Digital screams

What holds new advance in technology back is not the pace of developments. Is it then the fact that people are generallyconservative by nature? Or is it instead the inability of the marketplace to absorb new products fast enough?There is always a time lag between new inventions and discoveries being made and the release of any related technology into the public domain. Like aircraft hovering to land at a busy airport, new products are frequently held in abeyance while the marketplace is emptied of the last ‘latest’ gadget. Meanwhile the general population are drip-fed information about what is to come. In this way, the public appetite for new products is constantly being whetted.People blind faith in any new technological device prevent them from thinking through the implications of what is happening. Fewer and fewer people seem to have any serious misgivings about mankind’s promethean march to some great dystopia. Ant lurking dangers are brushed aside as are the diminishing band of dissenters.People are oblivious of the creeping advance of robots into their lives. Operations are being performed with voice operated robots, not only giving surgeons an extra pair of safe hands, but also allowing range of procedures to be carried out anywhere in the world by computer. Apart from surgery voice-operated devices are also being introduced into cars. Drivers will soon be able to bark at mobile-phone like gadgets capable of supplying them with all the information they need from weather forecasts to stoke market quotation. Who needs friends?Experiments have already been carried out on interesting micro-chips under the human skin so that people can be monitored at any time. Tagging is currently in use in some areas for criminals in the community. And data-tagging is being used for technical equipment like expensive motorbike parts and also for tracing lost dogs. Details about using micro-chips in human have already been flagged in the press. And given the right circumstances, the procedure will be introduced with barely a whimper. Micro-chip implants might perhaps become the passport of the future.

Without out knowing it , you are already being monitored without the slightest hint to protest. The technology in you mobile phones allows you to be located. It is ironic that when mobile phone were first introduced they were perceived as status symbols. But now they are viewed as  symbols to slavery as bosses can monitor their work-force when they are out on the job. Video cameras in public places are now so wide-spread that it is possible to trace of your life everywhere.

As we naively come to accept the role of machines they are appearing n roles that were exclusive the preserve of humans Robots in bars already exist; soon they will replace hosts on chat-shows, and people as shop assistants or drivers and humans in many other professions. No? do you take money from a teller at your bank or do you receive it from a robot built into a wall?

And much to the chagrin of traditionalists toys have now come on the market which teach children to speak and which children can then communicate with. The novelty apart, this is a rather sinister turn of events. It is bad enough for adults to talk to cars and computers. But this development is much more disturbing. Children may develop certain linguistic skills from the robotic toy, but will lose out on the necessary social and emotion interaction. Social de-skilling of this kind will lead to untold social problems.

Yet, not all the developments are based are bad. The advances taking place in medicine, herald a new dawn for the human race. Disease will become an irritation rather than the bane it is now. Humans will replace body-parts as they wear out, with specially grown prostheses or electronic parts, whatever is in vogue at the time. Certain disease which required huge resources and expenditure will be treated by gene therapy. Paralysis will become a thing of the past. By 2020, the life expectancy for new babies will be well over 100 years and more. Recently, the ‘immortality’ gene was located; so soon the world may be full of Methuselah’s.

A nightmare scenario perhaps. Not half as nightmarish as the future possibility of downloading the human mind before the body dies. But I for one do not wish to live out eternity as some sort of digital collectable item. Against the hum of machines who will hear my screams? Or yours?


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