If I post a picture of myself wearing a fashionable hat, will I be fabulous?

If I post a picture of myself wearing heels, will you love me?

If I post a picture of myself having drinks at the bar, will my life be exciting?

If I post a picture of me and my boyfriend grinning into the camera, will my relationship be happier?

If you Liked me, does that mean you like me?

If I post about how much I love myself, will I love myself?

If I’m having one of those days when I’m curled up in a ball in my room, but I still drag myself to the computer and post about how fantastic my day is, will my day be fantastic?  Will I be accepted?  Will I become one of you?  Will you give me the secret password to your world?  If I keep talking, will what I say mean something to you?

Or will I turn off the computer and go sit in the sunlight in my garden, where I don’t have to be anyone or say anything?  What’s on my mind right now?  Absolutely nothing, and it’s beautiful.

Here we go again.  Experts are stating that in the next few decades robots will take over most of our jobs and we will no longer have to work.  Neil Jacobstein, head of AI at Singularity University, has this to say:

AIs will cause significant unemployment but that doesn’t equate with poverty…AIs and other exponential technologies are going to generate vast amounts of wealth.  We have to be willing to change the social contract we have with people about how wealth is distributed.

Haven’t we heard this song before?  In fact, don’t we hear it on a regular basis?  I remember the black and white films from the ’50s presenting a futuristic lifestyle in which machines do everything for us and all we have to do is find new ways to relax.  If their predictions had been true, I should have been spending the last 20 years or so with my feet up, drinking cocktails.  In fact, computers were supposed to make our lives simpler and easier.  Instead, life is even more complex, fast-paced, stressful.  I have a feeling running a robot society won’t change that any.  And I don’t even want to imagine what happens when we get our minds microchipped, as Mr. Jacobstein suggests–my employer would probably force me to process 10,000 thoughts per minute.

The truth is I don’t want these prophecies about the future to come true.  Because life in those ’50s visions of technological utopia looks…mind-numbingly boring.  People spend their days playing tennis and watching quiz shows on TV.  I already waste too much time on Facebook–would I spend even more time on there?  Sharing updates about what kind of food and drink the robots are serving me, since that would be my only activity anyway?  I suppose I would be able to blog more often.  But if people were no longer getting exploited and overworked by their capitalist bosses, what on Earth would I blog about?

Maybe the reason this makes me so uneasy is that if I didn’t work, there would no longer be any excuse for not getting started on that big fat novel I’m supposed to write.  Come to think of it, the ennui of people who do nothing all day is a perfect subject for angsty fiction.  Hmmm….bring on our robot overlords, I guess.

Paper notebooking, that is.

I’ve always been partial to pen and paper, probably because I grew up without computers.  I still write all of the first drafts of my short stories in a notebook, and only then transfer them into Word.  Over the past few years, I’ve been under the sad impression that I’m one of those hopeless dinosaurs, clinging to the ways of the past.  Sort of like my fiction writing college professor who insisted on typing all of her novels on an old typewriter.

But now here comes Julian Assange to rock my world, as always.  Use a condom, Julian!  Heh…sorry about that.  It turns out (and it comes as no big surprise) that our iPhone conversations are being intercepted, our Web surfing is under surveillance.  Leading me to the scary question…especially as an Internet addict…what if one day I am forced to disconnect?

I’ve been fortunate to grow up with parents who participated in a computer-free protest movement back in Poland.  These are the techniques which an American resistance may have to use in some bleak future world.  Illicit pamphlets on illegal printing presses.  Scattering paper leaflets.  Manifestoes on walls.  Good old word of mouth.

Yes, all these are far less quick and efficient methods of communication than my posting this blog right now to a theoretically unlimited audience.  We’ve all seen the social networking potential of the Arab Spring.  But what happens when the online system is controlled by the government we oppose?  What if we can’t use it to resist, precisely because the system is used to monitor our resistance?

If nothing else, I can envision a time when I will once again have to confine my thoughts and opinions to the pages of my private notebook, where they can’t be read, instead of putting them here on my blog.   I hope that day never comes.  But I’m keeping a blank page of paper at my bedside, just in case.