Editor’s Page – May 2024

Plugged In

I really never envisioned my life being overtaken by technology. It just crept into my life, and now I can’t live without it.

Assigned the first desktop computer at my job in the 1980’s, our word processing system had a 10-gigabyte hard drive. Now they have watches with more storage. I liked some of the changes, I confess to being quite happy with being able to look up information and research without going to the library and going through all those card files. But technology soon took on a life of its own.

As I write this, Ajijic is experiencing an internet outage of unknown origin, and it is affecting many if not all of the providers. It started for me part-way through the eclipse. I don’t know if that is the reason or not. My friend in Chapala has internet.

Remember when the internet was first available as dial up and at $8.00/minute? Now it is always on, ever present, and it runs your computer, your television, and for many people their appliances.

And as I am working away, everything just stopped. No internet, no TV with music in the background, I cannot download files I am working on, and my job is done via the internet. Now what?

This is the time I realize just how techy our lives have become. Look at that list of things to do besides work. Bank balance, pay bills, wire money, place grocery order…can’t do any of these things. Who to call? Can’t look up the number on the internet. Is it my problem or everyone’s? Can’t check Facebook to see what is going on. So, I throw my hands in the air and go find a book.

It’s good to appreciate the silence. It’s frustrating not to be able to function. I found a magazine and read an article about AI technology; how it writes for us, how it can do photos and deep fake videos. But it can also do medical technical surgeries and warfare. It also eats up electricity and can and will cause supply problems in the near future. I wonder if I would even know if I were using AI. Is it so integrated into the apps and programs I use that I don’t even know if/when it is being used?

This harkens me back to a wise argument against cloning. Just because we CAN do a thing, SHOULD we use it?

The world is changing so fast and it is clear that we cannot keep up with it. It is also clear that the knowledge base of our citizens does not keep up with it. Our elders are stymied by technology every day while our millennials* are not able to commit simple life skills and knowledge to their memories.

As a child, my first eclipse, our class made boxes so that we could see the eclipse safely. I believe I was in the 3rd grade. I watched a video on YouTube the other day where a comedian took a microphone and asked, “What is an eclipse?” to citizens of millennial age and not ONE person could answer the question. I have seen these types of bits before. On “The Tonight show,” American Jay Leno did a segment on “Jay Walking,” asking people about civics questions, and who their representatives are, and the answers were abysmal – young adults who didn’t even know the current president of the USA.

Maybe we as a society need to slow down, reprioritize, and focus our children’s education on life skills and civics, democracy and how our governments are designed to work, so that we can help all leaders make responsible decisions on the types of technology available and how they should be used and so we can make our citizens feel that they are responsible for making good choices at the ballot box.

*Millennials are a cohort succeeding Generation X, born from 1981 to 1996

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: chapala.com

Victoria Schmidt
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