By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published August 8, 2019
Sometimes I feel like technology is getting the best of me. I have to use three different remotes to watch a DVD and follow eight steps, which my teenage nephew patiently explained to me and then wrote down on a sheet of paper.
Thumbing through the 30-page manual describing how to program my house’s thermostat, I concluded I’d need an advanced degree in engineering and gave up.
Frankly, I’m relieved that my old refrigerator is still working just fine because when it dies, I could be faced with buying one of the “smart” models.
These are connected to the internet and will play music, tell you when you’re out of milk and allow you to order groceries too. If they come with passwords, I picture myself standing there, starving, and trying to get the blasted door open.
“I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me” is the first commandment that was given to Moses. We often picture idols as little clay figures that people worship, but an idol can be anything we put our trust into rather than God.
Has technology become the idol of our times? We depend on it to solve problems, heal us, protect us, wake us up, inform us and entertain us. We often pin our hopes upon technology, rather than relying on God.
And even though many inventions make life easier, some make it worse. It’s wonderful that advancements in surgical technology allow doctors to operate on infants still in the womb.
But it’s terrible that some nursing homes rely on robots to assuage the loneliness of the residents. This trend could tempt family members to figure, “No reason to visit Aunt Emma, since she’s got Roberta the robot to talk to.”
I sometimes envision a future where I’m stuck in a techno nightmare. The story opens with my self-driving car sitting in the driveway, honking. Hearing it, I realize I have a doctor’s appointment, which I failed to add to my phone calendar.
As I’m leaving the house, I try to set the state-of-the-art alarm system, which requires me to press my eye against the screen, but today mascara causes a smudge and delays the process.
When I hop into the passenger’s seat, the car asks me our destination. “I thought you knew where we’re going, since you were honking at me,” I reply.
“I knew you had an appointment, but not with whom,” the car says frostily—although I admit I’m impressed by its good grammar.
I mention the doctor’s name and the car searches the internet and finds the directions. We now take off into traffic, with me having to close my eyes occasionally because the car has a habit of tailgating.
When I point out a few near misses, the car says accusingly, “Well, I’ve never gotten you into a wreck, have I?”
Which is true, so to assuage the car’s feelings, after the doctor’s appointment, I treat it to a car wash, where three fellows massage the car so thoroughly I half expect it to start purring.
The car is so grateful that it swings by an ice cream parlor, so I can have a treat too.
Back at home, the car goes happily into the garage and I head to bed. But first I have to program the mattress to provide the exact firmness required that night, turn on all the security cameras outside and text the coffee machine what time I’ll be getting up.
As I fall asleep, I hear something in the basement and go to investigate. It’s none other than Rover, my robo dog, sitting on the couch watching a DVD on the gigantic screen.
And wouldn’t you know it—he got the thing working without having to use the instruction sheet with eight steps.
Artwork is by Lorraine’s late husband, Jef, whose website is www.jefmurray.com. Lorraine’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.