Being Modern

I have a Hive. It’s an app thingy attached to a box that sits in the hall and means I can control the heating and hot water remotely. It’s neat and easy to use. I’m pretty taken with it. The man who came to instal it told me there were other features, which is where I began to wonder what slippery slope I was on.

‘It’ll do your kettle, too.’

‘Kettle?’

‘When you’re out and want the kettle on you can do that from the app.’

‘Like a teasmade?’

‘Huh?’

Ok, a generational chasm just appeared in our conversation which I skipped over. ‘You could programme the machine to wake you up with a pot of tea.’

‘I suppose.’ He sounded disappointed that his gizmo wasn’t new but I think we both knew this was different. Indeed there was a scare not that long ago when intelligent kettles and fridges were being hacked and allowing access to people’s home networks, here. It was then I first heard about the concept of the intelligent fridge, which if it’s passed you by, is a fridge that can warn you or indeed your grocery provider that you are low on, say, butter or kale and have a packet dispatched forthwith.

The articles make it clear things aren’t yet perfect but it’s the way things are going. Soon you won’t have a choice. Once even a radio was an extra on a car; now integrated stadium sound is standard. You had four programmes on a washing machine, now the possibilities are greater than on a Rubik Cube.

Which is fine, so far as it goes because these things are quantitative. So far. It’s not like we are yet close to the singularity, the point where our technological advances and development of super intelligent beings and computers means that what we create is more intelligent that what biology creates – a scary prospect but a real one in this fast moving world.

But as a staging post on this curve, I am not looking forward to the point when smart machines enter a qualitative phase: the point where my fridge bins the yogurt because it is past the sell-by date; the wardrobe won’t let me take out the shirt I want because it really does not go with those trousers; the satnav insists I stop and ask that man if it is right that I should take the small road on my left because it just knows it is a better route. It’s not even the point when my computer tells me not to bother continuing what I’m writing because, frankly, it’s boring and I can do better.

It’s not because of some technological fear that I Β worry about judgemental machines being invented; no, it’s because I really only want to have one wife…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in humour, miscellany, philosophy, thought piece and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Being Modern

  1. floridaborne says:

    Reminds me of being in a car where it says, “You are too close to the car in front of you,” or beeps to tell you that you”ve forgotten your seat belt (My son had a car that wouldn’t go over 15mph if it detected a body in the seat that wasn’t belted). My kids learned to drive stick-shift and parallel park. They said it came in handy many times in their lives. Yet parallel parking is no longer part of passing a driving test.

    What will keep our minds active when our homes and cars do everything for us? Ah…I know! Sly machines will have us hooked on video games and drain our life force from us while we play them. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stevetanham says:

    Chuckled, loudly… then had to read it out to my wife because she wanted to know what the belly-laugh was all about!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of the number of ‘new’ ideas in child care that turned out to be rehashes of what we did in the ’60s

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Geoff I was screaming wife wife but you got there in the end. Maybe because I am a wife , mother of sons and grandma to another male with yet another on the way!! That I was shouting at you. Oops I digress! When I started to read I got all excited and thought you were going to tell me about your Bees! I have an ecological and antibacterial fidge does that count! Nowadays with your hive you can turn on and off the washing machine,iron, Kettle,heating or the oven But you can load or on load the washer or do the ironing or even make the tea…A step back from the teasmaid I would say. As exciting as they are theses hives a wife,partner or significant or is better. I am not a luddite I do love technology. ..Okay waffle finish! πŸ˜‹

    Like

  5. willowdot21 says:

    For Fidge read Fridge, and for ” But you can load ect” read can’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ritu says:

    Ooooooh!!! But lol!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Geoff… now you’ve got me worried. πŸ˜‰
    “The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity)[1] is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.”…. This also gives me concern that we already have the Trumpularity. Superlies triggering runaway lie growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.
    Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Smith says:

    Oh, there was one of those in a holiday house we rented on Bute. The owners could set the heating etc from where they lived in somewhere warm like the Bahamas. Fortunately, we could override it and turn the heat up a bit.
    I certainly don’t want my fridge telling me to thrown out yoghurt or anythign else when it reaches it’s use by date – if it smells okay, it’s okay to eat. Except chicken. Don’t trust chicken after its use by date.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. trifflepudling says:

    Apparently most of us only ever use a small percentage of all the capabilities (or whatever) on our gizmos/devices. Reminds me of the racing bike I once owned. It had about 14 gears and I only ever used 4! Seemed perfectly adequate.
    Enjoyable read! I am looking forward to a getting-up machine, like the one in The Wrong Trousers but much more comfortable!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gordon759 says:

    Perfectly I have always worked on the principle that you should only bother with modern devices if they actually improve things. I am always a late adopter, waiting for other people to discover the problems and actually point out advantages of new devices. For example my mobile is not linked to the internet, I use it for talking to people and sending texts ( a useful device ). I will use the camera if I haven’t got a proper one and will never touch an ‘app’ if I can possibly help it.
    For you must remember that, to an archaeologist, the ‘modern’ period begins in 1485.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Oh,oh – does Mrs Tangental read your posts? Duck!!

    I’ve become attached to my new ultra-smart phone since it was gifted me at Christmas that I scarcely breathe without its consent….. It tells me how far I have walked – where I parked my car and how long it will take me to get back to it and what is the quickest route home. It appears to listen to my conversations for if I mention a place or thing it comes up with something appropriate next time I open the feed. It’s starting to scare me, but if I miss anything it double dings at me in a kind of demanding manner. And I definitely do not want a fridge interfering in my shopping and or food intake/poisoning rights!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jan says:

    So true! I’ve heard there are refrigerators that refuse to open if they decide you’re getting too fat but computers telling you that your writing sucks – well, that takes the cake. I’ll think I’ll pass on one of those gizmos.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Eileen says:

    Well……will the machines ever say…honestly, but tenderly, “You’re a dimwit, but you’re my dimwit. And I love you?”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. At this point, I’m confused. o_O I think I’ll latch onto Teagan’ response because i agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mick Canning says:

    When…you’re…out…and…want…the…kettle…on…What the f*ck? Is anybody, really, that lazy? Or am I just showing my age?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I do wonder why we have all these different settings on a washing machine and over 300 channels on the TV. Do we ever really use them or are the manufacturers just hoping that somebody will? As for the computer not letting us continue writing that post, that’s a ————–

    This is Hugh’s computer speaking Mr Le Pard. I cut him off before he ruined your blog post.
    My best wishes to you and all who come face to face with him on 10th June. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I had to read this twice. I was too tired to make sense of it last night but this morning, I laughed out loud. I love technology. And it scares the bejezzus out of me. Especially those gadgets like Alexis that listen to every word in your home and record it forever! Self driving cars I could look forward to if I could afford one as I’m getting more visually impaired quickly and soon won’t be able to do my own errands. I don’t want to click a button and have the grocery clerk shop for me and have it delivered. Half the fun is walking the aisles and seeing what’s new. So a car that can see what I don’t could prolong my independence. Things can be quite handy but they can also send you to the wrong place. No wife would ever send you to the wrong place.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have no idea what you’re talking about, Geoff…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sacha Black says:

    I hope that last line was a sexist slur…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I honestly thought you were writing a flash fiction piece here when I started reading. O_o

    Liked by 1 person

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