Oct 29, 2020: The Future

Carole’s had some sort of allergic reaction to something tonight.

It’s quite worrying to watch your girlfriend start wheezing and then complaining that her eyes are going all itchy.

It’s then even more worrying for her to say she’s just off upstairs for a lie down, because upstairs is where her inhaler is (at least we think that’s the case) and she’s going to lie in bed with a wet tea towel across her eyes.

Because you worry she might conk out and just die while she’s up there and you wouldn’t know.

But, luckily, you’ve recently put an Amazon Echo in each room so she can just drop in to the front room and tell me she’s not dead.

Which she did.

And it’s around this time that you start to realise the evils of having this technology readily available.

One can only imagine what the futuristic Star Trek universe is really like, away from the cameras, when just regular people are using the communication technology to confirm they haven’t yet died of an allergic reaction. There’s Picard, say, calling Riker and telling him to assemble an away team, while decks away there’s someone with puffy eyes and diminished lung capacity confirming they’re still alive.

And then that power’s just rife for abuse, it turns out.

Because the announcement sound plays, and Alexa blurts out a recording of Carole’s voice asking if she would be pushing it if she asked for a hot chocolate.

And not only does it come via the medium of voice messaging, it also pops up on my phone. More successfully, I have to say, that a previous attempt of “Hello Petal” which Alexa took to be “Hello Pickle” which, of course, is the name of the next creature that will enter this household, so they’ll have a whale of a time then.

I don’t think when Amazon dodged all that tax and made the Echo they were really thinking it would be utilised by someone wanting someone else to make them a hot drink they can’t be arsed to come downstairs and make themselves.

But that’s where we are.

In the 60s, the future was all flying cars and floating houses. Robots for days.

In the actual year 2020, it’s a small speaker making me make hot chocolate.

I never saw this on Tomorrow’s World.