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In other words, you aren’t necessary

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Diary entry, Feb. 16, 2020:

Dear Diary,

I checked my Facebook yesterday and discovered that I’m “in relationship” with Jane Morrison. How cool!!!!!! I called her yesterday and she said she’s totally down with us being an item. Righteous!!!!!! Apparently, for the last week I’ve been sending her romantic notes and photos of roses and stuff. She really liked the box of chocolates, and she said she expected that one day she and I would be in relationship. She’s so insightful. She always knows what I’m about to do. It’s no wonder we’re together now.

I also noticed that I posted a whole bunch of really funny videos. Lots of dogs chasing cats and one of a CAT CHASING A DOG!!!!!! WTH????? Well, I got a lot of “likes”. My best buddy Jimmy says he “liked” all of them, and he’s eager to check them out. Oh, and I’ve got five new friends. They are so much like me. I chatted with one and we’re going to meet sometime.

Signed,
Well, you know

It’s only a matter of time before Facebook and Google automate our lives. According to the BBC, Google lately patented software that “slowly learns how you react on social networks” and “mimic[s] your usual responses to updates and messages from friends and relations to help cope with the daily data deluge.”1 One wonders how long it will be before computers actually live our lives, or at least our parallel lives.

Count this as one more reason to join the typewriter insurgency.

Where I teach in California, we are piloting software that grades students’ written work, not simply their multiple-choice responses! Will teachers one day become superfluous? After all, if computers can offer objective analysis of written work, who needs teachers? That leads me to one other consideration: do we need students? Consider that one day a person might simply input his or her intended response and produce an essay with the press of a button. Perhaps neither student nor teacher is necessary.

Truly, this is the stuff of science fiction, but it is also a pressing reality. Are we excluding humans from the equation of life?

© 2013, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

  1. Google patents robot help for social media burnout, BBC News, Nov. 22, 2013. []
{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Richard P November 25, 2013, 10:01 pm

    Well put. Similar thoughts were going through my head when I dreamed up the self-ambulating body (#22 here:
    http://site.xavier.edu/polt/NNWM2013/negations19-22.pdf )

    • Mark Adams November 25, 2013, 10:20 pm

      “How do I turn off my consciousness for good, while allowing my body to keep performing its useful roles in society? And how many of the people around me have already discovered how to pull that off?”

      One wonders!

  • Steve K November 26, 2013, 6:36 am

    Say no to Big Brother, unless it’s a Brother Wide-7 423!

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