Breaking Brad: Trying To Put Up A Good Fight In The Tech-Wars

Do Not Even Think About Upgrading The System!

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“God isn’t interested in technology… Look how he spends his time: forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men! …Slugs! He created slugs! They can’t hear. They can’t speak. They can’t operate machinery. Are we not in the hands of a lunatic?!” – Evil.

The future is upon us. Tell me about it; my laptop crashed twenty minutes ago. 

The technology dreaded throughout the sci-fi of olde has now seeped into our everyday lives. But at what price? Amazingly, it looks like everyone has accepted this gleaming gizmo-laden future with open pockets (despite the fact that hardly anyone appears to have any money). Is it disconcerting how people have become so – no, too – dependent on their phones and other assorted gadgetry? Every time on the train, it’s always the same – the majority of commuters with their heads down, eyes locked on their mobile screen, their fingers busy fiddling…

If there is one thing guaranteed to mess up my equilibrium of sobriety and patience then it is the despicable act of “upgrading the system” – that ultimate lunacy of “fixing” what is not broken. Just when you think you’ve mastered one mode of tech, along comes another. And you’re stuck with a piece of junk that has become obsolete faster than you can say: “In which socket does the frickin’ recharger go?!” 

Mark my words: once the the War Against The Machines breaks out, it will be Brad leading what’s left of the human resistance, standing on the front-line, scowling at the HKs.

Whoa no, you accursed machines! You’re not gonna take this carbon-based biped without a fight!

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“‘Humans’ is showing us a world that’s not that far off. We should be questioning whether, as a society, we’re embracing technology too quickly… There’s a generation growing up who only know how to interact with their devices” – Gemma Chan. 

The uneasy relationship between man and machine moves ever closer. As realised in the most recent UK sci-fi drama: Humans, domestic life (in – that most desirable of real-estate – the “near” future) has become so stressful that artificial home-help, known as Synths, is required.

“Basically, they’ll have common sense,” exclaims  Prof Geoff Hinton, one of the top AI scientists. He is currently developing a new type of algorithm designed to encode thoughts as sequences of numbers, which he calls “thought vectors.” He believes the path from current technology to a more sophisticated version approaching a “human-like capacity for reasoning and logic” is plausible. Moreover: “I don’t see why it shouldn’t be like a friend… A flirtatious program would probably be quite simple to create.”

Oh, leave. It. Out. The cynic in me immediately assumes that my human-like artificial intelligent unit will more likely resemble the treacherous Ash (from Alien) than Gemma Chan (above). And would most likely try to throttle me or nick me nachos – both scenarios are far too dire to contemplate…

Hang on, though; nothing to fear just yet.

“We really have no idea how to make a human level AI,” adds Murray Shanahan, professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, and adviser on one of this year’s best films: Ex Machina. He rates the odds of human-level AI development before 2050 as “possible but unlikely.”

It would appear that the sweeping advances in technology now engulfing the 21st century have left some older miscreants (you talkin’ to me?) out, and yet notice how it’s all second nature to the younglings – what the blazes is going on?! You gotta lol…

Like Groucho Marx once said: “Why, it’s so easy a four-year-old kid could understand this… Run out and find me a four-year-old kid; I can’t make head nor tail out of it…”

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“That cold war paranoia is the larger framework of the first two [Terminator] movies, but now we are so reliant on technology… SkyNet no longer needs to beat down your door because you lined up in front of the Apple store and invited the wolf to dinner” – David Ellison.

With ubiquitous technology influencing our “popular” culture, including the movies we watch, it would appear that the traditional sci-fi fear of haywire technology has been made redundant; so, who wants an obsolete Terminator sequel? For the umpteenth time: the first two movies of that franchise were NOT broken… 

Never mind: time to embrace all this talk of tech-this an’ tech-that. If you can’t join ’em, beat the hell outta them i.e. out with the manuals, instructions (and aspirin) and get swottin’. 

Take the other day for instance: having decided to study how to cascade my spreadsheets, and optimize my HTML, etc. the nearest, most moderately-priced technical tome was selected. Huzzah! Brad faces the future – for the first time – with a sense of hope. 

On proceeding confidently – and nonchalantly (hey, gotta look groovy for that CCTV, baby) to the counter, the “member of staff” fumbled with the bar-code in front of the scanner, unable to make it bleep. After having to type it in manually, she uttered the price. Upon handing over my hard-earned polymer note, she gawped incredulously.

“Wow!” she cried. “Real monnay! Oi ain’t seen that fer a long toime!”

One flick of a switch to activate the till. Nothing happened. She fiddled and tugged. Again, nothing continued to happen. Guess what: “they” had upgraded the store’s internal system and forgot to send her the relevant memo. Typical. What could she give me other than a look of utter despair?

“Soz! You can’t buy anyfink today ‘cos oi can’t get me till open.” 

The case continues…

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Keep your friends close and your smartphones closer.

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8 thoughts on “Breaking Brad: Trying To Put Up A Good Fight In The Tech-Wars

  1. Great post my friend, I actually love technology, I remember the BBC computer being introduced in school when I was a wee lad. Moved onto my trusty old ZX81 after that and then my beloved Sinclair Spectrum (which I still have, though it won’t run WordPress surprisingly!). Though that tech seems so outdated now it feels like we have moved on literally centuries, but it was, astonishingly, only about 30 years ago. A good weekend to you good sir.

  2. I both love and hate my smartphone. I love how I can connect to the Internet from anywhere…but I also hate that I can connect to the Internet from anywhere. 😉 I spend a lot more time online than I used to. It’s interesting to observe how technology has changed human interaction. Great post!

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