Adventures of Adulthood (I live, semi, on my own and deal with the Electronic Bureaucracy of the 21st Century.)

technology adulthood college

So, for this summer, I am working for the same GIS lab that employs me during the school year. As a part of living 5 hours from home, I am living in one of the dorms. It is like the school year but with one catch, we cook our own food. This is actually a good arrangement because it actually is more inexpensive for me to make my own dinners and bring my own lunch to work than it is to eat in the dining hall.[1] Because of this, I have to go to the store once a week to get food for the week. There is an ACME a few blocks or so down the street so it isn't that bad.

While I was at home, I lost my wallet. Right now I only have personal checks and my US passport for identification. So when it came time to pay, I wrote out a personal check. For security's sake and the fact that personal checks are a really insecure payment method they asked for a photo ID. When I tried to used my passport as a form of photo identification, I was told it wasn't acceptable because ACME's computer system only accepted state issued drivers licenses. To process the check, they needed to put in my ID number into their system. It took three levels of management for someone to realize that a form of identification that was minted by the federal government and is accepted by every other country was sufficient to prove I am who I say I am. I was able to take my groceries and walk back to my dorm room.

This sojourn into adult life made we wonder if we are in the future that science fiction writers warned us about. The general population is no longer the master of their machines. Instead, logic and reason are parted from because the computer says so. What does this say about our future? Will this trend extend to other areas of our lives?


[1] My costs come out to about $5.75 per day for food; a meal plan comes out to $16.78 per day or more.[]