Howdy. I'm Pat McLene. Welcome to my blog. I used to write a weekly column on about prepping - or as I prefer to call it - Self-Dependence. The purpose of this blog is to allow me to go deeper into self-dependence than I did at WND and to help those who are starting the journey along. Check out the About Me link to the right for more info on yours truly. And thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

 I was listening to the radio today while working in the shop. It being Saturday, there wasn't really a whole lot on so by default I was tuned into one of those home repair shows that seem to dominate weekend radio. The home fix-it radio guy was broadcasting from the home fix-it radio guy national convention, or something like that. In my mind, I could see a whole line of radio home fix-it guys all broadcasting from their own booths, with another line of hardware salesman moving from booth to booth every few minutes to pitch their wares. Anyway, the home fix-it guy I was listening to was chewing the fat with a rep from a big plumbing company and the rep was there to pitch one of their new products; Wi-Fi plumbing.

Apparently the radio guy had already installed some of this company's new equipment in his own home, and was really excited about how it worked. He said something like, "Yeah, I can get up in the morning, and tell Alexa that I want her to fire up the shower at 102°, and she does!". Then he went on to describe how he told Alexa to prepare two quarts of water at 92° (I have no idea why he wanted two quarts of water at 92°.). And she did!

The radio host and the dealer rep continued to chat for a while when the radio fix-it guy made a prediction. He said that he was pretty sure that within 10 years there would be no more manual light switches in any new residential construction.

That prediction threw me for a loop. This isn't just some guy talking on the radio, he's one of the big names in his business and I take his predictive ability seriously.

Which brings me to this. Recent news has been chock full of stories about social media sites that are developing artificial intelligence to review posts and to determine whether the authors of those posts are engaged in "hate speech". Since the algorithms that will drive those artificial intelligence systems will be created by leftists and progressives, my guess - driven by experience - is that hate speech will be defined as anything those progressive leftists think is hateful, meaning anything that would imply those same libs are yammerheads.

I know a number of people who have been temporarily or permanently banned from such social media sites as Twitter and Facebook for expressing opinions that do not square with the beliefs of those who run the social media sites. And when your twitter or Facebook account is closed there's little you can do about it, since social media sites are privately owned enterprises. So this brings up the question, if Alexa is listening to you talk at all times in your home, then what's to keep Alexa from determining that you are a hateful person as defined by it's creators. Further, if Alexa has made such a determination, what's to keep Alexa from taking some kind of corrective or punitive actions.

Just suppose, for example, the previous evening, safe in your domicile, you were venting about the Democratic numbskulls on Capitol Hill or the problems of illegal immigration. The next day you went off to work at your patriarchal sweatshop and when you return home after a long day of beating your employees, you discover that the front door won't open for you. To make matters worse, when you finally get in by cracking a window, none of the lights will come on, your electric heat pump won't run, your toilets won't flush, and all the food in your refrigerator is spoiling. Who are you going to complain to? After all, Alexa doesn't work for you, she works for Apple. And Apple has determined scientifically that you're a jerk.

Folks, part of self dependence must include not having to depend on technology. We have a brave New World coming very very soon. And for the ease of convenience we are paying others to limit our own autonomy.

All I can say is that at a minimum, you tell the building contractor of your next new home that you want working light switches and an "Alexa" manual override on every "smart" application. Don't surrender your freedom to some busybot. Fortunately for me, I live in such a way that no AI can shut off my water or cripple my wood stove.

As I frequently say in my WND column, this is one of the reasons that we prep.


  1. No AI in this house either! Although I wouldn't mind a simple 'bot' that could cut and haul wood for the fireplace... ...

  2. JW. I used to have a couple of those. But they grew up and moved out.