Columnist: Is technology taking away privacy?

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2016

Loran Smith

Syndicated columnist

You can go online today for about anything. There are a few exceptions — like a root canal.

Already, we will have a car that can drive itself. We have had auto pilots for big jets for years. When they come up with a plane which requires no pilot, that is when I will drive or hitchhike.

I know how many birthdays I’ve had, but there’s a lot about technology that deserves the back of our hand. Rude behavior is permeating our society and technology is making it worse. My biggest concern is that technology will someday eliminate all privacy. Eventually, there’ll be a camera which can see through walls and record some hapless soul taking a shower.

Cell phones chime out at all places, including funerals. However, I can remember a scene when a final tribute was being made to a beer distributor which elicited this clever response from the eulogizer when a cell phone went off.

“That’s John, reminding us to ice down the beer.”

Will technology eliminate the simple things in life? Only if we let it! We live in remarkable and sobering times, but I often conclude that life was better when:

We drank Coca-Cola from the contour bottle.

Didn’t curse like boatswain mates in routine conversation.

Opened the car door for ladies for all occasions.

We didn’t have to lock our doors during the day; or after sundown.

The bottom line was important but we didn’t worship it.

We watched TV for news and entertainment, not political rants.

We wore a coat and tie when we boarded an airplane.

We took our kids to the woods and cut our own Christmas tree.

We got out of line at school, we were also punished when we got home. Your parents always agreed with your principal.

You could take your kids shopping without worrying about a sexual predator lurking about.

A bicycle was as emotionally fulfilling at Christmas as a SUV is today.

Kids shot marbles at recess.

We learned to swim in a creek.

Outdoor activity and the work ethic made obesity unheard of.

The circus was our Disney World.

We played baseball without uniforms and equipment, enhanced by friction tape.

Television evangelism was not yet commonplace.

When it came time to eat, if there were not at least four vegetables on the table, you didn’t feel you experienced a full meal.

Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were our movie heroes.

Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio were our sports heroes, who played for the same team all their Big League life.

Steroids not only were unheard of, we could not have spelled it.

Reading was the most fulfilling pastime. A weekly highlight was to check out a book from the library, read it with great anticipation and then return it the next week, anxious to move on to new book.

Listening to the radio honed our imagination and made us want to meet the Lone Ranger and climb the highest mountain.

Perusing the funny pages was reason enough to subscribe to a newspaper.

The nearest thing to a sex magazine was the Sears Roebuck catalogue.

Loran Smith is an athletic administrator at the University of Georgia.