A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Today: Why there’s no podcast this week


So here’s the thing. We recorded this podcast about Hamilton, America’s favorite not-musical. It was great! We talked Burr, made puns, you know did all the usual things. Except I forgot to download the podcast. Of course I didn’t realize this in time to actually go back and save it. Meaning that there is no Talking Nerdy this week since we didn’t have time to re-record it. Maybe in the future, we can do Hamilton again and you guys can actually hear it. But I didn’t want to completely skip content today so welcome to a special edition of Brandy Melanie Thoughts! 

So today I’m going to discuss why I’m the Ron Swanson of the group and a total old curmudgeon. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. On the one hand, it’s great. And on the other, Black Mirror. So technology exists to solve problems and make life easier. With technology we improve and automate a lot of our lives. It keeps us from having to do manual labor (and all the problems that go along with that). This creates its own problems, especially of needing a more skilled workforce to repair and invent new technologies, but that’s more of an evolution of the workplace than a “problem.” So what’s my problem with technology? 

Here’s the thing. To answer this question, you have to kind of know me. I constantly get crazy looks when I talk to people about this stuff. I have a predictive problem wherein I look at things and see the bad stuff that’s going to be happening. For an example, a few years back I discussed domestic plane (and drone) surveillance with a friend. They thought I was nuts! But of course, what has the government been doing in pilot (pun intended) programs for years that has since become public knowledge? Domestic surveillance. Technology exists to make our lives easier. But with ease comes complacency. If nothing’s difficult, then you become comfortable, and that can lead to some dangerous places.

Let’s look at an analogy. Many years back HBO did this movie on Temple Grandin. It was an interesting movie and an interesting lady. The movie featured her methods of sending animals to the slaughterhouse, making them less afraid through different techniques. Just for a moment consider us as the cattle in this situation. If I’m cattle, I want to know that. I don’t want to be herded to the slaughterhouse and be nice about it. I’m going kicking and screaming into the void beyond. 

So technology is incredibly helpful on the one hand but also makes things easier. However, there are plenty of other issues with technology. It creates just as many problems as it solves. Think about it – before the smart phone, you only saw a stranger’s junk when they flashed you. And that was taken care of fairly quickly by the cops. This is obviously a somewhat flippant example, but the point is that we’re not limiting the amount of work and stress we have to deal with. We’re just choosing a different type of stress. It’s not right, it’s not wrong, just different.

I use a smartphone. I’m typing this on a laptop at the moment. In the morning, my phone’s alarm will wake me up and I’ll drive to work in my car and work all day on a computer. Technology is a constant part of my life from the moment I wake to the moment I sleep. But should it be? I’m not saying we should all move to a farm and chuck our phones in the recycling (although that sounds kinda great), but if we’re being led in a direction by the powers that be, shouldn’t we at least look up from Candy Crush long enough to know it?

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