Why Worry about Technology Doing Us In ... We'll Do It Ourselves

Why Worry about Technology Doing Us In ... We'll Do It Ourselves

“You're saying nobody's supposed to eat this food three times a day. No wonder all this stuff happened to you. But the scary part is: there are people who eat this food regularly. Some people even eat it every day.” – Morgan Spurlock, “Super Size Me,” Con, 2004

I like doing things for my family … my friends … myself.

Don’t really like “things” doing stuff for me.

Don’t get me wrong; I like technology. But will it really help or just be “damn that would be cool?” 

You know:

-          Technology that improves quality of life or just makes things easier

-          Putting Facebook friend news ahead of real local, national, global news

-          Netflix’s, Tellywood’s Big Data analysis that guides what they pay to develop and serve to educate, inform and entertain us

-          How it all helps humanity get in better mental/physical shape

Maybe we want technology to do too much for us.

I enjoy flying for business or holidays. 

It’s less about the trip (face it, the process of getting on the plane is a pain) and more about doing things when you get where you’re going. Most of the trip – even for folks in the cockpit – is wonderfully boring, except when it’s not.  Then I like a real person up front making experience-based decisions. 

In addition, and we’ll say it flat-out…don’t recline your seat we have so little room anyway so your taking away what little room we already have sucks!

But enough about you back to me…

I like taking the stairs, rather than an escalator because it hurts a little and that’s good. If it’s 4-5 floors, I’m happy to get a little exercise.

I still pay for several newspapers and publications and enjoy reading them, except now I do it online.

I enjoy reading books – real books – because there’s a sensory appeal of the cover, pages and typography that is inwardly satisfying.

Picking up, putting down a tablet .,, not so much.

I like my computer, tablet and smartphone because they make it fast/easy to find important stuff, stay in touch with people and create.  Of course, it’s gut-wrenching to put them down and know I’ll be out-of-touch just when someone wants something.

I enjoy driving places. It’s even cathartic ... watching, anticipating all of the idiots around me is fun, challenging. 

I like the convenience of voice turn-by-turn directions. But getting lost now and then, finding places you never knew existed (or ever wanted to know) is interesting.

If the house is really dirty, my wife will tell me what needs to be picked up.

If something needs to be done in the yard, she’ll point it out to me.

I have no desire for a bot to chase me around the house and yard … our African Grey does that.

I don’t think I need a toaster that’s smarter than I am or a refrigerator to tell me what to pick up at the grocery store.

You-know-who is smarter, she tells me.


AI Plus – An intelligent friend noted that a human-in-the-loop will be an integral part of a machine’s ability to handle complex or even mundane tasks for a long time to come.  After that, maybe the machines will have to see how well we’ve improved. 

AI (artificial intelligence) is sorta’, kinda’ neat, but I also like to make decisions based on personal experience, discussions with friends/family and gut instinct. 

AI isn’t the Alpha-Omega solution.  It has a long, long way to go.

Web3 and ChatGTP sound like beautiful tools to create wonderful things without lifting a finger and doing stuff we didn’t really know we wanted to do/have done.

But, there are times when a dose of human logic helps--even when you muck up.

It’s the way life forms learn … trial and error.

I admit it, I’m not a big fan of the Meta/Facebook, Instagram machines. The whole idea that it’s more important to put stuff from friends in front of me rather than news about the business, industry and world around me is dumb!

I think people have a broad range of interests … things they’re really interested in, kinda’ interested in, not really interested in but think it’s nice to know and things they totally disagree with or make them wonder what the **** people are thinking/doing.

I agree with Mitch Joel who heads Twist Communications and does the Six Pixels of Separation podcast up in Canada.  I appreciate editorial/publishing professionals who spend their days creating and curating stories for me to consider, skim,  read. 

They do all the hard work.  I simply consume.

The Meta/Facebook faithful are going to miss a helluva’ lot!

Zuck had a good idea going – grabbing other people’s news and using his analytics to spoon-feed us what’s most important. Then he blew it for ratings.

