How did the election divide my friends

In the parking lot, I heard such greetings between two old ladies and an old man. The man asked them how was their day. They had just attended a gathering to support Hillary and hopefully declared their favor of the candidate. “While I’m a Trump guy.” followed the man. “Then, we are not friends any more.” The two women entered in their car and drove away.

This dialogue amazed me, yet I still doubted about the irony or the joke in such a daily communication. I had never taken the political opinion into consideration when I make friends. First, it’s not easy to know others’ real opinion about a delicate issue. Second, in China we hardly debated on politics, which turned out to be pure chatting. Third, it’s easy to reach a consensus when we all complain about the government but not in support of a certain leader.

The new age comes where we are all connected in the social web, which makes the expression of our own beliefs easy and the others’ opinion transparent. By reading others’ comments and declarations, we constantly redefine the profile that they project in our mind. “I never know that she was so stupid!” “How extreme you are!””That’s a great deal of hatred!” “Never could I discuss with him any more.”

Although the recent presidential election didn’t concern directly me neither most of my friends, which was also a main reason that we discussed much more than an average U.S citizen in his surroundings, we all had the impression that many walls were being built up between us as our discussion went on with more and more disagreement. Some dialogue even became an accusation, a deception of trust, and a reason to end the friendship.

“Let’s hope another victory in France, with a true empowered woman!” declared one of my friend this morning. This made me so angry that I instantly block our communication. Another friend also cheered up by sharing some dirty jokes, which made me sick all morning. How could I believe that they are all actual teachers in university. They accused me of my elitism and my blindness of the reality, while I felt so humiliated by their arrogance and discrimination.

I don’t know whether our friendship will survive after this turmoil. To ensure the longevity of any relationship, we should never stand too close, because each individual has a natural defense of his basic needs including safety and self-esteem.

 

 

First concern in U.S.A

Even before coming to U.S.A, we knew that the public security here would be very different from our daily life in China. One can not deny that Shanghai is a very safe city, perhaps the safest big city in the world. People tend to take it for granted. You can wander there at midnight without any problem. Certainly there are more policemen in the street.

Here, we were constantly astonished at all the gun violence covered by the news. Although in China, we had heard a lot about gun tragedies, yet highlighted by several national TV chains,¬† we didn’t feel the real fear. But now, it became our first concern. My husband Peng checked different areas before renting a house. It was very important to know which area had more problems, especially in a city near the border. More information he got, more he became worried. When he noticed that the back door of our condo was just made of glass, he could not sleep at night. We moved a table to block the door and asked the home owner to install an iron-steel door outside.

We were constantly astonished with all the gun violence covered by the news. It seemed that gun violence was a normal here. But for us, it could never be normal. Obviously, it’s a vicious circle. Since more people are killed by gun shooting, more and more people desire to buy guns in the name of protecting themselves. I think Arizona is in a worse situation, because people here can carry guns even in their car. I’m a new driver and my husband was always furious about that. On road, when I did something wrong, he shouted at me and reminded me that I was likely to be shot, even in the presence of our daughter. “The road rage ! The road rage !” He could not control himself to be less dramatic.

Such kind of thoughts became a very common topic in our daily life. “Be nice”, asserts Peng, “you even don’t know whom you are talking to. One day, we happened to see our neighbor carrying a gun when he got out of his car. It’s normal, because he is a safe guard and works at night. He wears a guard costume. But we never had a long talk with him beside some greeting words. Every time when Claire made so much noise, laughter or crying, Peng could not forget to tell her that she might make our neighbor angry, because he needs to sleep at daytime. “He does carry a gun !!!” Our daughter got terrified at these words. Now even a four-year-old girl is conscious of this big danger around her and draws many superheros to protect the little kids.

Recently, there was a shooting at the parking of a big mall, where we used to go shopping at the weekend. But now, it got into the list of the places where my husband would never go again. The shooting in ULCA and the even worse one in Orlando made Peng desperate.

After all, we should live with the fear and limit the impact of our anxious on our daily life. I’m not a optimist, but sometimes I wish to be so naive to turn off all the news reports.

Fabulous but terryfing Artificial Intelligence

We cannot deny that we were peered and followed every minute we use internet, with PC or smart phone. It seems that someone is recording your interests and tries to make your life easier. For example, Claire likes to watch videos of toy play. We don’t need to search the same kind of video for her, because You Tube always suggests the right things. It knows also where we live and offers our town’s commercial.¬† Besides, Facebook¬† seems to know my actual situation and does everything to enlarge my social community. This morning, I was searching furniture at an online store, yet using my computer. But when I checked my account Facebook on my smartphone, the same online store appeared as commercial suggestion.I was annoyed as if traced.

The more important function that we use frequently is the real-time location. It’s easy to check out where to eat when we are in a new place. We can rely on others’ experience via Yelp. In meantime, our daily whereabouts is recorded, even when our phone isn’t connected to the internet.

We live in an amazing time. Now, computer can learn. Google even developed a self-driving car, which may be more reliable than human. Deep learning makes computer smarter and smarter.

Yes, the development of artificial intelligence is surprising and even unbelievable. Human can take good advantage of it, especially when it comes to question of the discovery of the universe. But, what is horrible is that we are not sure to control it. The immediate problem is that we cannot control the use of our personal information.

In my city, all road cameras are turned off after a vote of residents. But it’s impossible to vote for deleting all our traces in internet.