Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Unapologetically Low-Tech…or Something…

with 4 comments

Folks, I’ve been thinking about many things as I continue to convalesce from the serious illness I told you about last week. (Two antibiotics, an antiviral, and prednisone are nothing to be sneezed at, after all, and that’s what I’ve been taking to get well.) One of them is about the prevalence of technology in our society.

Don’t get me wrong. The Internet is a Godsend for a writer, or for anyone who wants to do background research. It can lead you to the right books, right sources, and help you find a handy library where you can check those books and sources out without necessarily having to pay (as sometimes the library in your area only has so much, and interlibrary loan — ILL — can’t always help, either). It also is helpful for communication, for writing blogs (natch), and in disseminating information (which can be good or bad, especially if what comes out first turns out to be wrong and has to be corrected later).

But I remain split with regards to everything else.

We have smartphones. These are quite helpful and useful on the one hand, and on the other, they keep us tied to screens far more often than we should be. It’s harder to appreciate nature, or other people in our lives who live close or are personally visiting, if we stay on our phones all the time.

More problematic than that is the advent of “smart home” technology. “Hey Google,” or “Hey Siri,” or “Hey Alexa,” all have pluses in that you can do things more quickly if you have this set up (such as playing a favorite song or arming your alarm system). But look at all you give up if you have this! These things can be hacked, and when you’re asking Google to do this, that, or the other for you, while someone else is watching/listening, that’s an invasion of privacy at the very least.

Of course, our computers now seem to spy on us as well. They have “smart algorithms,” meaning they figure out what we like to usually read. (In my case, there’s a lot about Star Trek and SFF&F, a great deal about MLB and the Milwaukee Brewers, quite a bit about the NFL and the Green Bay Packers, and of course I also see a ton about the NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks.) These can be interesting, though if you want to research something else, it’s good not to be bogged down by the latest deep dive into Jeri Ryan’s character and life choices (as Seven of Nine in Star Trek: Picard).

Hey, I have to admit that I am a big fan of Jeri Ryan. Have been for years. Not picking on her. Moving on…

In addition to all of the stuff in our personal life that we choose to use that can potentially be spied upon (sorry to use that term, but with all of the various spy balloons and objects that have been shot out of the sky in the US and Canada this past week — at least four — privacy violations are on my mind), we also have seen an advent of cameras added by local municipalities to make it easier for law enforcement to do their jobs. I’m mostly in favor of this, but I do wonder at where the “slippery slope” ends.

Look. We are in unprecedented territory. There’s so much information out there about us. There’s so much that companies collect, with regards to data, that goes to attempt to shape us psychologically, personally, and otherwise that it seems like a flood that can’t be stanched with our hands alone.

That said, somehow we have to figure out how to be our authentic selves and make true human connections with others despite all the electronic noise.

I don’t know how that’s going to happen. I just know that we have to try, possibly harder than ever, to remember what the real world is as well as appreciating whatever gives us value in the virtual world. (The virtual and real worlds sometimes do collide, too, but that’s a separate issue and I’m not touching that with a ten-foot pole right now. One issue at a time.)

So, for the moment, I’m going to continue to be unapologetically low-tech, or something like it anyway, considering I use a computer at least eight hours a day and read books via Kindle often and also have a cellphone. I’m going to do my best to remember what the real world is, see the beauty in it as well as the ugliness, and keep on going.

Folks, I ask you, on the eve of Valentine’s Day, to consider what’s real in your life. Who the people are that matter in your life, too. And what you can do to promote greater and happier bonds between you, so you can not only live an authentic life, but perhaps even a happy one.

Stranger things have happened.

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 13, 2023 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Always good advice! My word for this year is Align — figuring out what it the authentic me and doing it.

    Kayelle Allen

    February 13, 2023 at 3:04 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    From Barb. Get well soon…

    Jack Eason

    February 14, 2023 at 2:28 am

    • Thanks, Jack. I’m working on it. I get better little by little…it’s just strange having to take so many meds at the same time.

      Barb Caffrey

      February 14, 2023 at 4:53 am

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