Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Babied Living Through Technology

Link to July 6 San Jose Mercury News article, "Smart gadgets may one day anticipate our needs".

Excerpt: Don't be surprised if one day your refrigerator nags you to lose weight, your phone blocks calls it figures you're too stressed to handle and your wisecracking car entertains you with pun-filled one-liners.

Within a decade or two, researchers at Silicon Valley companies and elsewhere predict, consumer gadgets will be functioning like hyper-attentive butlers, anticipating and fulfilling people's needs without having to be told. Life would not only be more convenient, it might even last longer: Devices could monitor people's health and step in when needed to help them get better

Retiring Guy remembers reading something tongue-in-cheek on this topic years ago*.

Congratulations on your purchase of the ToastTek SmartToaster. The world's first toaster with Tomorrow's Toaster Technology Today!

Finally, a household toaster that performs to its potential! Blazing fast 1 gigahertz Athlon microchip! Lightning-quick coaxial Internet link! SmartToaster can and will revolutionize the art of toasting!

After just a few uses, SmartToaster begins learning your personal toasting preferences. Is lightly browned rye your thing? SmartToaster will know! Do you crave a pizza bagel at 4 a.m.? SmartToaster will remember and not pass judgment!

By interfacing with your refrigerator, SmartToaster knows when you are running low on bread. It will e-mail the nearest grocery store and order a fresh loaf. When the bread arrives, SmartToaster will electronically sign for the delivery. SmartToaster makes toast before you even realize you want toast. And if you decide you don't want toast after all, SmartToaster will eat the toast for you.

One thing SmartToaster doesn't do is clean itself. To clean, use bottled water and one of the two included SmartToasterShammies. Or turn SmartToaster upside down over the garbage and hit it hard five times with the fleshy part of your hand.

How smart is SmartToaster? Very smart. SmartToaster is conversant in more than 75 languages. You will find SmartToaster to be well read. SmartToaster is no stranger to particle physics or comparative religion. SmartToaster can recognize more than 50 varieties of muffi

*"Lightly Buttered, with Angst", a op-ed article by Rodney Rothman, The New York Times, 6/13/2000.

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