Google 8Ball

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -Pablo Picasso

After swiping his thumb across his laptop’s integrated fingerprint scanner, Colton pulled up Google. He had a paper to write and needed to look up some autobiographical information about Steve Wozniak, and so he queried the name. Done scanning the various online encyclopedias and finding only dry, linear, regurgitated facts, Colton decided to look for a life summary in Woz’s own words. And so he queried the Videos feature.  A little more interesting, and with Steve talking about Apple’s garage based start in the interview, Colton quickly pulled up the Maps function and found a street level image of it as it stands today.

Now we’re getting somewhere, Colton said to himself. He saved the image. A few more keystrokes and the icon’s current residence was also viewable curbside. What a difference! Now that Colton had found a slant for his paper, “From a Jack to iKing” he took a break to check his email.

Placing his right eye within range of the retinal scanner located just to the side of the digital camera lens above the screen, Colton’s messages loaded. Updates from a half dozen ‘book friends, a forward from Aunt Lucy, blah, blah blah. Checking the spam folder, Colton sat up quickly and leaned in closer to the screen. Finally! The subject read “Your relationship question has been answered” and he quickly double-clicked it open.

After delivering the cold, hard truth on the query, this beta version had the audacity to ask “Was this answer helpful?”

Colton felt his stomach tie into a knot at the automated response. But with extensive psychological evaluations and all applicable medical records consulted by this new feature, there was no reason to doubt the results.  And so, in an effort to minimize unnecessary emotional repercussions from the impending break up, he queried “How to recover from a failed romantic relationship” and placed his eye close to the retinal scanner again.

Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it is completely honest. -Isaac Asimov


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