2018-03-15 / Viewpoint

When tech is not so friendly

Gary Gould — Managing Editor Gary Gould — Managing Editor Technology is created to make our lives easier, right? Computers, cell phones, the Internet, Siri, Alexa, OnStar – all that good stuff – it is supposed to help us in our lives. I’m not always one to quickly embrace technology, but once I get a hold of it and learn to use it, I become a slave to it just like many people do.

But I’m seeing a trend in technology lately, a trend I’m not too overly fond of. In fact, it’s something I could do without, gladly. Our technology has been turned against us. I’m not talking about Skynet going online and destroying the world in a nuclear holocaust. That’s the movies and we’ll leave Arnold Schwarzenegger to that threat. What I’m seeing is our technology is being used to rat us out.

For instance, last week my car, which has a lot of bells and whistles, told me I would soon need an oil change. I took note of it, saw I still had some miles left, so I went on my merry way and kept driving for the next few days. Then I got a call from my dealership. They informed me they had received a message from my OnStar telling them I was due for an oil change and they suggested I bring the car in.

The car basically went over my head. It snitched on me, ratting me out to the dealership. I was aghast. What next? The car will be telling on me for driving too fast, or it will snitch on me for stopping at a fast food place for a quick bite.

Watch out car: snitches get stitches!

Around the same time my car was backstabbing me, my Fitbit decided I’d been slacking off enough and took steps to embarrass me into getting more exercise. I received an e-mail from my Fitbit informing me I had not reached my “goal” for steps in some time and if I walked an additional number of steps I could make that goal.

My advice for the Fitbit was “stop setting such lofty goals for me, and keep your mouth shut or

I’ll ‘forget’ to unclip you from my pocket when I throw my pants in the wash.”

I’m not sure the Fitbit got the message, but

I was pretty emphatic about it. I’m sure the next thing it will do is post missing my goal to Facebook.

I also hear about technology that allows people to set a speed limit on how fast their kids can drive the car, or apps that know what websites you look at so they can tailor ads toward your interests.

I also wonder if our technology is becoming so smart it is plotting to turn against us? There was a story last week about Alexa from the Amazon Echo device suddenly breaking into creepy laughter for no reason in homes around the country.

We have an Echo and so far Alexa has not given her evil laugh, but if she does I guarantee she’s going to find herself packed away in the box of dead cellphones we keep in the basement. Better to be safe than sorry.

Gary Gould is the managing editor of the Davison Index and View Newspapers. Contact him at 810-452-2650 or email at ggould@mihomepaper.com.

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