Progress has NEVER been a bargain…

My wife and I enjoy movies of the past because they represent the promise of America, offering positive moral assessments and messages. Most of the films are adaptations of books or plays extolling conservative messages.

Yes, some are just pure entertainment but of a positive nature. Some warn of impending doom or consequences of poor decisions.

Recently, we watched “Inherit the Wind,” one of our favorite movies. As we enjoy the movie, a single passage strikes me every time, but this time more than ever before. As this monologue ruminated in my ‘little grey cells,” this commentary coalesced.

…and WE Monkey’s are still on Trial!

This film, “Inherit the Wind,” started life as a play written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee in 1955. Nedrick Young & Harold Jacob adapted it for the screen in 1960 – it’s a must-watch movie, in my humble opinion.

Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it. Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, “All right, you can have a telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. Madam, you may vote, but at a price: you lose the right to retreat behind the powder puff or your petticoat. Mister, you may conquer the air, but the birds will lose their wonder, and the clouds will smell of gasoline.” ~ Henry Drummond ~ Inherit the Wind.

The monologue is a mind-worm, like a song that plays in your head for days, the one you can’t seem to shake. The first line of that soliloquy struck that chord.

It is a marvelous supporting concept and title for this commentary.

This time, my perspective shifted to our liaison with the automation and mechanization of our lives. Where would we be without technology?

The answer is contingent on our experiences and honesty about our preoccupation and relationship with technology. Do you have the fortitude to manage technologies’ addictive allure?

Technology rules our lives, with a few exceptions. There are people who intentionally shun it because of its impact on their lives. They’ve chosen to live ascetic lives without gadget interference. Some disciplined folks find ways to limit exposure to these conveniences. Still, others embrace every high-tech doo-dad available and rush to feed their addiction.

Are Big Tech and the machines they advance a cult?

The epitome of reckless decisions for the sake of convenience is SIRI and ALEXA, the voice command gadgets that do your bidding. Did you know that when they are active, they hear every word or conversation in their range? Siri, turn on the lights. Alexa, play some light jazz. They hear EVERYTHING, and it goes to their mainframe computer to implement your request and store the rest. It’s used to create demographic marketing and enhance the Artificial Intelligence driving these systems. They know more about you than you can imagine.

Why does a vacuum cleaner or a curling iron need a Bluetooth connection and the obligatory smartphone interface?

What questions would you ask your refrigerator; why would you need a smartphone application to communicate with an appliance?

Is there a smartphone app to tell me that there is an issue with the smartphone app monitoring the other smartphone apps monitoring my appliances?

Isn’t this an open door for Artificial intelligence (AI) to invade our worlds?
Isn’t this really, all for their convenience or maybe finding ways to monetize their inventions through advertising, selling us things we don’t need, but providing them with information used for product marketing?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

We have near-instantaneous access to information on the Interweb. Anything and everything you would ever want to know, or question is available. But is it factual or accurate? There are agencies called “Fact-Checkers,” but who checks the fact-checkers and their facts?

One of my favorite quotes is: “You cannot trust everything you read on the internet.” Ironically, this quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

We have worldwide communications via hand-held devices. People without terrestrial wired communications networks have wireless communications via satellite in the remotest of places, and national governments can track and monitor every move and conversation.
Our loss of anonymity and privacy is part of the bargain because, for every gain, there is a cost; we must trade something to balance the equation.

Here are some of the more evident and apparent costs.

Telemarketing & robocalls are an excellent provocation for murder, in my opinion. The convenience of cellular communication mobilizes billions of people but hands governments marvelous tracking and monitoring devices. Smart devices also create a base of billions of unsolicited customers to their call centers. In 2023, there are 7.33 Billion smartphones and feature phones in use worldwide. 91.21% of people in the world are cell phone users.

Cellular technology invited telemarketers to annoy us ad infinitum and ad nauseam. Since this is the primary connection for the teaming masses, it only follows that twenty-first-century hucksters use it to their supreme advantage, and boy do they! The stats for 2022 show that there were over 1.6 Billion calls weekly, averaging a $244 loss per call, equaling $390 Billion in annual losses.

