Vorsprung durch Technik

"red is the new blue"...das technik is the new way of life

“red is the new blue”…das technik is the new life

How automated are our lives today?
Isn’t it amazing?
We can just sit and do nothing. Well, not nothing – consume.
We can consume our ready and available for consumption things because we don’t have all the distraction of manual work and preparations. Because everything is ready and automatically pre- pre- prepared for us.

Take cars.

We have cars that navigate and drive on their own.
They have two pedals only – stop and speed – two pedals!
I wonder why they even bothered to put those two.
Just so we have something to occupy our feet with.
Some cars park on their own.
And we sit and have coffee meanwhile. We pick up our coffee mugs, we slurp, and then we put the mugs back in their special designated mug holders that are part of the car interior. We’re so fascinated with the mug holders that even though the coffee is already cold and tasteless we keep putting the mug up and down just for the fun of experiencing our super cool special mug holder. Because our cars have mug holders nowadays! Well, somebody has to hold our mugs, while we drive, right?
Although, I wonder why they didn’t just put a whole dinner table in there?
A mug holder is a bit of a let down when you think of it.
How about my sandwich and my chips?
Where do I place those? And my dessert bar?
What if something gets stuck between my teeth?
Where do I take floss from, now that the radio told me I should floss all the time?

And now when I think of the pedals, too, I’d say get rid of them, too.
If we have the autopilot why the pedals?
We’ll save on space for the dining table and besides, we need something to control the kids in the backseat.
I’d say cars should add something like an auto Nanny McPhee.
She could be just an electronic sensor that sends electroshocks to those butts that fidget too much.
And for the absolute terrors, the Nanny sensor can just slit the car seats open and transport the kids into the boot for the remaining drive.

Our cars today have everything (minus Ms. McPhee).
They have telephone and tablet chargers, TV screens, buttons for this, buttons for that, lower flood lights, upper spot lights, rear-view mirrors, back mirrors, mirrors to see ourselves, a heating system for our upper body, a heating system for our lower body, a heating system for our feet (because they are lower than our lower body), automated seat massagers, cooling systems in our seats, in case we begin to sweat from all the upper body and midriff heating system.
Our cars don’t require any human participation whatsoever, except for sitting.
No wonder there are so many road accidents.
People get so bored that they sleep on the steering wheel.
It can’t be anything else.


We have pre-cooked, pre-packed, and pre-paired (as in, someone has selected the ingredients for us) meals.
We don’t need to think what we want to combine with what.
We don’t need to think of how to cook something.
But most of all, we don’t have to worry about packing our food whatsoever!
Isn’t that fantastic!
It’s all there – a big lump of nutrition – packed in a beautiful plastic container that’s microwavable, recyclable, and reusable – a solid polymeric in the trendiest of colours.
Hail to technology!
We have spring peas in December, cherries in February.
We have corn all year ’round.
Why? Because we’ve automated the process of everything and now we don’t have seasonal fruit and vegetables anymore.
You can eat watermelon in Christmas all you want!

Don’t get me started on the animal meat (yes, because there is another meat, a vegetarian one!).
We’ve excelled completely with the animal produce.
Now that we’ve taught cows to eat corn, the meat industry is just roaring with success. Everything is one big production line – the chicken breasts are coming as big as life saving vests (yes, those yellow ones!).
I mean, when I buy chicken breast from the big chain store and I turn to look at my own breasts, I wonder how big is the rest of that chicken’s body?! (And I’m still breastfeeding, so mine aren’t broiler size.)
What do the automated chicken farms do to produce those humongous creatures that give us such a great value deal, such huge breasts?
See what I’m saying? Vorsprung durch Technik!

This is just so wonderful that I am beginning to cry.
They plan to bring robots to school to teach our children. Yes, yes, and hail yes.
Ginevra Castellano, research fellow at Birmingham University’s school of electronic, electrical and computer engineering and the leader of a project which aims to develop a robot that will be able to “assess sense when one of its pupils is upset or struggling to cope. It would then provide the appropriate comfort and support” as the London Times last Sunday reported.

The article went further and so did my tears of joy:
“The personal, empathetic and human qualities that make a good teacher would first be analysed before being programmed into the robot. The robot would gather information via sensors and cameras, allowing it to recognise emotions using clues such as the child’s facial expressions and body language, to cross-reference against its database.”

It’ll be fantastic, if someone finally manages to do their job right in our schools.
Because, if human beings are incapable of ‘sensoring’ our children’s emotions and body language, well someone has to.
We need to assess the emotions before we begin the maths class.

This is all strike me in the heart fantastic, but I still have one question: what if the robot’s database is limited and doesn’t recognise every emotion?
Will it crack?
Will it act based on the closest body language variable available on its database?
For instance, say the student refuses to answer how much 2 + 2 is.
Will the robot bring in a big cage with a rat in it and stick the student’s head into the cage until the kid gives the right answer, which is, of course, 5, according to the Big guy who has programmed the robot?
I’m sure the Big guys and their scientists will figure it out.
We are in dire need of robots in our schooling system, that’s what we’re in dire need of.

First, there was the manual textile artistry that required heavy lifting from some poor, old chap. But when, finally, the automated machines came, he was free of all the heavy lifting.
Fine, the guy became jobless and likely – joined the Luddites – but they won’t remember him as an average family man who protested against losing his job.
They’ll just remember him as a stubborn anti-development, anti-industrialization lunatic.

I wonder if WALL-E had a message.
These fat dudes that were being driven around and fed smoothies and rubbish commercial all the time weren’t so much fun to watch. They weren’t so much fun to watch because they resembled, in an inkling, of something close to home. No, not my neighbours, us, in general, the Western society, in the big cities. Except for the Amish, of course. But those guys have some other weird stuff going on.

I wonder whether we relieve our minds and hands and eyes and legs of all this manual work like driving, reading text, and growing crops the slow way, is actually a good thing or a bad thing.

If, by automating and speeding up the process of everything that we want, need and have to have in our lives, we save on time, what exactly will we use that time on?

Moreover, will we/our kids be able to use all this free time to learning other skills, now that we don’t require the driving skills anymore? An answer to that question I don’t have but something echoes in my head. An echo of a saying that the devil finds work for the idle hands to do.

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