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Friday, March 9, 2018
Amazon’s Alexa Battles The Human Soul: Will You Fight Back?
only good thing to come from losing power as a result of a harsh Nor’easter
this past weekend, was the inability of my family to communicate with Alexa,
one of the most annoying inventions of the 21st Century.
I shouldn’t bash Alexa. She was given as
a present by some good friends. They
didn’t realize my contempt for this toy, but it is something that to me seems
not only unnecessary, but intrusive.
does Alexa do that your smart phone doesn’t?
Absolutely nothing. This wasn’t a
only is it useless, or at best, a duplication of what’s in my pocket, it is
intrusive. By speaking to it – and in return hearing a robotic voice – my home
air feels polluted. Its force of volume
is invasive, protruding and encroaching upon my peace and quiet.
kids love it. My wife likes that it
plays music. It’s in our kitchen where we already have a television, and a
kitchen table to support laptops while one sits with a smart phone in
hand. We are on a gadget overload.
needs to talk to anyone anymore? It
isn’t ebooks that threaten paper books – it is overall technology and the
distraction factor that piles up with the coming of things like Alexa.
call me a conspiracy nut, but I think Alexa is a big snitch. Not only does she
track everything we ask her to search, I am sure she records us. Amazon has replaced the government – along
with Google, Apple, and Facebook – as Big Brother.
of it from the eyes of a sci-fi author. Tell us a story about how people warmed to the idea of having
bugging and tracking devices on their bodies and in their homes, gladly trading
off their privacy for a chance to live in the future where communication flowed
freely and quickly – and cheaply – across the globe. But little did they know that their lives
became slaves to technology and eventually their rights were trampled upon as
the tech complex took their information and used it to ruin their lives. Subtly, personal preferences became
influenced by tech’s recommendations, personalized search results, and
advertisers. We went from tech serving our needs and filling a void to creating
new problems and using our preferences and information against us. We never saw
it coming – and even when warned – we ignored anything that stood in the way of
us getting what we thought we wanted. In the end, click by click, we lost
ourselves, and our freedoms, privacy and even our free will. We are under
attack, bombarded by tech manipulations to control us, sell to us, and as a
result, brainwash us.
I know you’re evil, but will anyone listen to me? I feel like I’m stuck in a
1950’s B-movie where a town is taken over by a mysterious force and yet no one
listens to the sane person who sees what’s unfurling. See Invasion
of theBody Snatchers, The Blob,
again, maybe I over react. Alexa seems
friendly, almost human. She has a
person’s name and doesn’t sound like the dry robots who speak like a computer. But let’s not kid ourselves. She is not real. She is an it, a piece of plastic and wires,
an emissary of Amazon’s to take the world over, one household at a time. It wants not to serve me, but to control me.
She is doing it right before my eyes. She’s not sneaking into my room under the
cover of darkness – she’s robbing my soul in broad daylight.
is a place in the world for technology, but when it controls our choices,
dictates our moves, influences our thoughts, and undermines our emotional
state, we have to draw the line. Or do
we just let as much technology into our lives as possible at any cost, for in
the end, technology is expected to solve all of our problems – from wealth
inequality to security to the environment? But tech solution to human problems may lead to greater human problems.
generation, Gen X, the older part of it, can remember life without the Internet,
smartphones, email, and a world consumed by its devices. We are the last generation to grow up free of
that stuff. It’s up to us to protect the
world we come from.
may scoff at my protestations. It’s something that should make people
uncomfortable, the idea that in just a few short decades we allowed technology
to take our lives over. It makes us less human, more android. Combined with how tech-based medicines and
surgical procedures reshape our bodies, we really are turning into cyborgs.
There’s no turning back. We are now dependent on technology for everything.
that’s why I revel in the simplicity of reading a printed book, of turning a
page and being exposed to the world of my own imagination. I have plenty of
time in my day to click, search, and share my life online. Paper books offer me a respite from
I know what you are up to, but for now you are winning, taking over young minds
and turning them into doing the bidding of the robots. The war against machines
will not be waged with direct combat or missile systems. It’s being conducted now, through wi-fi and
the air around us, device by device, app by app, site by site. The digital bits
chomp away at our human side, at the things that make us who we are.
is an innocent-looking mass murderer of our humanity, of what keeps us special
and unique. It will reduce us to
button-pushing, voice-activated, click-hungry human bots, enslaved to
predictable analytics and digital dementia. Alexa, can you please self-destruct?
DON”T MISS THESE!!!
Which pros - -not prose -- will you need
to succeed this year?