If, as many suspect, we are spied on by our smartphones and electronic devices, the eavesdropper assigned to me, human or AI (artificial intelligence), probably gets bored out of his pumpkin and begs for a transfer. Unless they like to hear about Jesus, my family, other people’s problems, sports, and politics.
We may trade some privacy for a lot of convenience, but life without the gadgets to keep us connected and up to date is hard to imagine today.
However, it drives me a little crazy when I have a face-to-face conversation with someone about golfing, for example, and all of a sudden ads pop up on my Facebook page and other websites for golf clubs, golf shoes, and local golf courses. Almost everyone I know has had such an experience, and it’s definitely a little unsettling.
Sometimes, however, the AI “listeners” clearly miss the mark with their algorithmic, targeted advertising. This is the case with my Kindle, an e-reader that allows me to buy and store books online and read them on that one device.
Using a Kindle is convenient and easy, but one thing annoys me: when I turn it on to read every night, an advert for a new book always appears on the screen first. It’s a different ad each time, and I’m assuming Amazon will select these ads for me based on my reading history. But boy have you got it wrong lately?
Lately, the ads are almost always for romance novels with photos of ridiculously handsome men on the cover. It turns into a running joke when I show my husband my Kindle and say, “Get a load of tonight”. Seems to be a variation on the same theme night after night. In fact, it looks like the same guy on every cover, whose hair is tousled a little differently.
The latest ad was for a novel about a Russian oligarch called White Nights. This oligarch looks stunning on the cover. Have you ever seen a photo of a real Russian oligarch looking like a supermodel in your life? Not me.
Other titles (with subtitles) that have recently appeared on my Kindle screen include: “Temptation: Forbidden Romance Between a Billionaire Hermit and a Shy Student”; “Not a gentle giant: Stubborn giant. Single father. Beautiful small town protector. Is his heart big enough to love Miss Unlucky? ”; “A cowboy and his neighbor: best friends and neighbors shouldn’t kiss”; and “Hopeful Cowboy: This single cowboy dad isn’t looking for love, but can the ranch owner still bind his heart?”
What about all these cowboy novels anyway? Does my cyber spy think that owning a donkey will make me a rancher? I do not think so.
What is one of these books about? I’ve never read a romance novel in my life. Somebody shoots way off here.
However, I know someone who never misses the mark and who actually “knows my thoughts from afar”, “knows all my ways” and whose thoughts to me are “more numerous than the sand” (Psalm 139). I am so grateful that God has his eye on me.
When Hagar, the abandoned handmaid of Abraham and Sarah, was alone, hopeless and ready to die in the wilderness, God saved and comforted her, and she called him “El Roi,” the God who sees (Genesis 16: 13). .
Does that make you feel uncomfortable? If so, remember that God sees all we are, do and think, is gracious, compassionate, merciful, and loving. If God didn’t know all about us, His grace wouldn’t be so amazing.
I certainly don’t trust Amazon, Facebook or Google, but I am absolutely impressed that the God who knows me best really loves me the most.
Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!”. She can be reached at [email protected]