Saturday, February 16, 2008

Automation Nation

I would like to know who decided that humans are completely lazy and don't need human contact. I recently returned from some traveling and am stunned at the automation that is now forced upon us everywhere we turn. As you drive to your destination, you can zoom through toll booths if you have the EZ Pass or something similar. When you arrive at the airport, you swipe your credit card to receive your boarding pass. An agent only helps if you are too dumb to know how to do this. If you have personal needs to attend to, you head for the airport bathroom. Of course, you don't have to exert any energy because you can take a moving walkway right up to the door. After you lock your stall, you can push a button and the "sani-seal" will encircle your toilet seat. If you flinch, or stand to pull up your britches, the toilet will automatically flush. (Very startling indeed if it happens while you are still seated.) When you go to wash your hands, you wave your hand under a spout for soap. Then you wave your hand under another spout for water, which is exactly the right temperature and runs for the appropriate amount of time. Then you wave your hand under a paper towel dispenser and the proper amount of absorbent material pops out. You do have to throw it away on your own. (Hotels also have these fully automated bathrooms available to the public.) If you are lucky, you won't have to open many doors on your own because the good old electronic eye anticipates you coming and wallah! The door slides open. If you need any items at a big-box store, you can go through the self-checkout aisles and avoid the bag boys. There are vending machines now for everything imaginable -- even IPods! Be careful, people, or we're going to turn into a species of idiots.
PS -- For those of you in my era, you'll recognize the picture of Rosie from the Jetsons.

No comments: