I know in my last, I espoused living in the present.What was I thinking? With all that is going on, I decided to look into my crystal ball and try to figure out where we are going. I am keying in on one area, technology.
As you are all well aware I am not a rocket scientist. At the same time I have watched over the last forty years as we have progressed from Apple II’s to the latest iPhones and Apple watches becoming part of the vernacular. The power of an IBM 360 in my meaty little hand.
We take all this for granted which is dangerous. We blithe fully use our apps to play games, communicate, manage our health, finances and soon our cars. The four pages of legalese before usage are never read and a sheer nuisance in the way of our self gratification and we push “Agree” to any terms they are putting out there.
We are without exaggeration ceding control of US to a tech or a bot of some form of AI that can be beyond helpful or at the same time destructive. I am not paranoid about my personal data because it is rather boring but when it is used to constantly sell me on a product, a politician or a principle or even an ethic then I am getting concerned.
Every keystroke says something about you and that is more than valuable to a whole lot of people. Just try to read any sort of article on line and you are asked to sign up for the newsletter all the while being bombarded with pop up ads for a variety of everything. You may be amused or annoyed by this but the thing is you can’t avoid it.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is both fascinating and terrifying. It helps a medical doctor scan thousand of articles for insights into a diagnosis while at the same time analyzing the success or failure rate of certain treatments. It takes testimony and evidence in a criminal proceeding and determines with uncanny accuracy the guilt or innocence of the accused.
In our present day stock market there are high speed trading units that can buy or sell millions of shares in nanoseconds without any human intervention whatsoever. If there is weakness in a stock or bond it perceives it and starts selling, even more drastically increasing the downward plunge. Ditto when it is going up and euphoria sets in to the viewing public and some poor bastard gets caught in between. The exchanges explain this provides great liquidity to the market which is a bunch of BS. It’s all there just to make money. Caveat emptor.
We all use Amazon. What could be easier. I think it is one of the most dynamic and at the same time scariest companies around. They want to own every piece of the supply chain down to the product itself. They take the order and fulfill it while gathering enormous amounts of data as to buying trends and delivery methods. If a product is hot they develop their own as competition. Merchandisers have to use them to gain market share and before you know your pocket has been picked by Mr. Bezos and Co.
Now you cry out, let’s investigate. They appear before Congress and run circles around the pols while feigning cooperation. By the time any legislation or oversight is completed, they are well on to the next generation of this or that and could care less.
The most insidious part to me is when it comes to education on all levels. Students no longer research and consider. They don’t memorize but just look up. When you read you get sense of things and that in turn forms your opinion. If it is all laid out for you, there is not that critical area of judging whether something is right or wrong. You take it as the new gospel and move on the next assignment.
This brings me to the most unpalatable aspect of our information age. How do I know what is true? Visually we can create anything we want. Photoshops of all sorts can create images that look as real as original. Subjects can be mouthing words even though they were never spoken. Only the most sophisticated sleuths can discover the fraudulence and by then the image is set and the damage done.
I can take any instance today and create an event and a narrative. I can specifically target you as a liberal or conservative to play to your bias. Everyone speaks of fact checking but it becomes more and more difficult. A friend sent me a picture of the rioters defacing the Viet Nam Memorial in DC just recently in a BLM protest. I was appalled but upon checking, it was a demonstration five years ago on a replica in California. Now some will say it doesn’t make any difference it is still an insult to our fallen heroes and I agree, but talk about being out of context.
I am not anti tech by any means. There has been so much good accomplished. But as with any new and evolving science a lot of people are going to figure out a way to subvert it. Hacking emails, stealing personal information, dark webs and the like have almost made us numb to the downsides. We figure someone will fix it somehow. Maybe, but before how much damage is done?
I am not trying to be a downer but I am a realist and that alarm is rising in me and getting louder. You and me and others say we are doing fine. Why rock the boat? Let’s ride those tech stocks and not think ill of the masterminds. The only really scary part is when the future becomes now and we don’t understand just how left out we really are. Silly me? Silly Us!
Ted The Great
Snopes.com is a very useful website devoted to debunking rumors or clarifying accuracy. Some claim it is a liberal website but it has provided a number of real answers for me.
Telemedicine is amazing. Doctors now have the ability to diagnose you from afar and monitor your vital signs remotely. During treatment for prostate cancer I was operated on robotically. With 5G, a surgeon may be able to simultaneously perform surgery in multiple cities from a single console in say New York.
By 2021 there will as many personal assistant bots (Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc) as there are people on this planet. Are they there to serve us or listen to us. They provide an entry for their provider into every aspect of your home.
Over 70% of US Americans are worried about having their personal data stolen from their computers and online networks. To put that in perspective, only 24% are worried about terrorism and 17% are worried about being murdered. Approximately 30,000 websites are hacked daily.