New world of technology

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2002

Remember back when they were fussing over whether Ted Williams’ heirs had the right to freeze the body of the man that made them all wealthy. It’s not too late to clone him and I’ll bet money that somewhere there is a dentist, barber, or manicurist who has kept a snippet or two and is already negotiating a deal with a fiendish doctor in Slovakia. One willing to finance a secret lab where Ted can be &uot;manufactured&uot; and sent to a little league team deep inside Cuba’s interior for training. Eighteen years from now they will trade him to the Detroit Tigers for millions.

Of course he will have to be disguised, perhaps a clipped mustache, and given false credentials. In Cuba that should be easy.

The only negative is that he might break all of the real Ted’s batting records. Imagine this, a statue of the clone of Ted might one day be standing in the Baseball Hall of Fame along side a statue of the real Ted and only his hairdresser would know. One day there will be a baseball scout in Cuba following the career of a sensational young minor league player with a mustache.

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But why stop with one clone of Mr. Williams, why not a whole team? Imagine what they’d think they were worth. $18 million each would be chicken feed.

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You have probably heard that e-mail never dies. Once created it floats around somewhere in the electronic sky available to anyone with the equipment and know- how to pull it down and record it. Billions of e-mails are already up there, probably causing ozone or air pollution problems. It’s possible someone is snatching them right after they are sent because a lot of mine never arrive at their intended destination.

Maybe it’s because I’m attempting 2002 technology with a 1925 brain that has never been upgraded. Remember, I learned math back before calculators were invented and can still do arithmetic with pencil and paper.

By 2010 computers will read your mind and it won’t be necessary to use always out-of-date software. You will merely look at a blank document and think what you want to send. A serious problem with that will be controlling your thoughts. If you are not careful the truth will spill out. This makes the system dangerous for politicians and defense lawyers.

One day they will make a movie about what I am about to write. Right now skilled computer scientists have the means to record your thoughts. Every thought you ever had during your lifetime is recorded somewhere in your brain. I mean clean back to infancy and puberty. Would you want them to be public? Get used to the words &uot;blackmail&uot; and &uot;extortion.&uot;

If one of those scientists ever has physical access to you, your stored thoughts can be copied. It takes but an instant and requires only the use of a tiny probe inserted anywhere just below the skin. What you thought was a mosquito bite and only a slight risk of West Nile disease, was actually one of those tiny probes. Every thought you ever had is now in his possession.

How long do you think it would take one of these evil computer scientists to download and print your puberty thoughts? One day you will be approached by a shabby scruffy looking man with ratty facial hair carrying a briefcase. He will hand you a page or two to read and you will be astounded at the contents and wonder what kind of pervert is addressing you.

But that written material contains references that could only have been known to or made by you – many of your teenage thoughts in print. The scientist then suggests a sum of money that could erase that damaging information. And if your puberty visions are not sufficient, he also owns manuscripts containing what you really think of your boss, the preacher’s sermons, your mother-in-law, thy neighbor’s wife, and your wife’s choice of underwear. How much is that worth?

Not you, you say, no one can get that close to you. Ha, you forget. You have a doctor, and a dentist for sure. And anyone can sneak up behind with that probe – a quick jab and it’s over. The kid taking tickets at the movie, anyone handing you change, the lady in the parking garage, hells bells, even the PETA lady soliciting a dollar from you to help them protect the endangered pick shrew.

Don’t ever stand in a line at McDonalds, never shake hands with a stranger, not even a friend. Out there somewhere is a man or woman stalking you. Collecting thoughts will become a way to make big money for people hired to do just that. One a month is all a computer scientist worth his salt needs to live as high as a thieving corporate executive. You’ve been warned so don’t come whining to me.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.