of the people taking the survey are teenagers, they may think that coding has nothing to do with them. However, coding affects such people indirectly. For example, teenagers often use computers for their projects nowadays and computers are one of the objects that make use of coding extensively. Coding is needed in computers because the computers cannot understand human language, thus the need for coding.

 

From the results, we can tell that people think that they know quite a bit about coding. However, from the previous survey questions' results, we can say that these people only know how these codes work but do not know how they apply in real life. The RSA algorithm is a very famous encoding system, yet not many people know how they are applied in real life. Therefore, an encoding system that is not applied in real life is useless. We should help to make the public more aware of how these codes are applied in real life.

 

From the results, we can see that not many people know much about codes. This can be seen as out of 60, around 48 people do not know about one of the codes given in the options. So, overall there is around slightly over one third of the people who knew about the codes with very few people knowing a lot of those codes, thus we would like to inform the public more about each code.

Caesar substitution is the most known code, with 47 people not knowing it. This could be because that it is one of the easiest code around which only involves shifting a letter three places back. However, quite a number of people do not know it. This could be because they do not know the actual name of the code.

52 people do not know anything about Quantum cryptography, so it is the least known. We think this is because quantum is a new theory, so most people do not know much about it. In fact, this theory is not used very much and not many people had actually heard about it.

Playfair, enigma and transposition have 48 to 49 votes of 1. This few coding systems are quite averagely known because of its usage in wars.

 

 

The results show that about quite a number people do not know about coding and cryptography at all. Of those who know, most of them get their knowledge of one or more fact(s) about coding and cryptography from books and the internet (websites). There are books which talk about coding and cryptography. Also, it could have been books which involved solving several encoded messages to for example crack a mystery. Many people stumble upon good websites on the internet which happened to talk about coding and cryptography. For example, http://www.howstuffworks.com is a good site to actually uncover lots of information provided.

Family and friends are also people who can tell you random knowledge regarding coding and cryptography from what they read or learnt. Teachers in schools play another role in “giving” knowledge regarding coding. Several subjects are directly linked to coding, including computer studies and mathematics. There are also many other stuff all around us which are somewhat involved with coding and cryptography, like newspapers, movies, workshops and probably many others stuff.

Thus, we want to let those who do not know about coding and cryptography learn about how to know them more.

 

 

 

 

Question 14

 

The opinions of the people can be generally split into two categories, good and bad. However, these two categories do entwine together and overlap each others at times. Without codes, life would be more truthful, but there would be many others inconveniences caused as well, such as lack of security, and also, electronics will not be able to work, as they depend on reading the codes as well. Also, the everyday technology that we need would be much less. So, we think that coding and cryptography does play an important role in our lives

Good

Bad

 

Simpler life led

 

Direct and truthful without any lies

 

Less complicated

 

Lack security

Low technology (no computers invented)

slow warfare

chaotic world

Inconvenient, difficult life with less comfort. Many things also cannot be done

No fun or entertainment

No trust in major companies

No translation

Random change in history