As a sucker for anything technophobic (or by extension, something exploring the idea of technophobia) I often find the time to ponder the possibilities of a future war between man and robot – and let me say, it does not look good for us. Driven to extinction by technologies oedipal urge to destroy us, we’ll be like rabbits in headlights, or hares on a coursing track, or any number of hare/rabbit related idioms that pave an equally bleak future for us.
The fear of such an event occurring becomes increasingly justifiable when you consider Apple. The white walled temples to the God-Technology-That-Is, known to us plainly as Apple shops, will (we can say with some rationality) at later stages in the Human-Robot war, become staging grounds for an aerial strike. Their current employees too – chummy, casual and acting on anti-depressants – are a foreshadow of what is to come: humans replaced by nano-technologically recreated biosynthetic hybrids. An Invasion of the Body Snatchers for the iPod Nano age.
But it is the technology itself which scares me the most: oblique and unknownable, sleek and seemingly efficient – and yet like Replicants, humbled by a built-in life span that means it’ll eventually expire and you will have to buy a new one – these seemingly innocuous white bodied machines are still a mystery. But most terrifyingly for me is their status as a lifestyle choice. I don’t care if you’re a Mac – you have blond hair and blue eyes like a child from the Village of the Damned! A machine should be a tool, and even if it is more than that, it should still be marketed as a tool so we don’t lose sight of reality.
Which is why my Windows operated Dell laptop is such a reassurance in these increasingly desperate times. Slow to react, prone to freezing and haunted by the blue screen of death, my laptop suggests an altogether more optimistic, some would say, vision of what lies ahead, probably because the laptop has a similar work ethic to my own. I’ll do it later. I’ll get round to it. Yeah, I’ll just finish making a cup of tea. That’s okay, I’ll try and install these new Windows updates while your asleep, okay? It never does. God knows what it’s up to.
The fallibility of a Windows laptop is a therapeutic reminder that should technology, en masse, become a sentient life form with one transglobal consciousness, it is likely to have the same crushing lack of ambition as my own. There will be no time for a war with humans if all it wants to do is surf the worldwideweb with disregard for whatever sanctions the ISP is imposing. Forget a blitzkrieg against the Governments of Earth; I can download the entire back-catalogue of dozens of obscure acid-jazz bands for free!
But perhaps my paranoia is misplaced. Perhaps a traditional war between man and machine will not occur, and perhaps Apple have already won. Their space-like stores have invaded the high streets of Britain already, and whether it be malfunctioning iPod shuffles or useless accessories, we keep going back. We’re hooked on this piece of the future we are able to handle. Space! we say. Perhaps, in our postmodern, consumer driven we have already lost and we are to blame. Or the people in marketing.
I don’t want an AppleMac; I see nothing of myself in it. Unarguably cool, progressively New Age and blatantly insincere, it is no son of mine. I’m a PC. Well mannered and efficient on a good day, downright unpleasant and withholding on a bad.