Can We Lessen the Noise?
by John Delach
Something remarkable happens when I sit down at my computer to begin the process of creating a new piece like this one. I am alone with my thoughts. In the background I can hear the soft purr of Mary Ann’s sound machine. Her pleasure is to go to bed between 9 pm and 9:30 to catch up on social media comings and goings and to read her latest e-book.
Part of my motivation is to escape the noise of talk TV. The noise began with the Bush – Gore disputed election of 2000 especially Florida and the “chads.” Since then, it has multiplied beyond belief.
Some may point out that it’s my own fault that I am electronically challenged. Perhaps? Yet I deliberately decided to avoid any and all social media forums. It’s bad enough knowing that my name and countless things about me are bouncing around the internet but, at the very least I can refuse to participate in the process. I don’t care what others think when I have a birthday, start something new, eat a meal or go to the toilet and I certainly don’t care to know about others’ birthdays, eating or bathroom habits.
My resolve several years ago when I received a message from a friend asking me to become one of his Facebook friends. Having already heard horror stories of innocent victims being sucked in by Facebook’s siren song, I deleted his invitation and replied to him via an email message that went something like this:
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but, if Jesus Christ himself asked me to be his Facebook friend, I’d tell him to f***-off.
Your loving friend,
Yes, I have an iPhone and an iPad, but, to the best of my knowledge, I am not a member of any social media outlets which is not an easy thing to accomplish. As of last June, there were approximately 65 outlets. The top site remains Facebook with 1.59 billion monthly users. Second, Whats App with 1 billion; third, QQ with 853 million; fourth, WeChat (697MM); fifth, QZone (640MM); sixth, Tumblr(555MM); seventh, Instagram, (400MM) and Twitter (320MM), eighth. Baidu Tieba, Google and Skype filling out the last three each with 300 million users. One could point out that this means I miss out on a significant amount of information but consider that it also means that I have successfully lessened the amount of noise directed at me.
Like Custer, I fear one day it will overwhelm me. Am I fighting a losing battle? Already our political polarization has poisoned the radio and television airways, great newspapers have lost their way and the entertainment industry has gone bonkers in their support of a progressive agenda. In the process civility has been obliterated as collateral damage by these out-of-control clashing ideologies.
Even the ultimate safe harbor of professional sports reporting is under siege thanks to the Houston Astros rigging their first World Series win. The 2020 baseball season will be a horror show, that is of course if there is a 2020 baseball season.
The Corona virus may go pandemic taking the all organized sports with it from Major League Baseball to the Tokyo Olympics. The stock market has already fled the scene in full panic mode while efforts to protect the Heartland are crushed under insanely partisan noise. Even when the virus runs its course the noise will find new sources.
Five G will enable more and more noise that will be thrust upon us by amazing, addictive and sophisticated devices. Don’t get me started about my thoughts on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Through no fault of my own, we secured a single device now occupying our breakfast room. I assume it’s a Google product since to get it to talk, Mary Ann begins her request with: “Hey Google.”
Mary Ann requests basic things, phone numbers, movie times, etc. Her success rate is about 50%. This AI machine is a first generation: “A Tin Lizzy” of its species. I don’t look forward to witnessing the future of this brave new world
I have only had one interaction with this machine. One morning, while I read the print editions of Newsday and The New York Times, over a second cup of coffee, my radio barked an ad for its own broadcast with the command: “Hey Google, play WABC.”
As if by magic, the AI device began to broadcast the station. Stunned, I shouted out: “Hey Google, shut the f*** off.”
It did! I suspect, in the future its successors will have me eliminated for my anti-social behavior… I’ll be waiting: Live free or die.