Here is another sterling example of government ineffectiveness:
In July 2003, the Federal Communications Commission established the “National Do Not Call Registry.” They assured Americans that they would vigorously prosecute violators and offenders. As of the end of 2022, the Federal Trade Commission had 5.4 million complaints from 239.5 million registered users. They have enforcement actions against 151 of the offending companies.

Three hundred thousand invaders crossing our southern border, the geographically disenfranchised immigrant, were given smartphones to stay in touch and follow the strictly defined DHS guidelines for illegal entry. They’re part of Bidens “Welcome to America” package.

Cell phones have built-in geo-locators, don’t they?

Then why can’t we account for most of them, and how on earth did they misplace 85,000 Un-Accompanied Minors (UAM)?

A little while ago, I received my fifth robocall today, and it’s only 10 AM. These calls begin at 6 AM and end at around 10 PM – an 18-hour open window of annoyance.

Thank you, technology, for exacerbating human greed. I don’t blame technology for greed; that is the individual’s responsibility; Technology simply enables it, making it much easier and more efficient.

Email spam is the internet’s bastard child born from the union of avarice and criminal behavior. This once mainstay of business communication is now the Trojan Horse of nefarious criminals worldwide. The volume is staggering. Here are 2022s numbers:

· 333.2 Billion emails are sent per day

· 231.4 Million emails are sent and received per minute, at 3.9 Billion bits per second

· 88.9 Billion spam emails are sent per day

· 188 Million text messages were sent, where 27% are fraudulent…

What would we do without email?
I receive too many unsolicited emails, SPAM, but rather than an ability to arrest this deluge, I’m forced to spend time deleting them. I can set up rules to automate their removal, but that also takes time and requires perpetual adjustments because savvy senders alter the address list. Shortly after adding an address to the blacklist, I receive two more with the same subject or offer with a slightly different sender’s address bypassing the recently created rule.

Some companies scrape the interweb looking for email addresses, compile lists and sell them to advertisers. If you sign up for email notifications, you add your name to lists sold to other advertisers, often even when you tell them not to…

Do you donate to charities? They share/sell these lists as well unless you insist that your information is confidential and not to be shared or sold. Still, they need money, and the possibility of you deciphering who betrayed that bargain is inconceivable. Would you actually take the time to stop your donations and remove yourself from the donor list?

It’s too little, too late.

The spammers already have your information.

mNRA Vaccines via food… Even if you decide not to take the jab, you can be passively and, without your permission, inoculated with the mRNA Exosomes (antibodies). Another interesting point is that these exosomes are passed to babies in mothers’ breast milk. [CDC]

Artificial Intelligence (AI) involves using computers to do things that traditionally require human intelligence. AI can process large amounts of data in ways that humans cannot. The goal for AI is to be able to do things like recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.

An application that checks spelling and grammar as you write is a perfect example of AI. If you use any Microsoft products like Word or Outlook, you’ve experienced AI firsthand. If you use Grammarly, a writing assistant, you are in the AI world. Welcome to the new tomorrow.

Drone operators in remote control centers execute pin-point aerial reconnaissance and attack missions without risk to the pilot. However, recent Artificial Intelligence (AI) simulations experienced an interesting anomaly. The system killed the operator for trying to stop the computer from fulfilling its mission.

Progress has never been a bargain… you must pay for it somewhere, and somehow… There is always a cost.

June 8, 2023

~ The Author ~
Charles R. Dickens was born in 1951, is a veteran of the Vietnam war, for which he volunteered, and the great-great grandson of the noted author, whose name he shares.

He is a fiercely proud American, who still believes this is the greatest country on the planet, with which we’ve lost control and certainly our direction. He grew up in moderate financial surrounding; we’re not rich by any stretch, but didn’t go hungry – his incredibly hard working father saw to that. As most from that era, he learned about life from his father, whose story would take too long to tell, other than to say that, he is also a fiercely proud American; a WWII and Korean war, veteran Marine.

Charlie was educated in the parochial system which, demanded that you actually learn something, and have capability to retain it before you advance. He attended several universities in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, and chased the goose further to a master’s, and has retained some very definite ideas about education in this country.

In addition, Charlie is a retired blues guitar and vocalist – a musician. This was his therapy career. Nothing brings him as much joy as playing music, and he wishes that he could make a living at it… but alas… life goes on!

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