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Dead Inside

There's a video making the rounds of a new gadget that promises to make our lives sooo much easier. It's 2023, so of course it has AI in the title. It's called the Ai Pin and it seems absolutely horrible.

I'm still trying to figure out why I had such tangible, visceral revulsion to this demo. At first I felt sick, then I got angry.

Maybe it was because the presenters were so monotone that I thought they were AI robots. Seriously, I thought it was a spoof and had to do some googling to learn these were real people at a real company and not a parody.

Maybe it's because the absolute last thing the world needs right now is more ubiquitous technology and less connection with actual human beings. More time streamlining the purchase of stuff and less time spent on the land. More hooks into our corporate robot overlords and less ability to make things and repair things.[1]

Maybe it's because we need a week's groceries to cost under $200, or the ability to book a doctor's appointment in under a month, or more supports for teachers, or more old growth forest, or better public transportation, or more apartments that are affordable with a single job, far more than we need we need an $800 lapel pin to help us avoid reaching into a pocket for our $1000 phone.

What bubble are these people living in where they think this is where they need to spend five years of their lives and millions of dollars in R&D?

I get it. That which I hate most is that which is inside me. Ten years ago I thought the Internet of Things, wearable tech, etc. etc. would be revolutionary. It would make the world a better place by, by, what exactly? I wasn't sure, but it felt right back then. But these days all we can seem to imagine is faster and easier take out, or a quicker Uber, or a hundred other things where the guy picking us up or delivering our food gets paid less and less to do it.

Nobody anywhere is saying, wear this pin and you'll work less and still make ends meet, without fear of going broke and ending up on the street. Or, wear this and we'll ALL work less and ALL spend more time with our families and ALL have more leisure and more nature and more clean air and water.

No, the message is, everyone will still make less money and work harder and the environment will still get destroyed but you'll get those cold fries at the speed of thought.

Good grief.

  1. one of the big features promoted in the demo is that the pin is secure - if anyone tries to "tamper" with it, the company will remotely shut the device down. Oh joy. ↩︎