Stupidly Smart

When I checked my email a couple of days ago, I discovered a message that began, “Don’t mind on my English, I am from India.”  I would have trashed it on the spot, but before I could get to the delete button I had already skimmed the next couple of sentences.  Then I started to giggle, and slowed down to read the whole thing.

Apparently this enterprising soul had “thiefted all my personal data” by installing malware on my computer while I was visiting a porn site.  S/he had all my work and social contacts, and what’s more… (wait for the horror of it all)… s/he had also hacked into my forward-facing webcam while I was on the porn site and captured a video of me masturbating!  Unless I paid the ransom, my shameful secrets would be revealed to everyone I know.

Well, I’ve never visited a porn site; I don’t have a webcam; and the research I do on my computer is more likely to inspire snores than sweaty ardour.  I’m not exactly trembling in my boots.

But I wonder… does this person actually make money?  Are there really that many people visiting porn sites and whacking off in front of their computers…

Don’t answer that.  On second thought, I don’t want to know.

But the whole thing got me thinking about all the “smart” devices that are monitoring us without our knowledge.  Webcams can be remotely activated.  Our cell phones can be hacked to secretly relay audio and/or video.  And those are just the beginning.

The other day I noticed a red light blinking on our thermostat.  On its screen was a polite reminder to change the furnace filter.  Our fridge tells us when it’s time to change its water filter.  My car monitors its tire pressure.  But we drew the line at a septic pump that would monitor our waste output.  There are some things I just don’t need to know; although apparently somebody does, or they wouldn’t have bothered making the thing.

And the smarter my devices become, the dumber I get.  (I prefer to blame the devices for this, not advancing age.)

Before I had a smartphone, I used to know my friends’ phone numbers by heart.  Now they’re all at my fingertips; and I’m lucky if I remember my own.

Same with special dates.  I had them all in my head, and every time I went to the store I’d check my mental list of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries and buy the appropriate cards.  Now my smartphone’s calendar reminds me two weeks in advance, and I still forget to buy the damn cards.

Smart devices are teaching us to be helpless.  It’s only a matter of time before we’re slumped drooling in antigravity chairs while robots ferry our bloated carcasses from bed to dinner table to toilet and back again.  Our fridges will order groceries; our toilet seats will monitor our health; and if we’re plugged into virtual reality we can experience any adventure we desire without even leaving the house.

And when all human contact has been eliminated and our only intimate relationships are with computers, that enterprising soul in India will really make a killing.

Or maybe s/he’ll be too busy watching porn and getting frisky with Rosy Palm and her five daughters…

36 thoughts on “Stupidly Smart

  1. You know, there would be a good market for a once-a-year calendar app that simply reported to you, “Everyone in your ‘favorites’ contacts has wished you happy birthday today.” You’d instantly feel good about tacking another year onto the stack. Then you could press the button on the app screen that says, “Send a thank-you to everyone in my contacts who just wished me happy birthday!”

    Neither the first statement nor the reply would do a flaming thing, but then people wouldn’t have to obsess about all the people who forgot their birthday, and they could feel good that they acknowledged everyone’s thoughtfulness.

    Win-win! Sad, of course, but still win-win. 🙂


  2. Well there is anew scam I have not heard of! Good grief can there be that many people in that webcam position? Wait like you I don’t want to know either.
    I agree I have very little memory for birthdates or phone numbers however when I think of how my world has broadened, the people I’ve met, the amount I’ve learned since I own a smart phone, then I take some comfort.


  3. Hehehehe..okay, on a serious note, I watched a YouTube video just a few hours ago where people are making “content creation” using mixed reality a possibility for everyone. And there is this movie I think it’s called Surrogate with Bruce Willis in it, that basically shows life as how you described it (without the bloated carcasses…hehe). People living in virtual reality.

    I have been told that I need balance in my life and sometimes I feel so does the human race. We “progress” so fast and are so proud of our achievements without sparing a thoughts about how it may adversely affect us, you know?


    • That’s true. And it’s so easy to get sucked into the cyber-vortex! We think we’re only going to check our email for a few minutes, and two hours later we resurface.

      Many years ago I took a time-management class, and the instructor said something that has stuck with me ever since. He said, “No matter what you say your top priorities are, your true priorities are the things you’ve done by the end of each day.”

