It's Halloween morning. You're curled up in bed reading a book on your new Kindle. It's light as a feather and holds tons of books. Ah, the new technology. Isn't it wonderful?
You get up and head to the kitchen for a glass of orange juice. Eek! There is none. Thank goodness you invested in a "smart" refrigerator, programmed to automatically inventory and re-order some basic items. You go to the refrigerated delivery box right outside your door and open the combination lock. Eureka! As promised, the refrigerator IS smart. A half-gallon of juice awaits you, having been delivered by the 24/7 gremlins who accept and obey the commands of your refrigerator. Three cheers for the new technology!
Later in the day you're out for a jog and stop at a machine to buy a bottle of water. You deposit $1.50, but nothing happens. You wipe the sweat off your sunglasses and read the message flashing on the machine: "Warm weather surcharge in effect, since temperature is above 70 degrees. Please deposit an additional 50 cents." Yikes! A smart refrigerator in your home is one thing. But a smart drink machine in the park? A machine that takes advantage of high temperatures and exhausted joggers? Forget about it. You have no more change and return home thirsty. A pox on the new technology!
At dinnertime, you push the "scan and suggest" button on your refrigerator. Within a minute you receive a printout providing three Martha Stewart recipes based on the inventory of the fresh food contents of your refrigerator. Let's see, you could whip up chicken in wine sauce, spinach lasagna, or a broccoli and cheese omelet. You consider each one in turn and picture all the pots and pans involved. You give a thumbs down to all three. You do have a smart dishwasher, but it's not smart enough to do the entire clean up on its own, and Martha won't be stopping by to help. She's done the before-the-meal work, but afterwards you'll be on your own. Time for Plan B. You stick your head in the freezer and do a manual scan. You find a frozen pizza and put it in the oven. Who needs the new technology?
You finish your pizza and then pick up the mail. Bad news. Your car rental company, doing nationwide monitoring from its office in Snoopville, has caught you going more than ten miles above the speed limit on three separate occasions. Uh-oh. Big Brother is watching. You didn't know that the company had the technology and the nerve to do that. A "fine" of $150 has been charged to your credit card. Is this legal? But talk about a dilemma. How can you ask a law enforcement official whether it's legal for someone to "catch" you speeding? Boy, you hate this new technology.
Then the doorbell rings. You open the door to a cast of usual suspects. A witch, a ghost, a ballet dancer, a king, a pirate, a princess, a Miss Piggy, and a Kermit form a chorus: "Trick or Treat." Their eyes light up when you hand over candy corn and dollar bills. You wish each other Happy Halloween.
You close the door and smile. Hmm. Maybe this brave new world isn't so bad after all. Or so new.