I love the old 1950s TV show, The Twilight Zone. I particularly love the whole ‘it could happen’ theme that runs through many of its episodes. Imagine my delight when last week’s episode of The X Files had a very Twilight Zone feel. The episode gave us a glimpse into the not so distant future when many things are run by robots, drones and computers and they are definitely watching us. I encourage you to go watch and then come back and read the rest of this entry.
Okay, so you watched it. Terrifying in a Twilight Zone/M. Night Shyamalan kinda way, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Since I watched that episode I’ve been increasingly aware of technology and how it affects my life. More specifically, how that technology screws me over when I need it the most. In the last week alone, my computerized garage door opener broke, my GPS decided to go off on a bender while I was driving in an unfamiliar area, and the battery in my phone goes from 90 to 30% just laying around not being used. Just today I had to argue with the school to print out my children’s report card. It seems our district is trying to go paperless and no one can figure out how to enable the system to print off a physical report card. So, let me get this straight, y’all can’t communicate to me via email or with a paper what my children’s grades are but you can find a way to ask me to give to the latest fundraiser? Ummm hmmm, yeah.
I know I sound like a salty luddite that wants to go back to hand tools and hoopskirts but that’s not true. I love electricity, modern appliances, cars, and the internet. I love that I can read a book, listen to music, watch a movie, search the internet and make a call all from my phone. What drives me absolutely crazy is when technology doesn’t work and there isn’t a workaround. I really loved that The X Files addressed this disconnect. This disconnect makes me wonder if by teaching machines how to do things are we losing the skills to do tasks ourselves? Are we planning our learned dependence on machines? In 2,000 years will humans wonder how we built great structures and cities like we currently wonder how the pyramids were built all because we’ve lost the skills to do it ourselves?
Who knows, maybe the ancestor of this guy will be saying, ‘Aliens’. As The X Files says, “The truth is out there.”