If any of you are old enough to remember it, there was an old Warner Brothers cartoon that opened with Bugs Bunny looking out of his rabbit hole and saying "Ah.. Did ya ever have the feeling you was being ...watched?"
Well, back when that old cartoon was produced, old Bugs may have been a bit paranoid. These days, he is probably right! Cell phones broadcast our every move. Apps on those phones and tablets tell corporations what our likes and dislikes are. Our home computers keep track of every purchase, every site visited. If we are not extremely careful, malware from some of these sites can be downloaded without our knowledge and make our computers spies in our own homes. Surveillance cameras record us everywhere we go. Facial recognition software linked to these cameras scan us. Privacy has become nonexistent. Worrying about government surveillance is pointless because we are surveilled everywhere we go. Big Brother? There is more than one Big Brother or Big Sister, and they are all watching us. While we were busy going about our lives, they silently erased our privacy. We are bombarded by ads telling us how intelligent our vehicles are, our latest appliances are; they see hazards before we do, act before we can. They anticipate our next move, what we will need soon, and can order it, if we choose that option. Soon, there will be no option, it will just be done.
When you type, the software anticipates what word will come next, what phrase, with increasing accuracy. Cars are starting to drive themselves. Soon, instead of being in the testing phase, this will become the norm. Computerized machinery is slowly taking over our every day tasks. A good thing? I have my doubts. Computer scientists project that a computer will become sentient somewhere about 2035. This should give anyone who thinks about the future pause. This is our future, and we are being propelled headlong into it by the very technology that we've created and have come to rely on.
Our future is breathtaking and a bit frightening. This is the price that humans always pay for progress! All I can say is, we are living in very interesting times, and they grow more interesting with every passing day. Good luck, everyone.
John Zaffino Kent Lakes, New York
September 8, 2016