Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I love the computer age! I hate computers!

Remember back in the days of huge mainframes and punched cards how we thought that computers were going to be the driving engine of Big Brother's all-powerful police state? How they were going to dehumanize us and make us more like machines, perhaps with numbers instead of names? Remember, Colossus: the Forbin Project, and Ira Levin's, This Perfect Day?

Didn't happen that way did it? Nobody anticipated the personal computer and its enormous potential for making us less dependent on central sources of news, information and commerce.

Computers didn't dehumanize us at all, instead it seems that computers became more human. And you know what? I DON'T LIKE IT! I want machines to be machines, I don't want them to have a personality.

Back in the Mechanical Age you flipped a switch, pulled a lever or turned a dial, then something either happened or it didn't. If it did, fine. If it didn't, you fixed the machine or junked it.

With my computer the same set of commands sometimes works - and sometimes doesn't. How soon you push one tab after another can make the difference between whether I'm going to check my mail or do Control/ Alt/ Delete, shut down and start over. Sometimes a procedure works as it should - and then sometimes I have to ask it, "Pretty please with sugar on it."

I love the Internet and couldn't get along without it anymore, but when I get these popup messages, "A recent attempt to attack your computer was blocked" I feel like I'm sitting in the doctor's office waiting for test results and beginning to regret a promiscuous past.


  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger The hooded thug on the corner said…

    "we thought that computers were going to be the driving engine of Big Brother's all-powerful police state?"

    Oh no, that would never happen.

    Steve, if you're going to take your proper place amoung the tinfoil hat brigade here at kook central, you're going to have to drop the benevolent state vibe. Remember, Big Brother is now and you are on file!!!

    Sigh, new bloggers...

  • At 10:34 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    I'll probably take this up later, but briefly, I'm old enough to have seen both extremes of reaction: "Computers are the instrument of the Almighty State", and "Computers are the ultimate tool of liberation and overthrow of the State."

    I've critiqued both positions, which is not to say that either is totally invalid. To the libertarian technophiles I point out that though the Internet is the greatest tool of free communication ever, when the secret police beat down your door you are not going to log on and escape into cyberspace.

    And with respect, I don't have to do anything. I'm a free man and this is my blog. I can make a fool of myself along with everybody else.

    Die gedanken sind frei!


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