A Treatise on the Dangers of Technology


"I was forced to go make water, and had very great pain after it, but was well by and by" - Samuel Pepys


Okay, chaps, this is how it is. If the Machines ever declared war on us, we'd wonder How It All Began. Even if we thought we'd work out when that started, and sent people back in time to try and change history, we'd struggle to identify a defining moment. I believe that I now have the answer, and we must stop it now. Now please excuse me, gentle folk, for delving into the secrets of the male washroom, but this is important enough to pull aside the veils of decency. We must not give in to to apathy, or the machines will start making decisions for us.

It used to be that a chap went to the Gents, stood at the urinal to siphon the python, then stepped to the sink, turned on the taps, washed his hands and dried 'em on a towel. These days that's all changed. Nowadays, I find that after I pee, the magic that is modern technology detects when I walk away, and flushes the toilet for me. Same for Number Twos - I step away from the commode and the blighter thinks I'm done and flushes itself. The rise of the robotic water closet is upon us. Thomas Crapper must be turning in his grave.

The washing of the hands also needs almost no human interaction; these days I simply wave my hands in the general direction of the tap, the soap dispenser or the hand-drier, and they dispense what they need to. Hot water, soap and warm air just happen to us now. Of course, they told us that it was ultimately for our own good. If we did not have to touch anything, it would be more hygienic. No germs, no disease. Then, too there's the question of preserving resources. No more can the small boy leave the tap running and empty the hot-water tank. No absurd use of paper towels (how many people really need four handsful of paper to dry two hands?). No slippery soap all over the floor, no nasty waste bins overflowing.

It's for our own good, they tell us. Well, I wonder just how long it's going to take before they realise that if it's about hygiene, they can cut through the whole automation issue with one bold move. Do away with the need to wash and dry hands? Oh yes. All that's needed is a bit of Kinect technology and some smart software, and the next step is for a machine to handle the whole process.

The Future Is Grim

I see a future in which a fellow visits the "little boy's room", stands in front of a urinal and waits while a 3D camera instructs a robotic arm to undo the fly and whip out the wiener. The only human interaction needed is to handle the flow. A chap could stand with his hands in his pockets while the whole sordid business of urination is carried out quickly, cleanly and without mess. The transaction completed, the robot shakes off the last drops, does a little dance with a dab of toilet paper, and then it's "Chocks Away!" and everything is done.

In case you are wondering whether this is feasible, look at what is being done in space. I read earlier today of a bold move to construct complex satellites in orbit, using basically the same technology as Microsoft uses in the Kinect controller. Two satellites would be able to detect one another and perform automated docking, building up a more complex satellite from prefabricated components.¹ Easy enough, all it needs is smart designers and programmers, and we get satellites that can build themselves.

Am I alone in feeling fearful of this development? Is this not the beginning of the end for Mankind? Well, possibly not, but there is a serious side to all of this. We as a society are slowly giving up control of our lives to automation.

Myself, I fear this scenario. Womenfolk should, too; I dread to think of automating their restroom transactions. I for one would not trust my todger near any manipulating robot, my future is at stake. I'll take it into my own hands I think.


¹ Kinect satellite

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