Electro-Mechanical Life

I’m convinced that I’ve taken the first steps along the path to becoming a full fledged cyborg. I haven’t actually had anything of an electro-mechanical nature implanted inside my body yet, but I’ve started dancing to the tune set by my electronic devices and I’m convinced that it’s only a matter of time before my bones are replaced with titanium rods, and I’ll trade in my legs for a set of treads, like a small tank. Which you have to admit, would be pretty cool. There would be a lot less slipping around on ice for one thing. Probably a fewer little yappy dogs running around, too. “Oh, dear, was that your dog I just ran over? I’m so sorry!”

Right now I’m wearing a FitBit, which controls how much exercise I get. So far it’s only used encouraging messages on my iPhone and such, to get me to finish out the ten thousand step goal per day. But, I can already see the slippery path we’re all on, when the devices that we think we control now, will soon control us. Encouragement and motivational messaging is all very well to get people to engage in beneficial behavior but let’s face it, it’s fear and the especially the fear of punishment, that really keeps your nose to the grindstone.

So, probably, someday not too far in the future, they’ll introduce the FitBit Extreme Motivator Mark V, that will be semi-permanently attached to one’s waist. The device will give electric shocks in increasing intensity if you fail to move far enough every day to work off that extra piece of bread pudding, with caramel sauce and whipped cream, that you polished off last night when you thought no one was looking. But the FitBit EM Mk. V knows, because it monitors all your vital signs including the amount of dopamine that flooded your brain as you devoured the deliciousness that is bread pudding.

In years to come, as you walk down the street you’ll see people striding briskly up and down the sidewalks, running even, punctuated every so often by the flinching as the FitBit EM Mk. V delivers another 200 volts of extreme motivational encouragement. We could rise up now and destroy our future electronic masters, but then, how would we watch our YouTube videos of cute puppies consorting with tiger cubs? If a steady diet of the worst schlocky science fiction can tell us anything, it’s that inevitably we shall fall to our successors, the AI’s. Or, we shall become them and they shall become us, the messages are kinda mixed. I did say it was bad science fiction, didn’t I?

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