CUMMINS: Technology is the answer | Opinion

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CUMMINS: Technology is the answer | Opinion

In the advancement of civilization, progress is not proceeding as expected. Humankind made many strides through the ages, particularly in higher technology, but not all were beneficial to everybody. We’ve lost many of our freedoms, having been consumed by every conceivable kind of gadget unimaginable, most mere playthings. Some of the dumber ones recently are like ordering, say, a mini drone from Amazon and they ship it by drone without a manual with it. How do the Einstein’s of the world expect simple folks to know everything contained in science e-books, which qualifies only nerds to be successful in life?

My grandfather’s life became tormented when he had to turn his horse out to pasture and learn how to drive a new-fangled car. Observers said it was awful, mixing horses and buggies with speeding cars. When a horse heard a loud motor approaching for its first time, it would often run wild crashing the buggy and its passenger into a sickening mess.

My mother remembers hearing a radio the first time and seeing her first car and airplane. Her mother first gained the right to vote when my mother was 9 years old. But now, technological changes occur so fast, voters are not skilled enough to operate a voting machine.

I remember seeing a nine-inch wide television set the first time in 1948. I thought it impossible to send live pictures through the air, but it proved there is a God, who apparently approved of technology. But earlier than that on our farm, we didn’t have much of anything considered tech, not even electricity my first 11 years. We did advance to a hand-cranked butter churn from the plunger type, which was a big improvement in coating our biscuits quicker.

After electric wires were strung to our house, gadgets of all kinds began filling it. As I observed my life improve as more automatic things replaced worrisome human effort. But as time went by, as it always has, I could not keep up with the times. The computer gave me fits for years, and still does. But when the wonderful thermostat came into lives after we replaced wood with gas for heat, it caused family conflict. My wife kept the heat up to 85 to prevent pneumonia. I’d turn it down to 64, seeing no reason to sweat in depth of winter.

The TV remote is a work of a genius. How can life get any better than this? From that first nine-inch screen, we’re up to 40 inches now in living color and high definition to boot. Don’t like the program, grab the remote and slightly raise my arm without exerting other parts of my body. But there are two things across the room to turn off and on — the TV and a box with more than 500 channels stored in it. Why can’t our best technicians develop a remote that sends its beam to both things at once without my having to get up and aggravate my knees?

When I’m smart enough I’ll consider a smart phone. Most of what I learned in school came off a blackboard, but it was an honor to be picked to go outside and dust the erasers. I have great-grandkids under 6, who mimic their parents. They feel insecure without a hand held to fool with. But I’m embarrassed to ask, “Show me how that thing works?” But one advantage, there’s not any need to teach how to dust erasures anymore.

There are advantages to technology, but there comes a time when enough is enough. How and why do they make the plastic sheeting that covers food products tough as stainless steel? It takes a hatchet to open a box of cookies. Buy a bottle of medicine and die before you can get the cap off.

If our best minds aren’t smart enough to improve civilization and make life easier and simpler, is that why we’re relying more on artificial intelligence? People have already out-smarted themselves in many ways. Usage of artificial intelligence in Washington could prove to be much better than the pitiful minds we send there now. Look at how Washington is in such disarray. Things were going quite well with the tax cut and job growth, but we don’t have the wall yet to further separate people. Those of all walks of life should be brought together, but not to close. Perhaps artificial intelligence could help resolve the Stormy Daniels tragedy.

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