In the year 2031, I most-likely will be in prison. Maybe sooner, or maybe a little later, but I just can’t imagine my life’s path detouring in any other direction. Of course, this prediction is only plausible if Lord willing I’m even still around in 2031. It’s not too difficult to see where this country is headed, and I can’t envision any type of escape from what I perceive as the inevitable. I’m not alluding to our deplorable political landscape although I suppose ultimately it will be our government’s justice system deciding my fate in the near future. The reason for my probable transitioning from a law-abiding citizen to a willing lawbreaker will undoubtedly be due to – in a word – technology. Rather, more explicitly, it will be my refusal to embrace some technology that will provoke a prison sentence by 2031.
Many things I disapprove of have become acceptable in today’s society, and that’s okay. However, there’s much speculation that some things I’m opposed to may eventually become mandatory, and that I cannot (will not) accept. One such thing on the horizon is the possibility of being forced to utilize driverless cars. It has been rumored that in the near future we might all be required to surrender our driving skills to “intelligent” sensory control systems. Supposedly, computers are better drivers than people.
The main reason commonly given, for enacting an autonomous vehicles only policy, is the anticipated reduction in collisions on our roadways. I’m sure we could reduce accidents, without banning physical drivers, by prohibiting cell phone use while driving, imposing stricter penalties on repeat offenders, and expanding photo enforcement nationwide. I’m not averse to those who are fond of the new technology, but I am against revoking a person’s choice in the process. I know I for one will not give up my right to manually control my own vehicle. I will continue tooling around town in my laguna blue Dodge Dart regardless of any new laws that may be imposed concerning self-driving cars.
Another thing which might land me in the slammer is in regards to dealing with our beloved government every April. I fill out my tax returns by hand, and I like it that way. That’s how I’ve done it for 34 years, but now the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) suggests (almost demands) I file my returns online. Each year I have to call the IRS to request the most recent instructions booklet, and each year the government’s representative on the other end, not even attempting to conceal his disgust towards me, argues his case for why I should file via computer. Each year he loses. However, I’m painfully aware my preferred choice of filing will one day be taken away. The day I have no other option than to file my tax returns online is the day I no longer file tax returns. This will surely pose a problem for me, and it may very well be the reason I’ll likely be sporting state issued, black and white striped attire in 2031.
If neither my refusal to get on board with driverless cars, nor my intentional refraining from filing tax returns electronically, sends me to the big house then possibly the contempt I have for drones will. I despise the uprising of drone enthusiasts, and I think it’s sort of ridiculous for anyone to own one solely for personal use. The preceding sentence reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry, during a family dinner conversation at Manya’s house, amusingly says, “I hate anyone that ever had a pony when they were growing up.” Of course, the elderly Manya immediately divulges that she had a pony as a young girl. Can you say awwwkwaaard? My apologies, if I too offended, but let me explain.
Drones have increasingly been showing up on countless Christmas lists, of the young and old alike the past couple of years, and this is quite bothersome to me concerning my privacy. I do not wish any harm on drone owners, but I don’t want their voyeuristic robots anywhere in the vicinity of my residence. The lion’s share of drones have both photo taking and live streaming capabilities. It is my understanding a drone can legally invade my home’s airspace, but it’s illegal if I see fit to capture it or shoot the hovering nuisance out of the sky. I don’t think I can play by those rules; hence, appointing myself as judge and jury in the matter could realistically result in me being fitted for an orange jumpsuit by the year 2031. I live in Arizona. It’s hot! I should be able to shed my clothing in my own backyard without having to worry about an uninvited drone joining the party. I will not give up my constitutional right to privacy.
This past decade I’ve seen much that is wrong with our country’s infatuation with technology. I’ve witnessed cellphones (and the like) replace meaningful relationships. I’ve seen the blatant discrimination against those who would rather pay their baggage fees at the airport than beforehand online; The airlines charge more if paying in person. I’ve also noticed the obvious bias against traditional coupon clippers and people who prefer to pay with cash. Grocery stores have begun presenting their best deals to only those who are willing (and able) to download digital coupons, and some businesses are now offering consumers more if they pay with plastic instead of with cash. I recently experienced this type of injustice firsthand when putting air in my car’s tires at a local convenience store. Using a credit card would’ve given me 5 minutes worth of air whereas good ole American currency only afforded me 4 minutes for the same price.
We are continuously coaxed (strong-armed), many times by way of a small threat to our pocketbooks, into using debit or credit cards and managing all of our finances and business transactions online. Why go that route? The last I knew, one’s identity cannot be stolen or their life hacked into when using cash. For convenience? In my household we use the tried-and-true envelope system, so online banking would actually be a great inconvenience to us. Do we kowtow to every technological advancement simply because we want to appear as though we too are hip (or whatever the kids are calling it these days) and to avoid pompously being accused of “not being with it” or “still living in the horse and buggy days”?
To each his own I guess. I know it’s much easier to conform…to society…to the government…to the world. There just comes a time when enough is enough. For me, I can never accept commuting in driverless cars, submitting tax returns online, or drones invading my personal space. I may be in the world, but I am not of this world. My hope is I’ll be able to joyfully sing like Paul and Silas, knowing God holds the key, while locked behind prison doors in 2031.