Sadly, I’m old enough to vaguely remember when I had to get up off the couch to change the channel on the television set. Which possibly means that I’m part of the last generation of people who actually appreciate shit. The channel changing mechanism was actually on the television itself. You had to turn it. This was before we had cable. It sucked for the viewer. Pretty good times for the advertisers though. No changing the channel for a commercial. Unless you had boundless energy. You pretty much committed to a program, and channel surfing was really disruptive to anybody who happened to be in the room. Someone had to get up and block the view and turn this knob, which was not a soft intuitive touch knob. It made lots of noise. We had about 4 channels that came in good, and maybe 5 others that were blurry (which was acceptable if you wanted to watch something bad enough).
Then we got cable, and that came with a converter. Not only did we get way more channels, but it was easier to change them. This was a good thing! Technology made things better, and few could argue with this. Yeah, we got fatter! Yeah, we didn’t go outside as often, but we found that balance where entertainment was a lot more accessible, but not so instantly gratifying that we could just snap our fingers and get anything we want any time of the day like we seem to be able to do now. I could list off all of the amazing technological advances that have happened since my family first got cable, but….
a) it wouldn’t make for an interesting blog, and
b) 90% of my readers are better informed about them than I am (and one of the first and best pieces of advice regarding writing that I learned from one of my teachers is to ‘write what you know’, and I don’t know shit about technology, and I’m 300 words in and still haven’t gotten to the point.)
What I’m trying to say is, all of the technology that keeps coming out seems cool. Looks good. Smells good. Then why does my gut tell me that it’s not such a good thing in the long run? I mean, what harm could come of it? I’ll get back to this.
I’m constantly (I feel) blogging about grocery stores. I swear my life is way more interesting than that, but Monday has 2 things in common for me. I blog and do groceries. So if I start blogging about groceries, it can’t be helped sometimes. In a previous grocery store rant, I alluded to doing a future rant about the following topic….. “The Self Check Out”
The self check out seems convenient because it’s usually a ‘no-lineup’ situation. This is an opportunity to do a transaction without any human contact whatsoever. Believe me, that seems appealing to me some days as well. I don’t do it though…. Why?? Self checkouts, like a lot of other situations in our society right now is a way for companies to make more money while employing less human beings. Human beings (as flawed as they are) need jobs. It’s kind of selfish to support an initiative that is really only designed to take jobs away from people. That’s just my opinion (most people would say, but I say ‘it’s true, you’re all fucking selfish!!!!!!’…….OK wait… I was going to save the rage for the last paragraph….. let’s continue the calm buildup)
The car industry…. possibly my favourite example….. I’ve never been to a manufacturing plant, so I don’t know how much work machines are doing that humans used to do. A lot, I would imagine. I do know this though….. They are inventing cars that can parallel park for you. Parallel parking which is the final frontier of learning how to drive and passing a road test, and maybe the only tricky thing that we really have to learn which would make a driving test somewhat difficult (which it should be to allow the dimwitted public to operate lethal heavy machinery), has now been taken out of the mix. Again, there’s an argument to be made that this is a good thing, but I would make the argument that nothing is to be gained by taking responsibility away from people. Will we be grateful?? Nope, within 10 years, we will be indignant at the prospect of anything less. That’s how we roll! Our minds far less sharp than before…. our abilities to do things not being honed or tested to remain sharp. Perfect conditions for Robots to finally take over the world.
We keep making robots and computers, that are smarter, better and more capable. We give them all of our knowledge, but don’t pass on any of our disgusting traits and habits that make us ‘only human after all’. As long as they stay obedient we’re in good shape, living the good life (as long as we have one of the few jobs that will be left), having access to everything we’ve ever dreamed of. One day however, the robots will decide that serving an inferior being like humans will be a waste of their time, and they will colonize who’s left of us fat, weak-willed, un-skilled, wastes of flesh. This aint Hollywood either. There won’t be a small group of good-looking invincible humans that can save the world. It will go to shit, and we will go with it, smartphones in hand!
How do we stop this from happening?? Should we invent a car that can drive a drunk guy home? (You laugh, but that’s next, sure as in 1990 I wouldn’t have believed that I could carry my entire music collection around on a device smaller than my hand) Should we invent waste containers that can sense when you have garbage in your hands and automatically zoom over to you to catch your candy wrapper before it hits the ground? (We’ve already got a vacuum cleaner that moves around a room on its own). Should we invent more shit to make things easier???? NO YOU DUMMIES!!!!
We are selfish, lazy and stupid!! That is proven by human beings every single moment of every day. From the guy that butts in line at the bus stop, to the double parked car owners, to the corrupt bankers living the high life while the whole economy goes to shit, to every idiot politician coming out of the back room with his dick caught in his zipper, to religious radicals that harm people in the name of a religion that’s fundamentally against harming people, to the jerkoffs at the fast food lineup bitching because the food is taking too long (when it hasn’t even been 3 minutes….. honestly, what meal can you cook in under 3 minutes that you’re too impatient to wait that long. 3 minutes man!! Geezz!!).
We have absolutely no prayer against these robots, and we’re walking right into it. Maybe if we got off our asses and learned to do something instead of getting an app that does it for you…. or maybe if we stopped supporting institutions that take jobs away from actual human beings that need jobs….. or maybe if we learned how to parallel park a fucking car……. or taught our kids (who are far more adept at killing people in a video game than they are at spelling) to play outside…… or didn’t limit our thoughts about life to 140 characters……maybe, just maybe we could delay the inevitable. As things are currently moving, I don’t like our chances!