12 Jan 2010


Writing this post, as if by magic the song lyrics FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING popped into my head. Quite why I'm not sure for, to be honest, I didn't know who the song was sung by let alone what it was about. Cue Pooter and his wonderful mind of knowledge (otherwise known as the search engine) and there it was, The Times They Are A-Changing by Bob Dylan - pretty strong stuff, the last verse "The line it is drawn, The Curse it is cast. The slow one now, Will later be fast ........" seeming somehow or other particularly so.

Yes, I'm having one of those days when I'm pondering just how things are a-changing and asking myself just where it will all end for this last decade seems to be one in which technology, to name but one thing, has come on in leaps and bounds.

Take for example the iPHONE, a line of Internet and multimedia enabled smartphones (well that's me lost already) which seem to be all the rage. Not just content with all the technology this device has to offer, users have invented a whole new 'language' to go with it - the 'app' which as Tanya Gold, writing in the Guardian on THE RISE OF THE iPHONE GENERATION, comments is "Not so much a word as a flat, bored grunt" for "Customers cannot be bothered to say 'application'. That is three syllables too far for the avatars."

Now as many of you are aware I'm not the most technological of people. My mobile phone is just that, a phone on which I can make and receive calls and send and receive text messages - to show how much of a 'dinosaur' I am, I can't even take photographs with it let alone access Pooter or make a cup of tea. Anyway, also being somewhat gullible at times, I wasn't sure how many of these 'apps' were real and how many not. "Pooter do you know?"

Well well! The iFART is one 'app' that certainly exists. A holiday special "This pack contains ten new festive flatulations including Jingle Smells and, Not So Silent Night." Now is it just me or does it seem a touch ironic that this amazing technology is available and yet is used to such juvenile ends by a certain number of men? Sorry men, but I can't see this 'app' being on any woman's wish list, can you?

Definitely more useful than the 'ifart' is the news that Gecko Systems announced that it had been running trials of its "fully autonomous personal companion," also known as a CAREBOT designed to help elderly or disabled people to live independently. Very interesting but as Peter Singer and Agata Sagan, also writing in the Guardian, pointed out what will happen 'WHEN ROBOTS HAVE FEELINGS'?

At present, robots are mere items of property. But what if they become sufficently complex to have feelings? After all, isn't the human brain just a very complex machine?

If machines can and do become concious, will we take their feelings into account? The history of our relations with the only nonhuman sentient beings we have encountered so far - animals - gives no ground for confidence that we would recognise sentient robots as beings with moral standing and interests that deserve consideration.

(A) cognitive scientist has pointed out that powerful new technologies, like cars, computers, and phones tend to spread rapidly, in an uncontrolled way. The development of a concious robot that (who?) was not widely percieved as a member of our moral community could therefore lead to mistreatment on a large scale.

Yes times are indeed a-changing and yet sometimes you have to wonder if it's for the better - take for example the ifart or indeed this couple from Poole in Dorset who were so fond of their beloved Kia Carens people carrier car that they named their daughter Kia after it.


brizmus said...

ifart? Seriously? All of the ridiculous things in this world are sometimes just too much for me. . .

Tina said...

More and more often the news you bring us makes me want to throw up my hands and say what is wrong with people. I don't mind the apps, its the attitude I have a problem with!
But, in case there is any doubt, I love hearing about it, so keep on telling me!

Vivienne said...

There is a film where the robot has feeling with Robin Williams in. I think it is called Bicentinnual Man ( excuse my spelling).

I am like yourself, when it comes to mobile phones. All mine does is make calls and send texts. I don't actually carry mine around with me either, as I hate to be contactable all the time.

Alice in Wonderland said...

That song was sung by both Bob Dylan and also Donovan. I am related to Donovan, my Grandmother and his Mother were sisters! But it has been many years since I last saw him!
Yes, technology has moved on in leaps and bounds over these last few years, but these songs are going back to the 60s when times really were changing!

Alyce said...

Well the ifart thing doesn't surprise me at all really, and I agree that it has to be a man/boy thing. It brought to mind a week at summer camp when the junior high boys sprayed the girls rooms with fart spray. They had to clean the entire building (it was kind of like dorms) as punishment. :)

susan s. said...

Like you, I have a phone that can be used to text and make calls on, but I refuse to learn to text and keep the phone turned off most of the time. I got it so I could call the husband to tell him I would be out late or had changed my plans. To me a mobile phone is just a phone.

As for the ifart thingy, really silly, eh?

Kelly said...

I don't doubt that there is an app for anything and everything imaginable.

I confess, I have a BlackBerry (no real desire for an iPhone or other "touch screen" variety) and do use it to call, text, e-mail, and surf the net. It's quite handy.. especially for staying in touch with my twentysomething-aged kids.

Myne Whitman said...

Until technology allows us to turn back the time, nothing much we can do but use the apps we do have. LOL.

Martha said...

Yes, it's a decline in civilization on so many levels unfortunately.

Jenners said...

Too funny ... and I agree that technology is often used for the basest of reasons.

Note to self: download ifart to entertain Little One at stressful moments.

chitra said...

Advancement in technology has helped us to have a better living, but Iam pained when the same is misused.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about the silicone tattoos that are LED capable where you could actually watch television on your skin, which would probably be expanded to being a computer in your skin.
I swear I'm not making this up, it was on wired.com ask your cue pooter.


GMR said...

Well as funny as some of this sounds, I totally understand where you are coming from! Sometimes the accessability can seem like information overload...not to mention a lot of those added features have lovely hidden charges. (Yeah, found that out the hard way when we tried out some PALM treo phones...) While my phone can text, picture, and send (very short) video...I'll be staying away from the apps myself.
(Great topic!)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Petty, Technology took great steps nowadays. Making our life easier and healthier(medically)

Vivienne said...

I love the tone of your writing! You should get a slot at the Comedy Club in Newcastle, I'm sure you would be a huge hit!