Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OF MACHINES AND MEN

From TODAY, Voices

Wednesday December 10, 2008

 

By Dr James Dobson

 

A few years ago I saw a computerised chess set in a store featuring a sign inviting customers to play the game. I took the bait.

 

The device had a mechanical arm that reached out and moved the pieces. That was impressive enough. What bothered me, however, was its smug attitude. The device was programmed to taunt mere mortals like me. On the end of its mechanical arm were two hand-like devices that clapped wildly when it made a tricky move. It led me into a deadly trap and then sat there and applauded itself.

 

I can’t tell you how intimidating it was to be mocked by a machine that knew I wasn’t so hot and then told everybody in the store about it. But in a sense, that encounter is symbolic of the confusing times in which we live. New technology stresses our ability to cope and understand. Everything seems more complicated compared to the old days when life was slower and more predictable.

 

That’s why I’m glad there’s still a place in this world for that which is low-tech, or notech, such as cuddly dogs, walks in the park and friends coming over for tea. We can’t stop the onslaught of technology, but we can still enjoy the simple things in life. 

 

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