Elon knew Twitter needed to be overhauled so it could be the honest communications tool it was meant to be.  Well that idea sucked!

The same holds true with Netflix, Hulu and Hollywood’s rush to use analytics to figure out what they’re going to fund, produce, show.

Ultimately, we’ll get a lot of the same old stuff. 


Early Reality Shows – The ancient Greeks and Romans enjoyed reality shows long before they became popular on your streaming screen.  It was fun for everyone but the participants. 

You know, shows that have been around since the Roman times --  reality/game shows, good guys/bad guys. 

A little TV (on any screen) is relaxing but sitting there for hours on end binging on Strange Things or some other hot, new series is posterior-numbing.

Isn’t it better for folks to go out and make their own reality and play games?

Overall, technology has made it easier for almost everyone on the planet.

While there are still too many areas where people struggle to get enough to eat in many countries, the food supply is sufficient to provide folks the energy they need and we’re actually taking in more calories than we require.

People move from rural areas to cities.

Then the find they need to escape the artificial environment for something … more natural.

Machines do work that people once did so folks burn less energy than they used to even though the intake remains the same … or increases.


Intake, Output – All machines run on energy, including you and me.  The big difference between the living machine and manufactured machines is that living machines have the ability to store extra energy for use later on.  However, its cut-off valve that says it has enough stored energy doesn’t always work real well. 

People have ready access to inexpensive, processed junk foods and they’re buying/inhaling it by the ton.

In 1976, 15 percent of American adults were obese.  Today it’s nearly 50 percent.

Two years ago, WHO (World Health Organization) reported that in 114 countries half of the adult population was considered overweight; and in some areas, two-thirds of the population was considered overweight or obese, a higher prevalence than in the U.S. 

According to the U.S. surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic.

Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese and it’s costing the health care system an estimated $110 billion a year.

It’s arguably the most pressing public health problem we face and it’s a problem pretty much everywhere.

Just check the guy in Florida who plays golf – riding around in a cart - almost day and gotta know golf isn’t good for you.

Heck, even the folks that make crash dummies for cars recently had to make them bigger to better represent the people riding in cars.

The WHO reported:

-          6.2 million folks died worldwide because of excess weight in 2020

-          Last year an estimated 800 million adults had diabetes

-          Diabetes is rising faster than the global average in low to middle income countries



Ballooning Issue – Technology has made life easier for almost everyone on the planet.  We no longer hunt for our food and fewer people toil in the fields from sun-up to sun-down; but still, we’re taking in the same (or more) calories to do less and less.  The result is a growing obesity problem. 

The easy cop-out is to blame the fast food folks and companies that make all of that processed food:

-          Baked Goods

-          Beverages

-          Processed Meat and Seafood

-          Salty or Sugary Snacks

-          Frozen Desserts

-          Processed Fruit and Vegetables

But individuals make the ultimate buy/no buy decision, so they choose:

-          A 42-oz. cola over water or unsweetened iced tea

-          A pancake-wrapped burger over a salad

-          Half-pound of fries over jicama

-          Double latte over black coffee

-          A doughnut over wheat toast

-          Extra large bacon, sausage, pepperoni pizza over a medium vegetarian pizza

According to a report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, no country has reported success in reducing obesity in the past 33 years.

But we are watching more back-to-back segments of more and more reality shows with a big pile of comfort food close at hand. 

And you wonder why cooking shows are big favorites along with watching other people challenge each other.

That tells us something isn’t working.

Maybe a better use of AI than serving up more friends’ photos or formula entertainment would be a nudge to push folks away from the table/screen sooner and get them up to go to the club or just make them walk around.

Instead of wringing their hands in frustration over our “obesogenic environment,” really smart folks could develop solutions that actually help beyond the one approach that seems to really work well – bariatric surgery (whacking out a big chunk of the stomach, rerouting the intestines).

Gotta be a better, easier approach.


Or, as Morgan Spurlock warned, “If you decide to keep living this way, go ahead. Over time, you may find yourself getting as sick as I did. And you may wind up here.”


But look on the bright side … a self-driving car can take you there.

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