Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick were almost spot on when they blended the book and vision into a screenplay for the movie, “2001 A Space Odyssey”! It was an epic sci-fi thriller that looked into the future.
Of course, we’re now at 2001+17.
In the movie, technology played a central role in the daily lives of the characters and to parallel that theme today, technology, too, plays a central and growing role in our daily lives today.
HAL in your pocket
It is hard to imagine that the vision of Clarke and Kubrick would come true, but it has.
Today, we have talking computers, known as digital assistants, that monitor us and respond to our questions and instructions. Interestingly enough, we have also found that these digital assistants will listen to and make a recording of everything we say.
We have GPS systems, in our car, on our smartphones, and on our watches, that keep track of where we are at all times, regardless of whether we activated them or not. Your smart watch will log your travel patterns, your location, heart rate, the distance you walk, when you stand, and your breathing, then tell you what you need to work on.
We have smart thermostats that will notify you when they have lost contact with the internet. Home will text you, instead of you phoning home!
And let us not forget that we have robot vacuums that come out 24-hours a day to clean up.
A word of caution on this one. You should consider deactivating the robot for a period of time if your domestic animal is ill.
Why? It's simple. If the critter barfs, you will quickly realize when you arrive home from a tough day at the office that your robo friend is not a very good mop … but excels at “finger painting.”
Overall, I’m amazed how what used to be considered nuisance tasks can now be handled by a device—leaving us to worry about more important things. When you sum up the small tasks that each of these devices are responsible for, it adds up to a very big deal.
For example, medical breakthroughs use 3-D technology for surgery that was not possible before. Remember the movie “Fantastic Voyage”?
Tales of the Unexpected
Then comes the dose of reality when we realize that these devices have their limits and do things that were not expected.
Events such as the digital assistant forwarding your private conversation to an individual on your contacts list; the aforementioned vacuum cleaner fiasco; or the auto-fill feature that places the wrong recipient on your text message.
(Too late, you sent it, and now you’ve got to eat it! Of course, this has never happened to you.)
With great power…
There is no doubt that smart technology can do stupid things. From the humorous to the embarrassing, it is, however, our 21st century reality … or maybe our 21st century reality really should be changed to our 21st century responsibility.
Taking a moment to think about the technology you are using may be the best time you ever spent.
Fiction? Not anymore!
Taking your technology decisions and their use lightly is not recommended. We must respect the technology we use. After all, even simple solutions that resolve easy tasks can produce unintended consequences and totally redefine on a nuclear scale the word OOPS!