Saturday, February 27, 2021

Kvelve's Comments: How much technology is too much?

| November 25, 2020 12:00 AM

Wow! I thought it may have been a dream from the 1960s, but it was a commercial on the boob tube and it has caused me to ponder.

Yup, ponder. As in wonder what if, could that be, is this a sign of the future?

I’m talking about the growing influence of and proliferation therein of the electronic devices that are beginning to do anything you ask.

Hey Allie (clever disguise to protect one from product libel, eh?), what time is it? What’s the temperature out today? Turn on the hall light and set the thermostat at 72.

You know what I’m talking about, right? These are gadgets that will never knowingly make it into a place where I reside.

They have already been implicated in court cases. “I call on Allie to replay what she heard that night before the explosion.”

Startled defendant, “Damn, she heard that and remembered it?”

Allie: (in that kinda computerized phone tree dialect), I heard, “you really think that stick of dynamite won’t explode underwater Jake? Let’s try it in the fish tank.”

Now I’ve railed about computers and artificial intelligence and the like before in this space. But this one hit home.

And not just because I would be afraid that doing something stupid and talking about it out loud, a common practice in my bachelor solitude, would be processed, translated and put into play.

“Damn chair leg, sticking out here in the middle of the night when I just need to pee! This thing needs to be chopped into matchsticks!”

(Sound of metal shredding wood preceded by “all right.”

I harken back years ago to a song by Jager and Evans entitled 2525. In that classic tune from the late '60s, the duo sings about automated life and the perils it could bring to our society.

Particularly chilling to me is the lyrics that say, “In the year 5555, your arms are hanging limp at your sides, your legs got nothing to do, some machine’s doing it for you…”

That worried me even back then.

Far-fetched? Possibly. Unwarranted worry? Quite likely, but then again I’m pretty sure in a previous life I was a Hebrew grandmother named Sadie who was worried about everything.

The song continued on to conclude that 10,000 years from now if God is coming he will have come by then, possibly looked around and shook His head and went elsewhere.

Do we really need, unless there is paralysis involved, a machine to turn on a light or set a thermostat? I don’t live in a place as big as the Taj Mahal, but I can tell you it ain’t that far from one side of my living room to the other and I have the capability to turn on the light and set the thermostat in one short stroll.

I can see folks who think these devices reminding them of everything would help reduce the “senior moments” I seem to be experiencing more and more. But everyone I talk with, even many way younger than me, tell similar tales of “spacing out” on the way down the hall.

Imagine if Allie decided, thanks to software upgrades and artificial intelligence (an oxymoron if ever there was one), decides this circuitry gal needs to learn how to nag.

That voice alone would be more than I could stand.

“Chuck, did you remember to empty the dishwasher? Should you really be having another Fig Newton this close to bed time? “


“What was that Chuck, that phrase does not register?”

Nope, none of that for me. Call me old fashioned and beat me with a nerf whip, but that isn’t going to be in my future.

Well, if there could be a host of limitations and phrases specific to helping me in my life, I could possibly reconsider.

“Hey Allie, bring me a beer.”

Now we’re talking, I gave up trying to train a dog to do that years ago.

In the year, 3535, ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie, everything you think do and say, is in the pill you took today….

And if I may close by quoting another song from years ago by Rare Earth….”Hey Big Brother (see Google, Facebook and Twitter) as soon as you arrive, you better get in touch with the people big brother and kind them on your side, keep them satisfied…”

Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Mineral Independent and Clark Fork Valley Press. Look for his “Kvelve’s Comments” column weekly.