      I have to keep reminding myself to go outside and get some fresh air and exercise instead of just banging away at the computer all day…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My kids still give me grief for covering my laptop’s camera, but I told them I am far from the only person who does that. It’s creepy how much we’re monitored by our devices. It’s definitely the stuff of a Black Mirror episode, and it’s only going to get worse. I think that, and I’m not even a conspiracy theorist!


  5. Well, it sounds like that internet thief was at least upfront about the fact she (or he, we’ll never know) was trying to steal your money. Very refreshing.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. . . .NO.

    I try to keep all my appliances and my phone as dumb as possible. And the only thing our webcam is going to see is me eating chocolate while I read blogs, or maybe my cat, chasing the cursor. But I’m thinking we all need to start making weird faces at those little cams. Would the thieves even care, though?


  6. I think you need to read Peter and Jane from 19 jan 2018 .FB blog . When you’ve changed your knickers and stopped laughing you’ll see how she agrees with everything you just said. Her book Why Mummy Drinks is out in the US about now ,after being top of the lists in UK recently . Hint……..she is married to Gadget Twat!🤣🤣🤣🤣


  7. “Smart” doesn’t mean what it used to, does it? My septic tank has a red warning light that still leaves an 80 gallon reserve before it overflows. The nice thing about rural living is that I can always go outside if need be. I mean, who would want to do THAT indoors in the first place? They say one shouldn’t poop where one eats after all.


    • I think about that every time I flush, knowing that it causes a mushroom cloud of aerosolized awfulness above the toilet. I always close the lid before I flush to keep it contained… and then then next time I open the lid (bending forward as one must), I imagine what’s floating around in my face zone. Sometimes a vivid imagination is a curse.

      And you’re right about rural living – one never lacks for “facilities” if one is willing to sacrifice a modicum of comfort. Nice to know I’ve got 38 acres to use if necessary!


  8. If you think the fridge has a big mouth, wait until you hear about then microwave. Those mysterious waves that cook and defrost our food have other nefarious abilities. I wouldn’t want to “speak out of school,” but be especially careful when you defrost a beef stew: it can be dangerous, and the CIA might be involved.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Salesperson: And this model comes with Threat Level 5 carbon fiber composite armor.
          Customer: Er, why does a refrigerator come with, uh, nuke-proof armor?
          Salesperson: Let’s just say it’s, um, snack-resistant, okay?
          Customer, nodding sagely: Ah, yes, I understand completely. My husband…well, he wants one of these, too, but he’ll use his to store his gold bullion, loose diamonds, and firearms. It’s more secure, he says, than a bank vault…Even the NSA can’t hack into it…

          Yeah, I can see that happening.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. You’re so right about smart stuff making us dumb. Not only can I still remember the phone number we had when I was a kid (544-1141) but I remember a nearby restaurant called “The Hippogriff” whose number was 544-1411. We were always getting calls for reservations for the restaurant, and my dad was getting sick of it. When they refused to change their number, he figured “I’ll fix their wagon” and started taking dinner reservations. Didn’t take too long before that number got changed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, that’s hilarious! Your dad had a devilish sense of humour. I still remember my grandparents’ phone number from the early 70s, too… and I remember our neighbours’ one-long-one-short on the party-line crank telephone we had before we got ‘real’ phone numbers. But my sister’s number? No chance. She changed it eight years ago…


    • Caller: Can I get reservations for twelve at eight this evening?

      Dad, with evil grin: But, of course! You will have the best table in the house. Oh, and let me see…yes! You are the fiftieth reservation this week, so your party wins free drinks for the entire evening! Congratulations! So we will see you at eight! Good-bye!

      Ring, ring, ring.

      Caller: Can I get reservations for four at seven this evening?

      Dad, with evil grin: But, of course! You will have the best table in the house as well as a free $100 Visa gift card and free appetizers and desserts!

      …Dad, with evil grin: But, of course! And you just won our Champagne and Beluga Caviar Extravaganza this evening after we close…!

      …reservations for two? Your anniversary, you say? Congratulations! You just won our Anniversary Extravaganza! That’s two weeks, all expenses paid, at Hilton Head!

      Yep, the possibilities are utterly endless. No wonder they changed their number! 😉


  10. You can send E-cards these days for birthdays, anniversaries, etc – you’d think that the phone could just send the card for you. Of course, you’re friends phone would detect the card delivery and send you a nice thank you – no human involvement needed. Which is kind the of the direction computers are taking us in the sex department.

    And be careful what you say and do in front of your refrigerator – some of the things your fridge has been telling my fridge is … well just be careful.

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.