HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Too helpless for everyday life?

Written June 22nd, 2014 by Hasso Hering
The future in our hands: Personal surveillance?

The future in our hands: Personal surveillance?

For less than a hundred bucks you can put a bracelet on our wrist that “tracks everyday activity,” downloads readings to your computer and thus, presumably, makes it available to anyone with the right technology. It’s another slip down the increasingly steep slope toward the total surveillance society. And it’s not being forced on us by some evil dictator. Judging by the ad in one of the Sunday supplements, we are being enticed to do it to ourselves.

In this case, the enticement is fitness or wellness. The device, the ad says, “measures how long and how well you sleep to help you reach your fitness goals.” Now, reasonably perceptive human beings can probably tell how well and how long they sleep. They can look at a clock to check the duration of their slumber, and if they wake up refreshed, they can deduce they slept pretty well.

The technology assumes people are ignorant or dense, too helpless to live even though they have the benefit of millions of years of evolution to help them survive from one day to the next. And if we succumb to the enticement and spend $99.99 for a self-monitoring bracelet that tracks everything we do and reports it to some electronic device, then we really are too stupid to deserve personal freedom.

Or political or economic freedom either. If we need this kind of technology to tell us how long we slept, how can we be trusted to make decisions about what to eat? How are we expected to make a living, and how can we be self-governing enough to cast a vote? Technology is leading us, down and further down the slippery slope, to the point where nobody can do anything without some kind of device.

The driverless car Google is developing is one example. If that thing is ever unleashed on the public, and if people are dumb enough to buy one, they deserve to be treated as helpless and hopeless. They will have to be watched all the time, and they’ll need a higher authority to make all the decisions that govern their rudderless lives. And for that, activity-tracking devices will be very helpful. So helpful, in fact, that they should be made mandatory. After all, how else can a helpful government tell who needs help? (hh)



2 responses to “Too helpless for everyday life?”

  1. Jim Clausen says:

    At a presidential level, we have obama’s wife telling school children what foods they can and can not eat. . . taking away personal choice and responsibility. . .

    At a federal level we have Congress telling us what kind of light bulbs we’re allowed to use. . . We have the EPA regulating gas can functions – making them almost impossible to use effectively (check em out at the store). . . We have a national educational system that is now being run by the NEA through Common Core… all because we’re supposedly too stupid to be able to do these things for ourselves. . .

    On local levels, we have mayors banning salt, certain size soda drinks, and Happy Meals. We have absurd land use restrictions and “mitigation” hoops to jump through. And we have city councils reengineering downtowns country wide. Again, because we’re too stupid to figure things out for ourselves. . .

    Outlined above is a SMALL summary of how intrusive government has become in our lives. We need to fight back strongly and continually because these people are not going to willingly give up the power they have amassed. By continually electing people who subordinate us to more and more government we lose more and more of ourselves.

    I don’t have a problem with private enterprises “assisting” us with daily life style choices, but I definitely have a problem when government “assists” us in our daily lives.

    Frankly Hasso, stories about government intrusions – where we don’t have a choice – over stories of private enterprises – where we DO have a choice – would serve your readers better. . .

    • Well, children by definition need educating. Maybe not the president’s wife, but SOMEBODY has to tell them what’s smart and what’s not when it comes to food. (hh)

 

 
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