Abetted by technology, corporate America has become Big Brother

Image courtesy of Kharsohtun by way of Creative Commons.

Better living through technology? Sure, when it works.

But more and more I see technology becoming a dehumanizing influence on our lives, requiring that we spend more and more of our discretionary time on meeting the demands of the digital beast, abetted by a corporate mentality that favors money over all else.

A month ago I noticed my mobile phone bill had gone up by $5. I called the company to ask why and was given every answer but the real one – because they wanted more money. But they offered to switch me to a different plan, one that would do away with my ability to use my phone as a hotspot but would cost $10 a month less. I told them to do it.

Cut to yesterday. I receive a text message that says the mobile phone service provider is charging X number of dollars to my credit card. The amount is the same as the previous month.

So I spend a big chunk of this morning getting to the bottom of the problem, which appears to be that my new plan didn’t “take,” whatever that means.

This comes on the heel of a slew of automated text messages from medical entities wanting me to pay my bills – in one case I had already paid the bill and in the other, it’s set up to automatically bill to my credit card. And let’s not talk about the $5,000 error made by the hospital, which has yet to be resolved.

Technology is fine. But in the hands of corporations that don’t give a damn about anything except money, it has become a thing of evil. It has two imperatives: the alleged convenience it provides to us, the customer, which is debatable; and second, the benefit nobody talks about – reduced corporate costs, i.e., higher profits.

The corporate scramble for lower costs and higher profits has cheapened all our lives. A significant portion of the inflation we see today is the result of corporate profiteering. Their cost-cutting measures, with the transfer of work to the customer, have made our lives more stressful and less rewarding, especially at the hands of a quixotic technology base.

Orwell tells us that government is Big Brother. No. George got it wrong. Corporate America is Big Brother. Government is only the Drunk Uncle.

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at delstonejr.com .


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