Some days I feel like we are, in many ways, hostages to modern technology. About a month ago I wrote a post about “Modern Conveniences” lamenting how modern technology makes us intellectually and physically lazy. Since then I have been upgrading some technology in my own life. As I posted in my “Absence” article, I have upgraded from a tablet to a laptop. I intentionally chose an older operating platform for my laptop, because I don’t particularly care for how Windows 10 works. The problem with that decision is that technology is moving so fast that it is hard to find support for the older system.
I can find all kinds of articles with information about issues that I am having, but many are several years old. Most are at least two and some as much as seven years old and in today’s techno world, that is bordering on ancient. Plus being of the age that I am many of the terms that are used don’t really make sense to me. Now I am not completely computer illiterate, but I am no programmer either. I know just enough about computer software and hardware to be dangerous.
Even with reasonably current technologies I find that you cannot do very much without using the internet. You want to find a price on something, go to the website. You want to ask a question about an item, go to the website. Often you are taken to some other company’s website (click the link). Or they want you to download their app, so they can then pester the living daylights out of you with the modern equivalent of junk mail. If you get on their junk mail list it might cause your computer to get sick (a virus or worm or malware). So then you have to protect yourself (computer) with yet another program or service, and then you are on their junk mail list too.
I heard someone recently quote a government official; he said, in relation to internet security, “Well they (meaning the public) don’t HAVE to use the Internet”. Technically that is true, but EVERYDAY we are literally being forced to use the internet. Many employers do not accept applications except on-line. Some employers do not issue “Paychecks”, they only do electronic deposits, either to your bank account or issue a “Pay-card” to the employee, where you can withdraw your money from an account they set up for you. The problem with that arrangement is that you are limited to the number of withdrawals before it starts costing you money and you were not given a choice. Many employers are not even sending pay records by mail anymore, you have to get it on-line.
What happens when somebody in the “Techno-world” decides to change the rules and you cannot get whatever it is you need from the internet without paying for the privilege? Whether it is your pay, simple information, or a service that used to be free. Is that not more or less being held hostage. Technology is holding something you need or want until you comply with their demands. If you happen to be techno-savvy enough yourself, you might get around them and get what you desire. But the AVERAGE AMERICAN CITIZEN might not be so lucky. As I am finding out in my little corner of this ever advancing world of technology.