commentary / Freedom / ideation / Technology

Forecast Friday: Will We Be Allowed to Decide for Ourselves?

I used to worry about technology making it so we didn’t have to think. Calculators reduced the need to be able to do math in your head. Fast food cash registers keep the less educated from having to think too hard about your order. The internet blessed us with the power to find any information we needed (and cursed us with shorter memories.

Augmented reality and remote communication is making it possible to only train one person to know how to fix things, and then guide menials do the actual work in the field.

Now tech is intruding into our personal decisions. Data’s been gathered on each of us, and the algorithms target individual marketing at each of us (that’s why at my advanced age I get hearing aid and cemetery ads instead of singles and cruises.)

Now we have digital assistants like Siri learning our likes and dislikes, and the internet of SMART things is coming.

Think of the smart television listening for you to ask it to show you something; this already exists, and it doesn’t just hear what you want it to do – it hears your EVERY word. Soon it will have other devices to talk to. And then imagine –

you walk into your living room and say “I want something fun to do” – just thinking out loud (heck, you probably won’t have to speak at all), and the TV turns itself on and offers you a comedy, while your eReader brings up a Calvin & Hobbs collection,

your phone calls the theatre to buy tickets to The Improv, and your oven warms up while the fridge sends an invite to your culinary club for a dinner party at your house in two hours. You can’t keep up with them all – and then Siri breaks through the cacophony and TELLS THEM which thing YOU want, and so you go along with it; you don’t even have to think for yourself.

How do you know if you’re really choosing what you would have liked to do when they eliminate your choices for you? It’s your life, isn’t it?

Just saying…


Gladius2CoverThis week’s Smashword’s coupon is for “Gladius”:

What security is there in the loyalty of slaves?

Gladius has served his Betelgeusean owners faithfully since he was first abducted from Taurus, but he’s about to find out that loyalty isn’t always a two-way street, and not all slaves are willing to settle for their lot. Maybe he’s not as bull-headed as he appears.

Use coupon code WT63N to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until August 20th. Here’s the link:

“Gladius” is also available in the collection – More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.


ScentOfTheCrimeCoverOnly 7 days left to preorder Detective Jimmy Delaney story #4: “The Scent of the Crime”:

Detective Jimmy Delaney finds himself involved in yet another murder. He knows something smells in Barnstow, but can he use that to find the killer?

“The Scent of the Crime” is a short, private detective fiction set in the near future, with a slight sci-fi element fiction. And a little humor (Jimmy likes to think of himself as Sam Spade, but has more in common with Jim Rockford.) This one started just because I wanted to play with some advanced scent memory, I liked the title pun, and then the story took over. Hope you enjoy it!

The official release date is August 26th, but you can preorder now at a REDUCED PROMOTIONAL PRICE at all the usual places, including (but not limited to):




William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest publication “Obsolete”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri



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