Today, while running some errands downtown I saw a lady with some big pink accessory tucked over her ear. It was a "communications device" attached to the side of her head. The future has arrived. And it looks dorky.
Ok, I've seen them before and, don't get me wrong, there's some pretty cool technological achievements, but this isn't one of them. How much "convenience" do you need and how "connected" do you need to be that you can't carry a GPS, MP3, photo-taking, video playing camera phone, etc., in your pocket or purse, but need to have it affixed to your head?
It's the start of the cyborg age, where people start permanently affixing technology to their bodies. Unlike pacemakers and other lifesaving technologies, how long will it be before people start implanting communications devices within their bodies or start choosing to have amputations so they can replace their fleshy limbs with robotic appendages?
The technology is close. Researchers have developed a heat- and pressure-sensitive "smart fabrics" that can send messages about where the fabric is being touched, how hard it's being touched, and the temperature of what's touching it. Its has even been touted for use on the Canadarm.
Several years ago, researchers succeeded in wiring a monkey's brain to a prosthetic robotic arm. In a fairly short amount of time, the monkey was able to manipulate the new arm.
This will be great news for people who have lost limbs in war and accidents, but we can bet it won't be long before men and women, unsatisfied with what they've already got, will start electing to have their own limbs removed and replaced for designer limbs. And that's when the cyborg age will be upon us.
Five pre-viewed DVDs for $25 was something I thought I would check out. Upon closer inspection, the sign said it was only applicable for pre-viewed DVDs for $9.99 and under. Fair 'nuff. Of course, there weren't many of those. At least not many that looked very good.
I noticed a box full of movies without prices on them and asked the clerk how much they were. "$9.99". I perused the box and took two so I had a set of five.
I stolled up to the counter and handed them to the clerk. He said, "These ones don't apply to the sale."
"But they're $9.99 just like these ones."
What a weird sale, I thought. I began to wonder if the sign that said "Guaranteed Pre-viewed", with the "guaranteed" in very small letters meant that the store was guaranteeing that the movies were pre-viewed, not that they were guaranteed to work.
I pushed the movies aside and bought one for $7.99. It wasn't bad.
While on a futile hunt for diaper liners for cloth diapers, I had a chance to survey the aisles full of diapers and diaper products. One company offers a brand called "Little Swimmers". While still baby related, for some reason I think of "little swimmers" as something else.
When I first moved to Whitehorse from Whistler in 1998, there were no mobile phones. Perhaps it was the circles I socialized in, but the gadgets were something to be made fun of, not embraced.
Fast forward 8 years and downtown Whitehorse is jam-packed with teenagers and regular folk gabbing away on their mobiles. It's a substantial societal shift for the capital city; who knows what will happen when Whitehorse actually gets support for WiMAX and other wireless tech.
Technology changes quickly and it changes people quickly. I think we've only touched the tip of the iceberg as far as substantial societal shifts are concerned.
I can't refute the usefulness of mobile phones, especially in the north (where you can actually get service). I was up on Grey Mountain with a friend and it was thanks to his mobile phone that I found out my wife had gone into labour. I even admit that I had my own once, but decided it just wasn't for me. Especially if it was going to be stuck to the side of my head. (Love that wireless Internet, though!)
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