A long time ago our science fiction was delivered along with newspapers and milk bottles. The stories were a million miles away from reality, nothing more than worrisome little drama plays the knowledge of which made people look hip at cocktail parties.
Fiction ain’t what it used to be.
Watching a calculator on steroids named Watson made me yearn for the days I wasn’t even around to enjoy. Back when the rotary phone was space aged shit. Hell, it made me yearn for a time much more recent when I used to believe Ken Jennings was a robot. Not since I dated a girl who did theater and wore makeup twenty hours out of the day have I been this scared about what tomorrow may bring.
Watson isn’t human, but it isn’t a vacuum cleaner either. It sounds like a cross between Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the automated jerk-off who always seems to screw up my Fandango order. Chilling as that is, what’s worse is the thing Watson can do that no inanimate object this side of Ozzie Osborne can do. I watched the thing reason.
Of course, we never quite get it when the predictions of dead generations come to fruition. This is because we’re so damned literal with our inventory. We fail to recognize Big Brother despite the fact our lives are under surveillance most everywhere we go. We’re expecting the black and white apparatus, we’re expecting Garibaldi. Hey, as long as we can still purchase sports cars and watch porn, everything’s cool.
But Big Brother’s mission was a pervasive one. To crawl and seep through the fog of our every day chatter and to win the war through epic battles fought in miniature.
Skynet hasn’t taken over . . . The Firemen that Bradbury wrote about aren’t receiving big fat federal bonus money to burn books . . .
It’s not chic to believe in a higher power or world peace any longer. But we’re all about the blind faith of the ghosts in the machines we need in order to survive past next Tuesday. It’s perfectly acceptable to be led along by the artificial intelligence because the kids at IBM wear Old Navy and dig sashimi, just like us. They’re not Frankenstein’s modern day solution.
But really. How many times have you ended a disagreement by saying “I’ll Google it!”. Wanna know what your squeeze is up to? Text them. Did your best friend pop the question? Check your Facebook wall. Not sure where you’re going? GPS the trip. Is it true there are still tickets available when the Phillies come to town? Log on and check it out and if so, gobble up some tickets safely and securely. Then Twitter your friends, email your wife, check the weather and Visa yourself a “Cliff Lee Sucks!” shirt while you’re at it.
Life is easier. Which is all that ever has to matter in the present day, where convenience always rules . . . even over the fates. We never mind the fact that we are crumbs to the bigness of things. We can be lost, stolen, changed by anyone other than ourselves at any time with zero hour coming at the touch of a button. That doesn’t feel like empowerment to me.
We’re zombie bloodhounds when it comes to next gen stuff and the farther along we go, the more interesting, expansive and plugged in we assume ourselves to be when it very well might be the opposite. Who can know?
Some day, we’re not going to laugh about this.
Drink of the morning- Vienna Sumatra Mandheling from the Porto Rico Importing Company.