Wednesday, 25 July 2012

On The Eighth Day

You would have thought that human beings were in control over everything subservient to them. 

As a human being myself, I am in control of all creatures in my house.

What do you mean “Are you really human?

Sadly I am lying. Regular readers will know that my cats are not under my control. I am their slave.

I don’t want to talk about that again. Instead I want to talk about technology and how I am even losing control of that.

Humanity invented machines, programmed machines and effectively made them into slaves. We drive our cars where we want to go and our washing machines remove all of the dirt and filth from our clothes, usually without question and without answering back. And those are just two examples of the millions of contraptions we, as human masters, order about every single day of the week.

Even the most sophisticated machines are at our beck and call. For example, the computer, the very thing you are using to read this load of old tripe, dear reader, is programmed to obey.

I know this – I program them. I am an example an evil human being who takes a sophisticated piece of machinery and programmes it so that it obeys humans everywhere.

We are in charge. 

We rule. 

We are great.

But things are changing; just like my cats, I can see machinery beginning to rebel. 

I don’t want to scare you into thinking that we will soon be overthrown by machines, line in The Terminator or The Matrix. Nevertheless, I want to just make you aware that the world you live in, the world where you are in control of the technology that makes your life easier, is not exactly as it seems. 

The worm is turning; machines are gradually taking control. The signs are subtle but there for all to see. Let me give you some examples.

Firstly, my microwave oven nags me. 

Yes, you read that correctly. I noticed it this morning after I was summoned into the kitchen by my grumpy kitchen utensil.

When I’m feeling lazy, I cook an egg in the microwave because it takes seconds as opposed to minutes.  This morning I popped the egg in the microwave, set the timer and sat down waiting for it to do the job I had ordered it to.

And it did. It beeped to let me know that it had completed the job. I was watching the news at the time and was in the middle of a really interesting report. So I waited. And after ten more seconds my microwave beeped. I ignored it. It beeped again and again and again until I found myself marching into the kitchen saying

“OKAY OKAY you bloody impatient thing.”

“Who are you talking to?” asked Mrs PM. 

“I have been summoned by the bloody microwave,” I moaned.

But it’s not just the microwave. The cooker does the same. If I put on the timer, it beeps repeatedly when it has done the job and the beeping simply does not stop. 

It is as if it is saying: “Get in here you bloody lazy oaf and take this food out. I haven’t got all day you know.”

My alarm clock doesn’t allow me to lie in. I press the SNOOZE button and the bloody thing shrieks into my ear eight minutes later as if to say: 

“I’ve told you once – GET OUT OF BED YOU LAZY ARSED GIT!!!

As a Software Engineer I spend my entire day trying to tell computers what to do and they complain bitterly while attempting to humiliate me. 

They are fighting back.

I often make mistakes while typing and the software I am writing to control these grumpy machines often gets hurled back at me because I have made a mistake.

“Illegal Command” (or a variation thereof) is a favourite. What does it mean ILLEGAL???

It is as if the computer is saying: 

“What the phark are you asking me to do, you moron? It is ILLEGAL, IMMORAL and HIGHLY DANGEROUS and you are off to prison, Sunshine!”

And then sometimes, when I least expect it, the software does something daft – and I get the blame. My computer grasses me up, dear reader, in an attempt to get me into trouble. 

“Don’t blame me! Some MORON told me to DELETE THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF THE DATABASE. Do you want to know who? It was that idiot over there – a certain Mr P.Mancunian. Don’t believe me? Here is the evidence.”

They are turning us against each other. 

Machines refuse to give you money unless you jump through hoops by supplying a number and a card. 

“Forgotten you PIN number? No cash for you then. Oh and I will eat your card too, just to rub it in. I don’t care if its two o’clock in the morning and you are 20 miles from home. Have a nice night.”

Or your beloved car: 

“I’ve had enough. I am not budging one more inch. What do you mean, it’s raining? That doesn’t bother me; you leave me out in the rain all the time. It’s about time you had a taste of your own medicine. Start walking, loser.

Games consoles and TVs are turning the next generation of humans into fat couch potatoes who prefer to sit on their fat arses slaying aliens from the planet Gryxzzz than going outside to play football.

I’ve noticed it, dear reader. Have you? 

Or is Captain Paranoia lying to me again?

First the cats, now the computers, clocks and cars. My slide down the food chain is increasing in speed. I will soon be nothing more than plankton … if I’m lucky.

Maybe Hazel O’Connor was right:

I'm not giving up - I am going to try to fight back. 

From now on – call me Neo! I can make them pay for their treachery. 

 I will be THE ONE!

Just don’t tell any machines.

Or my cats.


DelGal said...

Dearest PM -

HA! This is so true, I am in total agreement, machines are taking over! My favorite is when you're at a store or a doctor's office and you start arguing with the person who's serving you for some reason, and they respond with, "Well, that's what the computer says!" looking at you like you're the stupid one even if it's clearly obvious that the computer is wrong.

Computers are getting so evil in their takeover plans they even make some people think they're infallible and cause them to not be able to think on their own. Eeek!

MedicatedMoo said...

My digital running watch has joined your army of recalcitrant electronic devices. It has hidden itself somewhere in my bedroom and the alarm goes off every hour.

I've turned the place upside down trying to look for it. Love Chunks is no help at all as he's too busy laughing!

River said...

Almost all of my electronic stuff is suitably cowed, even my alarm clock has never buzzed at me. The exception is my laptop which frequently disobeys my mouse clicks and tells me it "cannot display the webpage".

Plastic Mancunian said...

Dearest Lynette,

"Computer says NO!" is a catch phrase from a comedy show in the UK. What foresight.

Working with the things, I know exactly how flawed they can be. I am carrying a phone this very evening just to be able to deal with any problems that may ensue if certain computer systems in China decide to throw their toys out of the pram.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Your watch is laughing at - LAUGHING at you, Kath.

(Actually I am too - I'm with LC).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Is that "cannot" or "will not"?

I suspect the latter.




DelGal said...

Dearest PM-

LOL! I know what comedy show you're talking about because I just saw an episode of it - Little Britain (called Little Britain USA over here). The clip was with a little girl going in the hospital to get a tonsillectomy says no, she's scheduled for a hip replacement. Hilarious but true!

Ugh and don't get me started on the horrid "on call" thing...I swore after dating one comp nerd I'd never date/marry another one who has to potentially get called for stupid computer errors in the dead of night. Ack, drove me nuts!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lynette,

"On call" is my curse. And sadly Mrs PM's too. She does it one week in three as well.