You know, for the longest time sci-fi was full of crazy things that could happen in the future. Things like machines taking over the world. With all due respect to HAL, puh-lease! As if that could ever happen.
Here’s the thing though; have you looked around lately? When you get in your car each day, is there not a little squawking box telling you where to go? I know that you wouldn’t execute a decision until you check in with Siri and get her “opinion.” I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the country who has neither GPS nor an iPhone. Emotionally, I’m just not prepared.
Caller ID has been around for a long time; in fact my phone speaks up and tells me who’s calling and flashes the name and number on my TV screen. It seems so natural now, but if someone told me in 1980 that my phone would someday tell me who’s calling…well, I’d assume they were also getting messages from the CIA through an aluminum foil hat. Actually, back then it was probably the KGB that worried me more.
Yikes. Digression is my middle name. Possibly my first name. I mean when you really think about it digression is the way we…
Ooops! Back to the topic at hand. When was the last time someone said “my computer won’t let me” and you nodded your head knowingly? Yep, those darn machines. What can we do? I mean if it won’t let you, it won’t let you. Smart phones, on the other hand, “let” you do anything. Last year I was working the hospitality booth at the ALA conference and we had a “guess how many gumballs” contest. Someone tried to cheat using a guess-how-many-gumballs app. Yep, there really is an app for that.
Even Tivo, which is absolute perfection, not to mention the closest I’ve ever come to a spiritual experience, tracks what I like to watch and suggests that I record every show on Bravo, twice. For all I know, one day Tivo is going to decide my brain is turning to mush and only record shows on PBS. If it happens, it happens—what power do I have?
While technically I can still browse the shelves of a library or visit one of the three book stores left on this continent, the reality is that Amazon tells me what I like to read, saving me from all that mind-numbing decision-making.
I’m just relieved that we are all sophisticated enough to put this silly sci-fi stuff to rest. Machines telling us what to do? No way.