It seems the more we find the more we give away.  Computerizing everything makes life easier, for sure, but it also makes us more vulnerable.  We give up anonymity for comfort and individuality for acceptance.  “Smart” new technological items worm their way into our lives and have the ability to monitor not only our electricity, our heat, our front doors, but also us.  Slowly they insinuate themselves and without warning everything about us is public information.

I am a very private person.  What I wish to share I do…now, I have no choice.  Because of my volunteer work and column others have listed information about me on the internet.  Let me tell you how accurate it is.  A number of years ago, out of curiosity, I googled my father’s name.  They told me he was 99 and living in Riverdale.  My father died at the age of 91.  Misinformation is rampant, but gullible people believe it anyway.  

Many cultures have predicted that one day all of us will be tagged, like the animals we are, and called up at the touch of a finger by any interested party.  Looks like we’re headed in that direction.  Others are now able to plot us by what we buy, what we eat, what we watch, even what we think.  Big Brother is watching in a small way now, but we can be seduced into letting him see everything.  

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Our country was built on a promise of freedom and equality, each person living life individually and not conforming to someone else’s ideological notions.  Now, not only can we be monitored, we have been slyly tricked into conforming, accepting each new invention without thought to the dark side.  As an example, let’s talk about voting machines.  Here, in New York, until recently, we had mechanical voting machines.  To vote you entered a booth and closed a curtain.  You then pressed down a lever under your candidate’s name and pulled a handle to open the curtain.  If you made an error the curtain would not budge.  As soon as you corrected it the handle released you.  Each time a vote was cast it also registered on a sheet inside the machine.  At the end of the night the sheet was removed and its total compared to the mechanical number.  Then each vote was counted and cross checked.

 Time consuming, but tamper free.  Now we use computers.  They can be tampered with, break down, or just reject your vote for not filling in the circle sufficiently.  We also need more paid workers to watch them.  

We are being cajoled by electronic games into thinking of hand-held devices as our “BFF’s” and constant companions.  Meanwhile computers are making inroads into every part of our lives, taking control away from us, becoming an integral part of our daily existence and eroding our privacy.  We must strive to accentuate their helpful aspects, deter their intrusion, leave Big Brother in 1984 and regain control of our own human destiny.

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