The Tentacles of Tech

by Cynthia Adler

 Cynthia Adler

Cynthia Adler

It won’t be long now.
A tiny baby, making it’s way out of the birth canal, looking here and there for an IPhone... in the placenta! Or... could a baby’s first words after weeks of careful little questions like “who are you?” repeated again and again, possibly be...”Google me!” Or some curious six year old, hacking into his father’s computer!

If you think this is ridiculously far-fetched, or a story about some loony star-trekked universe...think again.

What can you not find in the world of tech.... and at what speed are devices being created that further tether us to our computers and phones and other new inventions. How long will it be until tech can invade a brain...a brain of a fetus, a newborn or a stressed out six-year old hacker?

We have jumped the mile, over the puddle, and into the lake. And there is no going back, Dorothy! Now that Alexa is able to hear all of your conversations in your home (all you have to do is say a word or phrase that turns her on,) she can take action on many of them. And it won’t be long before you absentmindedly scream to your wife in the next room, that you wish Fred Potter from next door who plays his music much too loud, would get some freakin’ headphones!! And the next day he does. What can we attribute that to? One Alexa to another?

And when will tech completely take over our lives, and will we have any say in the matter? Think about when the whole house will be wired and you want to binge on some candy corn even though your doctor told you to abstain because of your excessive weight. The wife isn’t home. You start shoving the candy corn in your mouth, and you hear a gentle voice. “Hi Gordy...this is Alexa” (or Siri, or Echo, or whoever.) “Do you really want to do that Gordy? Please think about it...you promised your wife you wouldn’t touch that corn. We heard you. That corn was for your daughter Lynnie. We covered your whole conversation this morning. And Gordy, they’re all seeing you eating this at Google Headquarters right now. You wouldn’t want us to have to text your wife now, would you? Or email some of your friends?”

You stop in mid bite. You move to the bedroom. You get under the covers and start to eat. “Gordy...this is Alexa...I’m giving you one more chance...”

You give her the finger. Two minutes later your wife calls, your friends call, and you are humiliated but helpless at the same time. You throw the candy corn out the window. So... Big Brother has finally made his way into your life! And you don’t have the freedom to do anything about it.

But truthfully, so much of this hinges on the world you grew up in. If you’re under thirty, somehow you knew somewhere that this was coming. You’re computer savvy, and each little tech invasion is fairly amusing to you. You wouldn’t mind a tech robot tying your shoelaces or combing your hair. You have lived in the tentacles of tech for so long that tech life is real life. You’re just naturally wired that way. It’s a comfort zone. Alexa is just like a sister to you, maybe just visiting before, but now, deciding to move in without being invited.

But for many of us, we have stepped into the twilight zone. Some of us can’t even “cut, paste and save!” So being listened to by an Alexa may seem like an unwelcome invasion of privacy. And if it goes on to many next levels, and the advertising business shares a bunk-bed in Google headquarters, think of whatever might happen then? You are looking in the mirror one day talking to yourself, and exclaim loudly, “Girl, your skin is dry!” And suddenly you hear, “Hi Stacy...this is Alexa. Yeah, I know. Dry skin is a bummer! Have you tried the new Carson Silky Skin ointment at night? Just sayin...” And Alexa gives off a little laugh. And you run to the computer to order some.

Freaky scenario? Think again. Over time it seems, we can get used to anything... Or can we?