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OldFatGuy

Technology and Women's Rights

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During this morning's breakfast with some of the teen grandchildren and their friends we started a dialog about the women's rights movements emanating from America's relative easy acceptance of new technology, from Fulton's steamboat technology onwards, but more inclusive small and large technological leaps in the kitchen and washroom. New gadgets that made kitchen work easier, more efficient, less laborious, and the same for washing clothing and cleaning the house, labor mostly relegated to women. Obviously freed from these time consuming burdens, women had more time for self indulgence, self education, entrance to the general workplace and so forth. Not that individual strong women hadn't been women warriors leading armies in battle, played serious roles with the overthrow of tyrants in the past, been religious leaders, business people and much more, but these were the exceptions, not the rule of thumb.

As American technology progressed providing indoor plumbing, washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, vegematics, TV dinners, microwave ovens, "free time" from traditional home work roles allowed women to join the main workforce with all the attributes of mundane work, work related stress, sexual abuse in the workplace from higher ups, and the telephone gave them the time to discuss these issues with other women they normally would not have come in contact with during their lives. Our education systems went on to open their doors to women, when previously illiteracy reigned, women were consumed by fantasy romance fiction, normal schools where upper middle class women went to learn how to teach, continuing the role of nurturer, and then WWII forced America to be more inclusive of women in formerly male workplace roles as men were more directly involved in the war effort, leaving us Rosie the Riveter.

Now we have cell phones, an addiction for women, men, teenagers, and toddlers, a new dependency and even faster mass communications ala twitter, snapchat and a host of other software packages which have led to a women's driven PC and Me Too movements. Rosie the riveter is now Rosie the Accountant, CEO, political leader, successful business woman daddy advisor in the Whitehouse, leader of the political oppositions, and America is no longer as male dominated as it once appeared to be.

Plato, often misquoted and misunderstood, never suggested male female relationships other than mothering and sisters, to be sex free and not chattel oriented. He suggested women should additionally be respected for their minds, not just servitude and sexual satisfaction for men, not mere chattel. Now we have stories of women raping men. A turn of the tide.

Of course the kids at first took umbrage to this synopsis of women's history in America, until seeing photos on their smart phones of women in India cleaning clothes in a stream, pounding them with rocks and stones, pebbles for the softening, and hauling buckets of water home for cooking the vegetable from the fields they tilled while men were off doing whatever. Then the kids started thinking and speaking about how this all was effecting their lives, their futures and desires, behavior with each other.

I didn't let the conversation stop there. I pointed out how America's easy acceptance of technology, even when immature, had its vulnerabilities embraced by all. Hilary's e-mails, cyber scams, intrusive robo-calls, big brother networks of video cameras from speed traps to door bell cameras, corporate data mining, the lack of privacy, sexting and subsequent extortions (asking as a subset, why so many young women who did not want to be treated as sex objects were willing to send naked selfies and pose naked for questionable "art photos" for web publication, there seems to be no shortage), to the new connectivity of everything. Smart TV's, refrigerators, nanny cams, smart cars and pacemakers, wifi-ed and blue toothed, vulnerable to hacking and cracking. Even our power grid and military industrial complex rushing toward being smarter, more connected, more vulnerable.

What is to stop a rogue state, with a small coterie of software educated crackers from interrupting our power grid after hacking through malware in a smart microwave oven or smart air conditioner, then posing a false nuclear strike from Russia, starting a nuclear annihilation between the two nations, without ever firing or recieving a shot themselves?

I asked, should they be paranoid, or just relegate women back to barefoot and pregnant as our birthrate drops, forcing our continued reliance on immigration, a potential source of enemy infiltration? Scary stuff for them to ponder, and the rest of us. They are no longer so certain grandpa is nutz. The reactions were as expected, initial rejection and joking, but then there is reality......

You can write these theories off as paranoid speculations, gut knee jerk reactions, without giving them thought, or start worrying about this kid in his mom's basement, a self made social outcast, speaking with another bored kid in rural Romania, laying plans for their cyber domination of the world? They've already taken your smart oven hostage, released for a mere 2 bitcoins.

Nah, never happen. But last week Samsung released a warning to scan their smart TV's for malware every three months or so, with instructions how to do it. Our ways of life destroyed by smart connected big screen high def TV's for watching streamed reruns of I Love Lucy, a secret joy now opened to the world for mocking.
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  1. WillyPete's Avatar
    You were going really well, raised some interesting topics, right up until you went full Skynet on us there at the end.

    Computer security is far simpler than people realize, and way more boring than TV would have us believe. The critical military and utility systems are "air-gapped" so that they aren't on the Internet, being physically isolated from it. Doing anything crucial requires layers of approval via other means. Done.

    Unless they are criminally mismanaged there is simply no way some hacker is going to remote control those systems. Utility systems are diverse and commercial, and so generally expected to be less secure. MAYBE that leaves some openings, but the diversity also means they would be limited in impact.

    Your commercial products are sometimes a free-for-all because that's just your personal security, and no one cares much about that except yourself.
  2. Angel's Avatar
    Bravo, gramps!

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