Politics Magazine

Tech Warning

Posted on the 21 May 2024 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

My moon roof is open.  That’s what the late-night alert says.  Thing is, I don’t have a moon roof.  Maybe I should go out to the garage and check, just to be sure.  You see, these new cars, which are as much computer as they are a means of conveyance, are subject to glitches just like the computers at work always seem to be.  And if this is true of a massive and lucrative company like Toyota, how can the rest of us really trust what our devices tell us?  After all, mainly they exist to sell us more stuff.  So whenever we take the Prius out, after it’s put away I get some kind of warning on my phone.  Nearly every single time.  If somebody’s been sitting in the back seat—or even if a bag was resting there—I’m cheerfully reminded to check the back seat once I get into the house.  I appreciate its concern and when I grow even more forgetful I may need it.  But that moon roof…

I use and appreciate technology.  I believe in the science behind it.  It makes life simpler, in some ways.  Much more complex in others.  I confess that I miss paper maps.  Do you remember the thrill of driving into an unknown city and having to figure out how to get to an address with no GPS?  Now that seems like an adventure movie.  Our cars practically—sometimes literally—drive themselves.  I’m no motor-head, not by a long shot.  I do remember my first car that didn’t have power steering or power brakes.  It had a stick-shift and you had to wrassle it at times.  Show it who was in charge.  With technology we’ve all become the serfs.  It breaks down and you have to take it to an expert.  Not quite the same as changing a tire.

I worry about the larger implications of this.  As a writer I worry that my largest output is only electronic.  Publishers don’t seem to realize that those of us who write do it as a way of surviving death.  We have something to say and we want it etched in stone.  Or at least printed on paper.  Tucked away in some Library of Congress stacks in the hopes that it will remain there for good.  I often think of dystopias.  The stories unfold and ancient documents—our documents—are found.  But unless they get the grid up and running, and have Silicon Valley to help them, our electronic words are gone.  It’s as if you left the moon roof open, even though you don’t have one.

Tech Warning

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