Tech Can Save Us If We Believe in Reason over Dollars

American companies have produced electric vehicles, some of which can drive themselves, but they still aren’t at a price at which everyone can or will buy them.

If all Americans used electric cars, that could have a huge, positive change for the environment. It would lower greenhouse gasses, diminish smog and cut the burning of fossil fuels. Will it happen? Probably not. Our government subsidizes the oil industry instead. This known as a “strategic paradox.” Our technology companies are providing answers to the world’s biggest problems, but our country is ignoring them in favor of old technologies⏤for as long as it can.

In the United States, seat belt legislation varies by state. When the state of Wisconsin introduced legislation in 1961 requiring seat belts to be fitted to the front outboard seat positions of cars, it was the only state to do so.  Seat belts have been mandatory equipment since the 1968 model year per Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208. Again, this is an invention that saved lives and reduced injuries. But it took 7 years after Wisconsin passed its law to become adopted nationwide. Puzzling.

Doctors and scientists have conquered disease by understanding and manipulating DNA in unborn children, yet we can’t seem to end the massive and well-documented hunger of our school-aged children. How is that possible?

We can have police scan license plates and pull up more of an individual’s personal information than imagined in a matter of seconds⏤sometimes inequitably. We have camera networks running AI facial recognition programs in airports and on public streets, but we can’t seem to see the homeless vets or homeless people who hold signs on the corner saying “Anything Helps.”

Many politicians in the greatest nation on earth say the United States can’t offer health care for its people, unlike every other civilized country on the planet. Hell, Bolivia just provided universal health care for its population. But in America, we have a broken system.

We have become a nation of non-believers, of doubters in the very institutions we built to protect us. Some Americans don’t trust anything they hear unless it’s from a particular news source with a certain point of view. Many have swallowed the lie that to deny a piece of information all they need to hear is the magic words, “Conspiracy Theory.” Poof, all the facts that didn’t register, all the questionable statements that are wrong or if any other little slice of the information upsets them, and the magic words make it go away. Now some people believe nothing. Nothing is a warning. Everything becomes nothing.

With the advent of things that AI can do already and will do in the days to come, even more, integrity, honesty and factual information could disappear. Just say the magic words, “Alexa, give me the latest on Conspiracy Theories.”

I’ve written exciting stories about medical advancements, such as a high-tech contact lens, that measures an individual’s glucose levels from the tears in their eyes. Conversely, I’ve learned about how many people struggle to pay for a vial or a dose of insulin for themselves or their children. The invention of insulin came decades ago, and the production of insulin is cheap. The cost of insulin is horrific, for no other reason than lack of good sense on our government’s part.

When I read about innovations like exoskeletons, or contact lens that help diabetics, I believe these reports are correct. I’ve never seen these things in person. I don’t know anyone that could show me these things in person. But because I check several sources on these products, thanks to the internet, print media and plain old curiosity, I am confident when I share information that it is correct and true. Things far more fantastic than most of us have ever conceived of are real!

The “fake news” fad has turned what is true and what is false completely upside down. Before that became a national catchphrase, we believed in people in the media like Jack Anderson, or Bernstein and Woodward. We had news reporters we turned to for the truth, like Walter Cronkite, or Huntley and Brinkley. They told us about Kennedy, and reported the truth about Vietnam, and showed the Berlin Wall being torn down. Now all the talk is about building a wall that will adversely affect the environment, including animals and seeds, that cross our southern border. There are better answers to these problems and they are available now.

My point, gentle readers, is that we are better than this. We have proven how advanced and humane our country is capable of being. We have invented ways to live our lives that made nearly every other person on this planet wish they were part of America. If we wanted to, if we had the political will, we could do it again.

We can produce enough food to feed the world. We can stop spending our treasure on bombs and begin to build or rebuild our infrastructures. We can offer the finest health care and make it affordable. But we don’t. Why? I’m simply appalled at what America has become since John F. Kennedy sent us dreaming about space.

C’mon, Americans. Think. Think some more. Then act as though our lives depend upon it. They do.