Systemic stupor by Trevor Plumbly

Manna from heaven

A recent news report from Canberra announced that some lucky Aussies could now get their groceries delivered by drone.

To add a bit of credence to the piece, they included an interview with a grateful mother, who seemed to regard this technological turd as a lifeline. I’d like to say my heart went out to the poor creature, but it didn’t; I find that she’s rather pathetic compared to the women who work at life, instead of sitting around and expecting it to arrive. Millions of women cope with families and careers without robotic assistance, a huge number making enormous contributions to human rights and the sciences against the tide of historic prejudice.

Why bother?

Julia Gillard, ex president of Australia

At first I was inclined to believe it was an Aussie thing; they get funny about women, sanctifying Kylie Minogue whilst putting Julia Gillard to the sword. But it’s not a gender issue, it’s a disease that’s affecting our ability to get off our collective arses and rejoin the human race. We bleat about the evils of cyber dependence, yet happily allow our kids unfettered access to devices to get the peace and quiet we used to be able to insist on. As a result, communication for them is largely by Instagram or text; mind you, we adults set a poor example, we’re too busy or too tired to speak on the phone these days. What the hell did we do with all those hours the ‘advances’ were supposed to save?

‘It’s the modern way’

Is the chorus I get whenever I raise the issue; quite frankly I thought such naive acceptance belonged in ‘bodice ripping’ literature. In a world where mental effort is becoming increasingly redundant, we need to constantly assess and temper these ‘advances’ to enhance our own standards, and educate our children, rather than adopt them wholesale via common usage. History alone should teach us that broad acceptance doesn’t bestow legitimacy.

Pandora’s app

Think I’m kidding? How about Google replacing research and memory function, on-line shopping replacing in-store conversation, computerised help-line services and cryptics in place of names? The danger is that AI could be given the capability to reject the value of emotional responses as being non-productive. I don’t know about you, but computerised intolerance scares the crap out of me. We need weaknesses, failure and fear within our make-up; they’re basic human traits. If you don’t think we need them, join the overworked Canberra Clone, press a couple of buttons and life won’t affect you at all.

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