The wonderful thing about the not-too-distant future, in which our brains are all networked together by cybernetic implants and the information we exchange begins to resemble thought more than email, is that we won’t have to keep repeating things to everyone all the time.
As I’ve said before, it’s not going to be long before our cell phones are inside our bodies, and we just think what we want them to do. Maybe a screen against our retinas pops up that no one else can see, and we focus to point, blink to click.
Then you think about your friend Fred, and wherever Fred is, he’ll get a little blip on his retina screen that says he’s getting a psi-phone call (I just invented that word, psi-phone – but that’s exactly what they’re going to call these things, isn’t it?).
So then Fred will either ignore it or answer it, and you get to talk to Fred, or maybe just exchange psychic text messages.
Creepy to you and me, but not creepy to kids who have been playing Halo with people in China and Facebooking since they could talk. We’ll just be standing around sucking on our teeth while all the young whippersnappers get psi-phones injected into their heads – hell in a handbasket.
Yes, creepy it will be, to those of us who remember rotary dial phones and Wendy’s hamburgers which weren’t gross, but just think about the upside.
For instance, just about every week or so, I have to put on a detailed PowerPoint presentation for my children about when and how to install a new roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.
The details are quite tricky, see, when the last roll of toilet paper is down to cardboard, and there is no more toilet paper on it? That’s when you want to make your move.
And although it’s tempting to simply leave the cardboard roll on the holder, and then place the new roll of toilet paper elsewhere, what you want to do is put the new one on the mounted toilet paper holder, located conveniently right there beside the toilet. You will be able to recognize it, because it’s the thing you just reached for when you realized there was no toilet paper on it.
In the presentation, I include an interactive map.
But it’s still tough, because when you are a twelve or thirteen or sixteen year-old girl, time is money, right? You’re like a high-powered, eighties stock broker.
Who has time to put the new roll on, you’re probably thinking. I’ll just put the new roll on the sink or on the floor – someone else who has nothing to do all day long, like Mom or Dad for instance, they can put it on there later.
Mom and Dad have scads of time, and surely they will get to it before someone gets out of the shower and steps on it, or before someone knocks it off the sink into the toilet, or before a puppy dog rips it to shreds, right?
Doesn’t even matter if that happens though – just throw it out and get another roll from under the sink if that happens. Toilet paper is practically free, right?
My daughters are all quite bright, so you might have thought they would master such a concept very quickly, and to be sure, when my detailed and incredibly patient presentation is going on, they are all three right on board.
They’re always a little bit squinty-eyed and befuddled, as if they just can’t quite figure out why I’m bothering to inform them of something so clear and obvious.
Why of course, Father, that is exactly what any reasonable person would do, change the roll immediately and fully, subsequently recycling the cardboard tube from the last one.
As if I’m saying something really, really obvious, like where the milk goes (hint: the refrigerator), or whether or not doors should be locked when you leave the house (yes), or what the procedure is for changing a roll of toilet paper (see above).
They always look like a sales meeting is breaking up when I’m finished – you got it, Dad. That’s a big can-do. Let’s rock this new toilet paper procedure out for Team Chalfant!
Then just like the average sales meeting, when it’s over, it’s time to play paddle ball.
Back in the day, when I was a child, the adults would avoid the constant, repetitive PowerPoint presentation by simply beating the dog crap out of you, right around the second or third time it happened.
I’m not crazy about either method – one is violent and mean and can get you thrown in jail and all that, and one is very time-consuming, and frustrating, and causes brain aneurysms when you walk in and find two dogs fighting over a roll of stray toilet paper six hours later.
But man, it’s going to be sweet in the not-too-distant cyborg future. You just set your psi-phone to administer that message every two hours day and night, until your children are rocking back and forth in tears and muttering over and over, “change the toilet paper every time, change the toilet paper every time.”
You got yer mind right, Luke?
Every single day, you can set the networked psi-phone to text “Clean your room,” and “Fold the laundry.”
They’re your kids, so you’ll be able to fix it so they have to answer psi-phone calls coming from you. Every repetitive conversation that you have – we’ll be able to automate it in the future.
Bedtime? Forget about it – with a little psi-phone app, you can just set it to knock them out at whatever time you want. Eleven o’clock, they stand up and zombie-walk into the bathroom, brush teeth, change toilet paper if necessary, and straight to bed. If they don’t, the psi-phone simply turns their brain off – click!
It might sound horrific, but it might not, if you spend forty percent of your life reminding young human beings about the same exact rules and procedures over and over and over, only to watch them drop their jaw open each time and kind of gaze in wonder and mystery around the room as if they just teleported suddenly to Earth.
Hello Adult Parent Unit! I come in peace! Tell me more about the rules and procedures involved in deciding to go to my friends house, and how to go about procuring permission for such an endeavor. I am unfamiliar with your wacky Earth customs, having never been briefed on such a thing!
Maybe a hand gesture, like Spock, I don’t know.
Anyway, it’s a good thing that generation is the one which is going to be cool with networked cyborg implant psi-phones, because from what I can tell, they’re going to need it.