Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let's hasten our rapid decline!

So have you ever been ordering at Starbucks and wished that you could, you know, avoid speaking to another human being? Well, problem: solved.
"Yeah, I'm going to need 7 needlessly complicated and time consuming
drinks for me and my entire office as well as several paninis which will
all need to be warmed up. Oh, and I'll be paying entirely in nickels."
-The person in front of me in line at 
Starbucks, every goddamn time
Above: ancient people standing
around, talking, circa 3500 B.C.E.
Starbucks, apparently in an effort to further cement their reputation as one of the accelerating factors of our civilization's rapid decline (full disclosure: I go there all the time. I'm part of the problem, and I'm at peace with it), is introducing an app which will allow you to order on your smartphone. Now, instead of having to communicate with another person like a primitive, you can order online, slouch into the store, grab your coffee and go before you even feel the death stares of the fifteen or twenty people you just bypassed in line.

"Lines. Am I right?"
Look, believe it or not, this isn't a rant about how we're turing into a bunch of glassy-eyed zombies poking at our smartphones in public instead of interacting with one another, it really it isn't. If anything, starring (or even pretending to stare) at Facebook while standing around waiting for my coffee is a great way to avoid accidentally making eye contact with strangers. Eye contact is proven to lead to small talk, and no one wants that. My issue rather, is the stunning vulnerability our increasing dependence on smartphones has left us with.

"Searching for: 'Truck-U, you
stupid. Peace of ship phone.'"
While the machines might eventually attain sentience and wipe us out in nuclear hellstorm, that day is some time off. Want proof? Try asking Siri a simple goddamn question. Scarlett Johansson in Her, she is not. That said, I don't know about you, but I can't remember a single telephone number for anyone I met after 2004, I'll check a weather app before looking out the window and I haven't owned a watch since the 90's.

Yeah, that guy.
I'm bloody helpless without it. Sure, we have the total sum of human knowledge at our fingertips at all times, but what if we loose our phone? Or a bad update bricks it? Not only will we be unable to consult IMDB about that actor that was in that thing, you know, the guy? Not only that but we'll be unable to order a Pumpkinspice Latté as the part of the brain responsible for remembering complex drink orders will have atrophied.

I'm all for the future, wherever it takes us. We could all end up as brains in giant robot bodies or as a hive mind of cyborgs, and I'd be cool with it. But let's not, I repeat not, get so reliant on our goddamn cellphones that we can't function without them.
"Shit, what was his name? He was in Guardians of the Galaxy. James 'C' something,
maybe Raleigh? O'Reilly? James O'Reilly? Is that it? Damnit, I wish IMDB was working..."

-Third of Four, not able to let this go

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